Dakis Joannou’s Annual Fete Draws Boldface Names to Greece

Greek collector Dakis Joannou. Photo: Courtesy Patrick McMullan

Bloomberg reporter Katya Kazakina gives an extensive rundown of Greek billionaire collector Dakis Joannou‘s annual party. The exclusive, invitation-only event on the tiny island of Hydra has turned Greece into a mandatory stop-over for art world insiders jetting between Art Basel and the major London summer auctions at Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips.

From the sound of it, little is different from past years’ iterations of the soirée: A-list collectors hobnobbing with curators, dealers, and auction house specialists while perusing special projects by hot artists. Joannou and George Economou, who are Greece’s top two patrons of contemporary art, sponsored exhibition openings for the artists they backed, Pawel Althamer and Rashid Johnson. Joannou’s Hydra dinner involved 400 guests at a 394-foot outdoor communal table along a rocky path, where, as Kazakina puts it, “dealers from Berlin to Brazil exchanged information, promoted upcoming shows, showed images of new works by their top artists, and tried to figure out which Middle Eastern princess was in attendance.”

For any Jeff Koons fans who may have been saddened by the absence of Joannou’s Koons works (nearly two dozen are on loan to the current Whitney retrospective), an eyeful can be had if they were lucky enough to see Joannou’s 115-foot yacht, named “Guilty,” which the artist was commissioned to decorate and covered in a garish geometric pattern. (Sorry but we beg to differ with Forbes’s description of the boat as “a floating piece of art.”)

Among the guests in attendance were Xin Li, Christie’s deputy chairman in Asia who was a force to be reckoned with at the recent contemporary New York sales in May, art dealer Jeffrey Deitch, architect Elizabeth Diller of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Pablo Picasso’s granddaughter Diana Widmaier-Picasso, New Museum associate director Massimiliano Gioni, and Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute head Harold Koda.



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