The female voice in art, design and public spaces


EMST in Athens (National Museum of Contemporary Art) - copyright Tita Bonatsou. EMST was originally the FIX Brewery.


As art galleries and museums begin to open in the UK and other countries post lockdown, Future Cities Forum is this week providing a focus on the 'female voice in art. We feature the appointment of the curator Katerina Gregos to the position of the city of Athens' National Museum of Contemporary Art and the work of contemporary and often excluded female voices in architecture and design, in a new installation project at the Barbican Art Gallery in London.


Some critics argue that Athens National Museum of Contemporary Art has had a difficult recent history with delays in opening during lockdowns and two artistic directors leaving their posts.


Now Katerina Gregos has been appointed as artistic director of the museum. The Greek -born, internationally recognised curator will take up her post in July this year, marking a new era for the museum.


Educated in London at the Courtauld Institute of Art, King's College and City University, she has curated numerous international exhibitions and biennials including more recently the first Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art, the Goteborg Biennial, Manifesta, Contour - Biennial of Moving Image and EV+ A - Ireland's Biennial, among others.


She has also curated three critically acclaimed national pavillions for the Venice Biennale, firstly for Denmark with the international group exhibition on freedom of speech, Speech Matters (2011), Personne et les Autres: Vincent Meessen and Guests, also an international exhibition which explored colonial modernity and Belgium's colonial history (2015) and Traces of Disappearing in Three Acts, a solo exhibition of Igor Grubic for the Croatian Pavillion (2011).


She began her professional life as the founding director of the Deste Foundation's Centre for Contemporary Art in Athens. For the last twenty years, her curatorial practice has explored the relationship between art, society and politics with a particular view on questions of democracy, human rights, economy, crisis and changing global production circuits.


Future Cities Forum will watching developments in exhibitions at the gallery the museum in Athens.


Meanwhile 'How We Live Now: Reimagining Spaces with Matrix Feminist Design Co-operative' opens tomorrow at the Barbican Art Gallery and is a multi-layered project comprising an installation, publication and events programme exploring a series of important questions about our public spaces and designed environments.


The project considers who our buildings and shared spaces are designed for, who is excluded from our designed environment and what effect this has on the communities who live there. A jumping off point for these questions is an unseen archive of work by the radical 1980's feminist architecture co-operative Matrix. The installation will feature rare films, drawings, photos and architectural models from the Matrix archive, presenting their use of radical methods across a range of projects, past and present.


The art gallery is also introducing archival and contemporary approaches to design that aim to empower groups often excluded in the design of buildings, including Black and Asian women's organisations, community and childcare groups and lesbian and gay housing co-operatives, to explore more inclusive ways of designing, building and occupying spaces.


See our dedicated page on the forum to our all-female judging panel for our summer built environment awards.

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