ARTSY: Dakis Joannou Turned a Remote Greek Island into an Art Mecca

Written by Nate Freeman


On a Monday in late June, after the Art Basel fair in Basel, Switzerland, the billionaire collector Dakis Joannou docked his yacht in the small harbor of the Greek isle of Hydra. The yacht’s exterior is covered in a kaleidoscopic pattern that was designed by Jeff Koons, and its called Guilty.


That night, I took a hike around the island’s edge—Hydra is so small that cars are not allowed—to the art space that Joannou created on a cliff, the Deste Foundation Slaughterhouse, in a building that was once used to kill sheep and goats, to see a show of new work by Kiki Smith,, an artist in New York. Smith is just one of the many artists Joannou has collected in bulk since the 1980s, when he began building one of the world’s greatest contemporary art troves: 1,500 works in total, many of them masterpieces. In 2004, ArtReview named him the most powerful collector in the world.





July 22, 2019
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