Garage Museum of Contemporary Art is the first philanthropic institution in Russia wholly devoted to contemporary art. Founded in 2008 by Roman Abramovich and Dasha Zhukova, and located in Moscow’s famous Gorky Park, the museum showcases artistic movements from Russia and around the world. Alongside exhibitions, visitors can enjoy theatre performances, concerts and film screenings orchestrated by emerging local artists and creatives; they can also get involved in workshops, lectures and other educational programmes aiming to open up contemporary art to all ages. Garage is also home to Russia’s only public archive of Russian contemporary art and largest library of contemporary art books. In this all-encompassing project, Garage unites Russia’s artistic heritage with its contemporary cultural life.
Garage curates 10 major exhibitions per year, showcasing the work of Russian and international artists from the 1950s onwards and supporting emerging artists. The scope of exhibitions varies greatly, from thorough retrospectives of influential artists, to the exploration of social and cultural questions or an entire artistic movement. Some of Garage’s exhibitions are taken abroad, and exhibited to audiences from around the world. Every exhibition is accompanied by a corresponding cultural programme with activities for all ages, from academic lectures to family events. Prominent recent exhibitions have included: ‘bauhaus imaginista. Moving Away: The Internationalist Architect’ - a 2018 exhibition exploring the development of Bauhaus in the Soviet Union in the early 1930s; ‘The Coming World: Ecology as the New Politics 2030 - 2100’ - the first major exhibition in Russia exploring how the environmental agenda is becoming one of society’s most critical questions; and ‘Art and Revolution in Exhibition Practices from the 1950s to the Present’ - an exhibition of books commemorating the Revolution’s centenary, and examining how the interpretation of the October Revolution changed over time - how it was studied and how it influenced society and art.
As well as exhibitions, Garage has a huge cultural events programme. Experts from Russia and abroad give lectures in English and Russian on all kinds of topics - fashion, ecology, architecture, health and more. Film screenings are regularly held as part of an initiative running since 2012, Garage Screen. Films by local and international directors are shown year-round, and an outdoor summer cinema is set up in Gorky Park. Visitors can also attend concerts and performances organised as part of the Garage Live and Mosaic Music initiatives. Garage Live is a programme of dance, music, and theatre which focuses on supporting local emerging artists and new projects; Mosaic Music hosts international and Russian musicians.
A large number of educational programmes and courses are organised at Garage, with opportunities for all ages covering a range of disciplines. Just some of what’s on offer includes creative writing workshops, painting classes, an introduction to architecture, and excursions led by art critics and historians.
Garage engages in a number of research projects, exploring little-known aspects of Russian history and culture and how they have impacted and interacted with events around the world. Research projects are proposed by artists, writers and curators with a particular idea in mind, and projects are made accessible to the public, encouraging much wider engagement with art and culture. Past research programmes include the exploration of self-organized art initiatives in Russia between 2000 and 2015, an inquiry into alternative communities, underground music scenes and the art world in eastern Europe from 1968 to 1994, and the cinematic construction of political narratives presenting the Afghan War to the Soviet people
Garage is home to the world’s largest archive of Russian contemporary art spanning from the post war period to the present day. The bulk of the collection is the Garage Archive Collection, containing materials from the press as well as private archives from collectors, curators and artists themselves. In 2017 Garage launched the Russian Art Archive Network, an online archive, compiling collections from the Garage archive and from research institutes and universities around the world. Garage also houses Russia’s first and largest public library dedicated entirely to contemporary art in all its disciplines and related subjects, such as cultural studies, gender and postcolonial theory, photography, architecture, design and more. New publications from Russia and international sources are continually added to the library, as well as rare and historical publications. Access to the library is completely free.
The Garage Museum of Contemporary Art is so much more than just a museum or gallery, but allows for full immersion into all disciplines of art and related fields, with something for all interests and levels of knowledge - families looking for an interesting exhibition, those who want to take part in workshops, academics and researchers interested in a new project. Check out their website today for the latest information on what you can find there.
Essential information for visitors
Location: Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Central Alley, Gorky Park, Moscow
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