Dimitris Daskalopoulos made his fortune in the Greek food industry. Over the course of more than two decades he has amassed a collection of more than 500 works by 220 artists, including John Bock, Sarah Lucas, Matthew Barney, Lynda Benglis, and Louise Bourgeois, adding about 20 new works per year. A selection of art from his collection was shown at the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain in 2011. The collector also founded the Athens-based contemporary art foundation NEON, which stages free exhibitions and other cultural events and programs to present contemporary art to a broader audience in Greece.
Daskalopoulos experienced his first art “epiphany” at the age of 12, in front of a Rubens painting at the Alte Pinakothek in Munich. The first piece he acquired was Rebecca Horn’s The Painting in the Inner Egg (1993), and his favorite work is Duchamp’s Fountain (1917/1964). He told ARTnews, “I think the role of the collector, which I consider to be that of a temporary caretaker of the physical manifestation of great ideas and artistic creativity, is to think about the present but also to look ahead and see how a collection can be a part of the world in the future.” He has served on the board of trustees of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Tate International Council, and the leadership council of the New Museum in New York. In 2017, he endowed a curatorial position for contemporary art at the Guggenheim Museum.