Islomania: Contemporary Art in Greek Islands (Athens, Crete, Hydra, Poros, Syros, Tinos)

Greek islands, especially in the summer, have been inscribed in the collective consciousness as utopias of leisure, fun, the beach, and a laid back lifestyle. On the other hand, contemporary art is identified with cutting edge interpretations of the human condition, offering ample opportunities for aesthetic appreciation, but also contemplation and personal transformations.

Interestingly, in the past few years, a beautiful paradoxon has been observed, leading to an increasing trend: Greek islands as a destination for contemporary art world-class shows, ranging from group shows of emerging artists to a glorious recent solo Jeff Koons show on the island of Hydra. Prestigious foundations, internationally acclaimed artists, sensational venues, imaginative exhibitions, all can be found in a plethora of island settings. The ‘experiment’ is paying off, with popularity, visibility and visitability of the aforementioned shows on the rise.

The course will follow this trajectory via a contemporary art island hopping process, while also exploring the main(stream) scene for contemporary art in Greece. A brief history of contemporary art and its curatorial practices will establish the context of the course, before we travel around, immersing ourselves in art. The range of venues we will visit spans from the National Museum of Contemporary Art, archaeological museums and monuments engaging in contemporary art to commercial galleries, private foundations, state institutions, popup summer-only events, gardens, derelict buildings and the street-as-art gallery.

The course aims at an in-depth understanding of what constitutes contemporary art and its context (curatorial, spatial, cultural) in the 21st c., beyond the established, popular and obvious connection with art and its history. It is designed ideally for students of archaeology, art history, fine arts, curating, classics, philosophy, architecture, social and cultural anthropology, heritage studies, tourism management, sustainability and environmental studies, or any discipline with interest in the arts and art institutions.

Course Details


This course requires a minimum enrollment of 10, with a maximum enrollment of 20.


60 contact hours

Essential Information

The course starts and ends in Athens. Transportation between Athens and the rest of the course’s destinations, as well as during day excursions is included in the course fee.

Enrolled students will have access to detailed information prior to departure that will include directions to the Academic Center and other practical information about residing in Athens. CYA recommends the following websites for general information about Athens and Greece: and

IMPORTANT NOTE: This course involves extensive travel.  Be wary of overpacking.  Pack only what you can carry comfortably, because you will be required to check- in and out of accommodations for each stay/travel segment of this course. It will also be useful to bring with you travel-size cosmetics.


Students are housed within walking distance of the CYA Academic Center in either CYA student apartments located in the Pangrati neighborhood of central Athens or in hotel accommodations arranged by CYA. CYA apartments are simply furnished and equipped with a full kitchen and air-conditioned bedrooms; towels, linens and housekeeping service will be provided. Hotel accommodations will be in simple 2- or 3-star hotels, double- or triple-occupancy, with air-conditioned rooms.


The CYA Academic Center is located next to the Athens Marble Stadium and houses classrooms, the library, the student lounge and cafeteria, computer facilities (including wireless access for those students who choose to bring laptop computers), laundry facilities, and administrative offices. The Academic Center is accessible Monday-Thursday 9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m., Friday 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.


When class is in Athens a full mid-day meal will be served weekdays in the CYA cafeteria between the hours of 12:00-3:00 p.m.  While traveling, breakfast will be offered at the Hotel.  A welcome and a farewell dinner are also included in the course fee.

Day-to-day Program & Itinerary

The day-to-day program and itinerary of the course are subject to change. Students are advised not to make plans for their free time or weekends in advance, as class schedules and site visits may be re-scheduled depending on local conditions.

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