‘Depression Era’ Exhibition in Athens


4289_6 001An exhibition entitled “Depression Era” has opened at the Benaki Museum in Athens. The theme is the economic crisis and the new reality in Greece.

Depression Era is a collective project of more than 30 artists, photographers, writers, researchers, architects, journalists and curators. The collective was formed in 2011, aiming to record the economic crisis through photographs, video installations and literature.

The artists’ work capture today’s painful recession and the new reality of Greece through pictures of worn-out faces or torn down and dilapidated buildings. This is not just a documentation of the hardships Greeks are forced to face. As the artists say, this is not Greece in crisis, this is simply today’s Greece.

The exhibition also includes photographs from Greece before 2008, capturing times of economic prosperity and the Greek dolce vita. According to the artists, that was another Greece, never to return. They also make the parallel of Greece’s excesses before 2008 to the roaring twenties that were followed by America’s economic crash of 1929 and the Great Depression.

High Society / Spiros Staveris
High Society / Spiros Staveris


High Society / Spiros Staveris
High Society / Spiros Staveris


The artists suggest that the word ‘crisis’ implies a temporary situation, where if the factors causing the crisis are lifted, the situation will revert to normal. Unfortunately for Greece, the situation is not temporary and it will be extremely difficult to return to normal. It will take years, possibly decades. So, in reality, Greece is in the Depression Era.

The exhibition will run through January 11, 2015.


  1. The Depression in the USA was an absolute catastrophe, but the latest revision in the historical data suggest that that depression ended in 1937. In that year, real GDP per capita was as immaterially different from what it was in 1929. There was a major recession in 1938 (because of a second round of big Fed mistakes), but the USA grew by leaps and bounds, 1939-44. Americans thought that the years 1937-39 were depression years, because of persistent high unemployment. But the catastrophic decline in value added, 1930-33, was over.

    The Greek depression is now in its 6th year, with no end in sight.