Art Space Pythagorion is housed in a former modernist hotel from the 1970s, which was repurposed as a contemporary art centre by architects Penny Petrakou and Stelios Loulourgas. The inaugural exhibition in 2012 was a solo exhibition of the influential filmmaker Harun Farocki (1944–2014).
With its unique location directly on the picturesque harbour of Pythagorion (the birthplace of Pythagoras), it offers a magnificent backdrop. However this "white cube" is also meant to be understood as a symbolic place: the view from the building looks out over the nearby Turkish mainland — just 1.2 km from Pythagorion — at the edges of Europe, and the border between East and West.
The Art Space is one of the main venues for the Schwarz Foundation's commitment on the island of Samos (one of the largest islands in Greece). The building complex includes 300 m² exhibition space as well as accommodation for artists and curatorial fellows. Since the renovation, the Schwarz Foundation has also used the building for many different events directed towards the local community, thanks to the generous support of the municipality.
Every year the Schwarz Foundation organizes its flagship summer exhibition at the Art Space Pythagorion. Since 2016 the Foundation appointed Katerina Gregos as curator of its visual arts programme. Her programme has featured a string of exhibitions of socio-political relevance which takes into account both global issues and regional geopolitics. Previous exhibitions by Gregos include: 13,700,000 km³ (2019), Anatomy of Political Melancholy (2018) which traveled to the Athens Conservatoire (one of the main venues of Documenta 14) in 2019; Summer of Love: On the Unlikely Liaison between Love and Politics (2017), on the 50th anniversary of the 'Summer of Love' in San Francisco; A World Not Ours (2016) which explored problems of representation regarding the 2015–2016 refugee crisis in Europe, which played out on Samos's shores (in addition to three other neighbouring islands). Following its highly successful stint at Art Space Pythagorion, the exhibition travelled to the Kunsthalle Mulhouse where it was featured as part of Art Basel's institutional programme.
Previous summer exhibitions include: Hotel Marina Lucica by Aleksandra Domanović (2015), Borderline by Nevin Aladağ (2014), and Long Legged Linguistics by Slavs and Tatars (2013).
The art curatorial residency programme is a Schwarz Foundation initiative aiming to bring together young professionals from different fields of science and art. Participants acquire professional experience by actively working together with internationally acclaimed art curators. In the inspiring ambiance of a historic and cultural area of high geographic importance, residents work at a freshhold between West and East. Residents meet, interact and develop ideas and references to an extensive community. The residents actively participate in the curating and production of the Art Space Pythagorion exhibition under the curator’s guidance. The production of complementary side-events, such as opening activities, lectures, workshops, educational programmes for children and screenings also fall in their line of work.
During its summer exhibitions, Art Space Pythagorion provides free educational workshops and activities for children. Using a fun approach, the programmes aim at familiarising children with topical issues, such as migration, the refugee crisis, tolerance and solidarity through contemporary art. The educational programme is designed by the visual artist Katerina Zacharopoulou and implemented by the curatorial fellows.
Languages: The educational programme has been held in Greek, English, Arabic, and Farsi.
Audience: Schools, visitors to the island, unaccompanied minors, refugee children.
Attendance: Over 700 children attend the programme each year.