Koolhaas in Moscú

Garage Museum to Start


Promoted by the oligarch and collector Roman Abramovich and directed by his wife, Daria Zhukova, the Iris Foundation recently announced the beginning of construction of the new location of the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow’s most influential and cosmopolitan museum of art. The news seems untimely considering that Russia’s relations with the United States and the European Union have never been worse since the fall of the Iron Curtain, a context that has perhaps accentuated the Stalinist attitudes that the Russian governments have maintained with respect to culture, and which in this case have led the minister to declare that the State will not subsidize contemporary art “unless it is patriotic.” This, of course, is highly improbable.

In this artistic wasteland, and with the hostility of a government that increasingly tends to consider anything coming from the West a threat, Abramovich and Zhukova tread on in their cultural endeavors, and have insisted on carrying out the project they commissioned to Rem Koolhaas several years ago. The new Garage will be located in the same Gorky Park that Melnikov designed back in 1920, and will result from the transformation of a 1960s restaurant, abandoned over two decades ago, into a polycarbonate-covered space with 7,000 square meters allotted to exhibition galleries and workshops, the usual auditorium, store, and café, and especially the library, which is to be home to one of the largest archives of contemporary art existing in Russia. The museum will open in 2016, Putin permitting.

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