Every year we publish a list of the most-read articles on our website, as a way to look back to the year that passed. The twentieth year of the twenty-first century has been a challenge for most of humanity. Depending on where you live, the way states have dealt with the pandemic has had an impact on your personal life to some degree: you might be mourning the loss of a loved one, trying to cope with the anxiety of an unpredictable future, struggling with social isolation and/or unemployment, or having to deal with rising authoritarianism and state control.
Not surprisingly, most of the most-read articles on und. for 2020 are not really about art. They're about deadly border crossings, police violence, protests, emerging authoritarianism and nationalism. These are issues we have covered from a contemporary-art angle; these articles were widely read and shared, and one of them even became viral.
Here at und., we say goodbye to the year 2020 with the sombre prediction that the coming year will not be much easier; the outbreak of the pandemic has cemented far-right power in most of Europe, and has seriously destabilised the cultural sector. At the same time, the rush for cultural institutions to migrate all their activity online cannot be a long-term answer to social disintegration: we will need to grow new networks and platforms that will enable the core values of art and culture to thrive, even without grand openings and international biennials.
Much of our content in 2021 will be about how we can make this happen.
A Happy New Year to all of you!
The ten most-read articles on und. for 2020
1. Forensic Architecture releases video confirming murder of Syrian refugee on Greek border
Investigative unit Forensic Architecture has entered the art world via its highly visual reports of data that relate to human right violations across the world, as well as its 2018 Turner Prize nomination. In March 2020 it released a video with an analysis of footage from the Greek-Turkish border that confirmed the death of an immigrant there, debunking the Greek government's claims that the incident was fake news. Read our report here.
2. Cultural workers in Greece are marching again after government abolishes art education in high school
During the first Covid-19 lockdown, the Greek government pushed an avalanche of neoliberal laws through parliament. At the tail of that barrage of cuts and privatisations was the abolition of art classes from public secondary schools. Cultural workers mobilised to protest this decision, which echoed their discontent with the reluctancy of the Greek government to offer substantial support to the cultural sector during the lockdown. Read more here.
3. Obnoxious quarantine video by Greek artist sparks outrage
It was indeed obnoxious, and it was bad. A short video by Greek artist Lenia Kitsopoulou, commissioned by the Onassis Foundation, made headlines and received harsh criticism due to its celebration of animal violence and machismo. Read the review here.
4. Artists beaten and arrested, journalist targeted online after antifascist protest in Athens
In July 2020 an antifascist protest took place in response to a gathering of actual neonazis on Victoria Square in downtown Athens. The police attacked and dispersed the antifascist protesters, beating and arresting several of them, including stand-up comedian Alexandros Titkov and musician Thomas Lalos. The journalist who filmed the incident was targeted on Twitted by a member of the Greek parliament. Read the full story here.
5. Greece's independent art fair goes fully online for its 2020 edition
Platforms Project is one of the world's very few independent art fairs, gathering every year an international community of artist-run and non-commercial art spaces and institutions. Due to the lockdown measures, the fair's 2020 edition had to be cancelled, but an interactive website was created nevertheless to present all the participating artists. Read more here.
6. A list of listening resources to keep your mind flexed during quarantine
During the first lockdown in March 2020, we compiled a list of interesting listening resources, from online radios to podcasts and everything in between. Check it out here.
7. 2001 at OSK Studio in Pyrgos
The exhibition 2001 was an impressive open-air exhibition organised by Outer Space Kids collective inside an abandoned factory near the town of Pyrgos, Greece. It included 150 large-scale murals and there were screenings, DJ sets and zines during the opening. Read more here.
8. A sense of place: Leda Papaconstantinou and Lizzie Calligas exhibit together for the first time, in Spetses
Septuagenarian artists Leda Papaconstantinou and Lizzie Calligas were isolated on the tiny island of Spetses during the first lockdown, but they decided to work on their planned double show anyway. The exhibition Two Doors, Two Windows is in a way about Spetses and each artist's connection to the island. We took the boat to interview the artists on the occasion and document the exhibition. You can read the interview here.
9. Greek designer Minas has passed away
The passing of the inventive Greek jeweller and designer was a blow of grief to everyone who knew him. We recount his major achievements and life journey in a short article here.
10. The twisted dance of politics
The year 2021 marks the 200 years of the Greek revolution against the Ottomans, which eventually led to the creation of the modern Greek state. The Greek government is preparing a whole charade of events and celebrations for the occasion, and even released a kitschy preview video last October. You can read what we thought of it here.
Curious to know which were the most-read articles of 2019? Click here!