Jeff Koons, one of the world’s most famous contemporary artist, adorned the Greek island of Hydra with his own version of an ancient Greek temple of Apollo.
The iconic American artist transformed the Slaughterhouse, an art space located just outside the main town of Hydra, into a bright, colorful ancient Greek temple.
Although the jarring colors may seem out of place, as many people think of white marble when imagining ancient Greek architecture, temples and sculptures actually were painted with bright colors in antiquity.
In addition to the stunning mosaic floors and frescoes adorning the walls, Koons also created a colorful sculpture of the Greek god Apollo as the centerpiece of his temple. Next to the statue, which has shiny, tanned skin, a robotic snake slithered on the podium, and an actual woman posed without moving a muscle.
In addition to the sculpture, Koons placed a wooden table with a urinal, bicycle wheel, and koulouri in the space, which is likely an ode to famous French conceptual artist Marcel Duchamp.
The artist also placed a golden sun on the roof of the art space. As the wind blows, the sun’s rays turn.
Jeff Koons builds Greek temple on Hydra
Koons had been working on his temple for over two years, and on the space’s opening night, a young man dressed in Ancient Greek clothing, a number of goats, and burning incense imbued the temple with an air of authenticity.
The event took place just one day before the summer solstice, or the longest day of the year.
The scene attracted a variety of visitors from the island’s community of art lovers to famous artists and even tourists who stumbled upon the event during their trip to the island.
Nestled in the Argo Saronic Gulf just under two hours away from Athens by ferry, Hydra has long been a destination for artists, musicians, and free spirits inspired by its stunning natural beauty and vibrant port town.
Internationally known as the muse and longtime home of poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen, Hydra is filled with a spirit of creativity and beauty that can be felt just by exploring the breathtaking island.
Hydra is also completely free of cars, motorcycles, and even bicycles, so visitors simply get around on foot, by donkey, or by water taxis to reach more distant beaches.
Koons, who is known for his sculptures that explore themes from popular culture, particularly his works inspired by balloon animals and the singer Michael Jackson, was first introduced to the Greek island of Hydra by his friend Dakis Joannou.
Joannou, who is a prolific collector of contemporary art, famously acquired the pop-art inspired yacht Koons designed called Guilty. The two became friends in the 1980s, and it was likely through Koons’ influence that Joannou began collecting art.
The Greek-Cypriot businessman began the Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art, which is based in Athens. The Slaughterhouse in Hydra is part of the Deste Foundation.
Koons’ exhibition, which is entitled Apollo will be on display in the space until October 31st.