The Garage museumRussian: Muzey «Garazh» or Музей «Гараж» is certainly worth a visit to see how contemporary art, both national and international, finds its place in Russia. This is one of the few institutions in Moscow that works at an international level, running exhibitions alongside both educational and research work. And last but not least, the Garage is located in the Gorky Park of Culture and LeisureRussian: Park Kultury imeni Gorkogo or Парк Культуры имени Горького, a beautiful area on the banks of the Moskva RiverRussian: Moskva-reka or Москва-река, featuring a high concentration of exhibition venues and extraordinary opportunities for walking and recreational activities.
Whilst the museum is large, it does not have a permanent exhibition; instead, it introduces audiences into the world of international art through regular exhibitions of works by legendary contemporary artists, often those that haven’t previously been exhibited in Moscow. Some of the key events in 2015 included the “Yayoi Kusama: Theory of Infinity” exhibition, the “Tree of Contemporary Russian Art” exhibition, the “The 1960s: Points of Contact” project and Katharina Grosse’s “Yes No Why Later” exhibition.
The Garage museum has a rich archive collection of documentary materials related to the history of Russian art. Drawing on these resources, museum staff are active in research, and they report their findings in the exhibitions. In July 2013, chief curator Kate Fowl initiated the Field ResearchRussian: Polevye issledovaniya or Полевые исследования platform dedicated to “giving new global perspectives on local events” and developing new research theories. One of the most interesting of recent projects is “Face to Face: The American National Exhibition in Moscow. 1959/2015Russian: Litsom k litsu: Amerikanskaya natsionalnaya vystavka v Moskve. 1959/2015 or Лицом к лицу: Американская национальная выставка в Москве. 1959/2015“, which explores the impact this exhibition, held in Moscow in 1959, had on the culture in Soviet Russia. The organisers recreated the most interesting exhibition stands from the United States and displayed reproductions of North American painters’ artwork which had been exhibited in 1959.
Educational activities and infrastructure
Alongside exhibitions and research, the museum consistently develops educational programmes, including guided tours, lectures by leading contemporary art experts, architecture walks, workshops for children, film screenings, courses in the fundamentals of painting, and more. The “Asymmetrical SimilaritiesRussian: Nesimmetrichnye podobiya or Несимметричные подобия” lecture course by art critic Irina Kulik generated great public interest. The lecture discussed such topics as “Piet Mondrian – Maurits Escher”, “Egon Schiele – Hans Bellmer”, “Marcel Duchamp – Salvador Dali”.
Excellent opportunities to develop your knowledge are on offer in the public library of the museum, which is devoted to the theory and history of contemporary art. It contains about 15,000 items in various languages. Here, you can find key publications on 20th-21st century art. In addition to the library, the Garage bookstore located in the museum itself has a wide range of books, exhibition catalogues, magazines, and designer souvenirs. Books co-published by the Garage museum and Ad Marginem are worth a closer look as such a comprehensive selection is hard to find in other bookstores in Moscow.
A welcome surprise for visitors is be a ground floor café where you can relax between visits to different exhibitions. Complimentary WI-FI is available at the cafe and throughout most of the museum.
The museum building and the Park of Culture district
The building itself brings together several epochs and deserves special attention. The Garage museum is located in a once-abandoned building of the “Vremena GodaRussian: Времена года (Seasons of the Year)” Soviet modernist-style cafe reconstructed by the OMA design bureau led by renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. The architect and the Garage museum team emphasised their desire to depart from the typical “white” exhibition box (the way most contemporary art museums look today) and instead tried to preserve the history of building. At the same time, they breathed new life into the space and provided a comfortable environment for visitors to interact with art. From the outside, the museum looks quite cosmic, upholding the modernist style with its extended line of windows. Inside, visitors encounter vast expanses of concrete and glass, ultra-trendy designs, modernist mosaics (one of the museum’s main treasures) and Erik Bulatova Russian artist’s artwork titled, “Everyone is Welcome to our GarageRussian: Vse v nash garazh or Все в наш гараж“.
As pointed out by Daria Zhukova, the founder of the Garage museum, the history of the museum has always been closely related to its architecture. Initially, the Garage Centre for Contemporary Art was housed in (and received its name from) the Bakhmetevsky Bus GarageRussian: Bakhmetevskiy avtobusnyi park or Бахметьевский автобусный парк designed by Konstantin Melnikova Russian architect and painter. In 2012, Garage relocated to Gorky Park, finding its temporary home in a pavilion commissioned from architect Shigeru Ban. In 2014, the Centre for Contemporary Art was turned into the Garage Museum, which in 2015 moved to a new permanent building.
After Garage relocated to Gorky Park, the neighbourhood began to be known as the cultural centre of modern Moscow. Opposite Gorky Park, on the other side of Krymsky ValRussian: Крымский вал, the same building houses the Tretyakov GalleryRussian: Tretyakovskaya galereya or Третьяковская галерея department displaying the permanent exhibition “20th Century ArtRussian: Iskusstvo XX veka or Искусство XX века” and the “Central House of ArtistsRussian: Tsentralnyi dom khudozhnika or Центральный дом художника” exhibition centre. The building stands amid the Muzeon Arts ParkRussian: Park iskusstv «Muzeon» or Парк искусств «Музеон», which is famous for its collection of outdoor sculptures. The Park runs an open-air cinema, a MUZEON free book exchange library, photo exhibition stands, a music festival scene, the SCHOOL pavilion, cafes and more. The pedestrian zone along the Krymskaya embankmentRussian: Krymskaya naberezhnaya or Крымская набережная links this area with Krasny OktyabrRussian: Красный Октябрь (Red October), another cultural precinct of the capital. “The Strelka” InstituteRussian: institut «Strelka» or институт «Стрелка», the Lumiere Brothers Center for PhotographyRussian: Tsentr fotografii imeni bratev Lumier or Центр фотографии имени братьев Люмьер, the Digital October Conference Center and other exhibition halls are located there, together with many trendy cafes and nightclubs.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com