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MMOMA is 10, Yeah!
By Alevtina Kalinina

The Moscow Museum of Modern Art is celebrating its 10th birthday with an exhibition. This is an ‘open doors’ project. Yury Avvakumov, architect by profession and experienced professional ‘projector’ as he calls himself, was invited to curate the jubilee exhibition.

Yury is considered to be one of Russia’s most famous architects, and is the author of the ‘paper architecture’ concept. This was originally started in opposition to Soviet architectural restrictions, when plans were very utopian and hardly ever carried out in full. His paper architecture became quite a brand and initiated a new architectural movement. In this project he reconstructs the premises of the main MMOMA gallery, at 25 Petrovka street, which was an 18th century mansion, then a clinic and then a gymnasium.

He then ponders on the evolution of contemporary art over the last twenty years. He prepares the stage for contemporary artists with their love for installations with paper ‘tea-room’, ‘X-ray photography room’, and a ‘bureau’. On display at this exhibition are the works of the heroes of the museum: Aidan Salakhova, Alexander Vinogradov, Vladimir Dubosarsky, Valery Koshlyakov, Sergey Shutov, Anna Zhelud, Oleg Kulik, Timur Novikov, Vladislav Mamyshev-Monro – people whose career bloomed together with the Moscow MOMA.


MOMA is an abbreviation well-known in all major cities of the world for ‘museums of modern art’. Moscow’s MOMA has an extra M for Moscow, and was founded by Zurab Tsereteli who remains President of the Russian Academy of Arts to the day. Tseretelli’s private collection of about 2,000 items (works of 20th century masters) became the core of the collection with regular donations and acquisitions from auctions, for example after Inkombank’s bankruptcy, when the Museum bought most of the bank’s famous collection in 1988.

Thus the museum’s major activities are aimed at the arts of the 20th and 21st centuries. The museum has four premises in the historic centre of Moscow. The main building houses a permanent collection of 20th century avant-garde art and holds temporary exhibitions. This is the building of the former mansion, constructed by the Moscow architect Matvey Kazakov for the merchant Gubin at the end of the 18th century. The second building is a beautiful five-storey exhibition space in Yermolaevsky Lane with the capacity to host several separate exhibitions simultaneously. There is a third gallery in Tverskoy Boulevard that houses a spacious gallery that, for example, held Bart Dorsa’s exposition last year when the walls were daubed in black, and special lighting was used, creating an unforgettable impression. Last year a new cozy exhibition space opened up in Gogolevsky Boulevard with an Andy Warhol exhibition.

The Museum’s permanent collection is always worth seeing as it reflects the development of Russian and Soviet 20th-century art, from the classics of the avant-garde to contemporary masters. Among the exhibits one can find works by Kazimir Malevich, Marc Chagall, Natalia Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov, Aristarkh Lentulov, Vladimir Tatlin, Pavel Filonov, Wassily Kandinsky, Alexander Archipenko, Niko Pirosmani, Ilya Kabakov, Anatoly Zverev, Vladimir Yakovlev, Vladimir Nemukhin, Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid, Oscar Rabin, Dmitry Krasnopevtsev, Leonid Schwartzman, Oleg Tselkov, Boris Orlov, Dmitry A. Prigov, Valery Koshlyakov, Vladimir Dubossarsky and Alexander Vinogradov, Oleg Kulik, Viktor Pivovarov, Konstantin Zvezdochetov, Andrey Bartenev, and many others.

Apart from exhibitions, the Museum is involved in publishing and education. They publish a magazine entitled ‘DI’ (for Dialogue of Arts in Russian) and hold regular master-classes and lectures for young students interested in contemporary art. ‘Independent Workshops’ is a school for Contemporary Art. Passport Magazine would like to congratulate Moscow Museum of Modern Art on their 10th jubilee and thank them for their recent unforgettable exhibitions:

March 2008
Anton Corbijn: Four Dimensions

March 2009
Les plaisirs de Martell (by Jean-François Rauzier)

April 2009
Christian Dior: 60 Years of Photography

May 2009
Étude to Art Object

August 2009
God Only Knows Why My Trip Never Ended (by Paul Steinitz)

November 2009
Deep Inside My Doll House by Bart Dorsa

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