The State Museum of contemporary art, Thessaloniki (SMCA) was founded in 1997 after the acquisition of the collection of George Kostakis with works of artists of the Russian avant-garde. Since then has been constantly evolving and today is one of the main museums in the area. The works in the collection have been presented in many countries like Germany, Austria, France, England, Spain. The first artistic director of the SMCA was Professor of art history at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Miltiadis Papanikolaou. Since 2006 artistic director of SMCA is Maria Tsantsanoglou, specialized Conference on the study of Russian avant-garde.
The Museum also organizes exhibitions both from the permanent collection as well as other temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. At the same time organise guided tours, educational and research programs, speech events, theatre and music and has a rich publishing activity. The Museum has developed international collaborations and co-productions with major museums such as the Tate Modern, the Martin Gropius Bau, Maillol Museum, the art gallery of Tretiakof, the State Museum of Architecture Moscow, the Royal Academy of London, etc.
The State Museum of contemporary art is the organiser of the Thessaloniki Biennale of contemporary art.
In February 2013, announced the merger of the Agency with the Macedonian Museum of contemporary art, creating a Legal entity under private law. In the merge is not part of the Thessaloniki Museum of photography, which will ensure and will operate as a stand-alone entity.