The National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA) is not just an ordinary museum, is one of the sightseeing Moscow. One of its most important characteristics is multifunctionality in the form of close interaction between the museum part and all the scientific and educational programmes run by the NCCA. Established in the final decade of the 20th century at the initiative of the Ministry of Culture, the Centre marked the beginning of a new era in Russia’s history and came to symbolise the change in attitude to contemporary art. Today, the NCCA has a vast branch network throughout the country and continues its development and successful efforts in popularising young art in Russia.
Since the Centre doesn’t have a permanent display, make sure to check its schedule of current and upcoming events. Usually, there’s a complete change of exhibition and festival programme at least once a month.
From its very first days, the Centre began to put together its art collection and is still working on it today. The collection includes works by Russia’s contemporary painters, both well-known (Dmitri Prigov, Erik Bulatov, Alexander Brodsky, Vadim Zakharov, Igor Zlotnikov, Oleg Kulik, Ilya Kabakov) and those at the start of their artistic careers. For the most part, the Centre’s collection consists of artworks dated between 1990 and 2000, represented by paintings, graphic artworks, sculptures, photographs, video art, and documented performance art – a total of about 5,000 items. By 2019, the NCCA is planning to present a permanent exhibition in its new building, which is currently under construction in Khodynskoye Pole district of Moscow.
At the present moment, the collection serves as the source for multiple temporary exhibitions. The Centre specialises in collective thematic art presentations and small personal retrospective exhibitions (a good example of a personal exhibition is the 2015 Valery Yurlov. Communications; a collective show can be exemplified by Flight Possibilities, which was part of the 2014 exhibition project entitled Subject of Art).
For a decade the NCCA has been running a large-scale project called INNOVATION – a nationwide competition in the sphere of contemporary visual art aiming to support artists, influence the way contemporary culture is perceived by bringing out and focusing attention on its most noteworthy aspects, and help popularise young art. Associated with the competition are exhibitions of nominees as well as lectures and discussions about Russian art and its current challenges.
The NCCA puts great emphasis on educational activities that involve interaction with the audience. It organises lectures (there’s a separate series of lectures on the history and theory of contemporary art), discussions, master classes, meetings with artists, recitals, video and cinema screenings, and performance shows. These events are often part of some research programme that deals with specific issues pertinent to contemporary art. For example, in relation to the programme called ‘Art, memory, history’, which studies ‘the communication of contemporary art with a wide range of issues of relevant historical thought’, the Centre arranged a number of lectures on World War II, on Yugoslavia’s Praxis school and on the ‘Peasant Cycle’ of Kazimir Malevich.
Active communication with the audience continues in NCCA’s creative studios for children and adults, presenting visitors with an opportunity to try on the role of creators, immerse themselves in the new visual art and get a different perspective on artistic practices. The Centre has a media library possessing one of the most extensive collections of material related to Russian contemporary art. The library stores in excess of 8,000 items, including books, catalogues and periodic editions on the theory and history of art.
The building of the National Centre for Contemporary Arts is also quite interesting from an architectural standpoint, exemplifying a successful effort of reviving industrial architecture in the central part of Moscow. The NCCA building used to be part of a factory that produced electric lighting equipment, and was later revamped by Mikhail Khazanov architectural studio to become a multifunctional art space. Note also the unusual architectural solution incorporated in the building – the metallic structure that supports the upper floor is projecting outwardly through the external walls.© 2016-2022 moscovery.com