Sunday, June 14, 2015
Dasha Zhukova: Russian Public Now Less Skeptical About Contemporary Art
The founder of Moscow's Garage Museum of Contemporary Art speaks on the occasion of its grand re-opening, and discusses politics, the ruble, and Russia's approach to experimental work
by Lili Rosboch, bloomberg.com; see also on prepotente architects and museums.
Founded in 2008 by art autodidact Dasha Zhukova, Moscow’s Garage Museum of Contemporary Art is the first philanthropic institution in Russia with a public mandate for contemporary art. It's home to the largest archive of Russian art from the 1950s to present day, and it is permanently moving to a new space that will open to the public on June 12. After four years in a building designed by Constructivist architect Konstantin Melnikov, and then a few more in a temporary pavilion especially conceived for the museum by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, the 34-year-old wife of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich asked Rem Koolhaas and his OMA studio to undertake the renovation of the 5,400 square-meter building in Moscow’s Gorky Park. With a unique 11-meter wide profile and a facade of polycarbonate, the new Garage building includes five exhibition galleries, a screening room, an auditorium, and educational spaces as well as a bookshop and café. I spoke with Zhukova, who divides her time between London, Moscow and Los Angeles, by phone. Here are edited excerpts of our conversation, wherein Zhukova discusses the challenges of opening a global-scale fine art museum in a tricky Russian economic climate.