An Interview with Gallery Director Mary Cox | FokiaNou Art Space
Hidden among the beige apartment buildings of Fokianou Street lies FokiaNou Art Space. This unsuspecting gallery exists within the intimacy of a small apartment in an old building, and it is located only a block away from CYA’s Academic Center. As you travel the seven flights up to the gallery, you will be greeted by a decorative stairway, and when you reach the gallery, you will receive a friendly ‘hello’ from Mary Cox, the director of the space.
This semester, CYA Executive Director of Student Affairs, Nadia Meliniotis, secured me an internship at the gallery, where I help to prepare the space for opening and closing. This past week, Mary and I got together to talk in a bit more depth about the gallery’s history and her role as director.
In 2016, this artist-run project space was adopted by two new directors, Mary Cox and Panagiotis Voulgaris. Cox considers FokiaNou a place for alternative projects and exhibitions that might not find expression in more mainstream art spaces.
Typically, the space features artists that Cox considers to be “outsiders”, but at the moment, a local curator is organizing a rather atypical show with seven well-known Greek painters. As well as painting, the gallery showcases drawing, photography, printmaking, street art, video, installations, and performance.
We asked Mary Cox if she could explain the gallery’s mission, the current art scene in Athens, her hopes for its future, and how FokiaNou can play a role in this.
Why is community important to FokiaNou?
We feel that an artist-run space needs the support of the community and we strive to make that community an international one.
Could you tell me about a moment that has stood out for you during your time running this space?
Curating my first big shows is something I will always remember, particularly a show I did about New York and then a year later about San Francisco.
Could you describe the art scene in Athens right now?
Since Documenta, there has been a flurry of artistic activity, especially with the opening up of artist-run spaces, so there is a lot to see. The buying market is still weak, however.
What do you see as the future of art in Athens? Where is art headed in Greece?
Good question! I do think artist-run initiatives are the way of the future because it is a better system than the gallery system.
What plans do you have for the future at FokiaNou?
We just participated in our first international art fair in Stockholm, and that gave us good contacts for collaboration with artist-run spaces abroad, so we plan to do more with them if we can.
FokiaNou is located at Fokianou 24, 7th Floor, Athens 116 35
The entrance to the FokiaNou art space:
Paintings from the current exhibition/group show ‘Phasma’:
Mary Cox and Barbara Kasomenakis:
The view from the gallery: