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Museums and Galleries

Double Trouble — The Biennale

The first Moscow Biennale actually opened! That in itself was an achievement, given the obstacles that the organizers had been facing — the oligarchs were too scared to put up the money for fear that they might upset the Kremlin (perhaps some brave artist might lampoon Putin … he did), and the Minister of Culture was too scared to come, for the same reason.

The Biennale’s Main Project, entitled “Dialectic of Hope,” will showcase the work of forty-five artists at the State History Museum on Red Square and the Schusev State Architecture Museum. Participation in the main project is limited to artists under thirty, but the Biennale’s organizers have set aside space for more established artists; these Special Projects are at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, the Tretyakov Gallery, and again the Schusev State Architecture Museum. Not wanting to pass up one of the rare opportunities for international exposure, contemporary Russian artists working in a wide spectrum of media and traditions are participating in Parallel Projects hosted at galleries around the city, and even beyond: an installation at the Klyazma reservoir resort, where the Art-Klyazma festival takes place every September, will explore the potential of Russia’s vast white winter as a canvas for artwork.

For a complete list of exhibitions, consult the festival’s website:


Special Projects

“The Greeting” by Bill Viola. It’s been ten years since Viola created “The Greeting,” but since then it has been running almost non-stop in exhibition spaces around the world. The piece recreates a painting by 16th century Florentine Jacopo da Pontormo. The video will be shown at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, in the Hall of the Museum’s History.

“Odessa’s Ghosts” by Christian Boltanski. Old portraits, wires, and dim lamps are some of the components Boltanski favors in his installations. But for his exhibition at the Moscow Biennale, he has chosen a new medium: frozen overcoats. A dark and empty wing of the State Schusev Museum of Architecture has been set aside for the wardrobe.

“Accomplices. Collective and Interactive Works in Russian Art of the 1960s — 2000s.”  Location: State Tretyakov Gallery. Curated by the Tretyakov Gallery’s New Art Department, this is a retrospective of group projects by Russian artists, starting in the Soviet period, when unofficial artists needed the moral support of their co-conspirators. The exhibition reconstructs pieces by the group “Apt-Art,” the members of which turned their living spaces into artworks, and features paintings by duo that invented “Sots-art” (Soviet pop art) Komar and Melamid.



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