Exhibitions in GARAGE: March 2020



Dear Friends,

I just got back from Omsk, population 1.1 million, on the western border of Siberia. Long ago local artists started a meme/city re-branding initiative by typing the name of the city on a qwerty keyboard in Latin layout. It’s Jvcr, or JVCR, as they prefer it in all caps. A portmanteau of a Japanese technology company and a video recorder of the format this company invented (VHS), this abbreviation lends itself easily to stickers, chevrons, and other media. But more than that, JVCR is a manifesto of globalism, an argument against a separate marketable identity, a way to not sell Siberia as place, extreme living experience, or grim stereotype. Artists here, from the expressionists and satirists of the city’s only non-profit gallery, Left Leg, to feminist groups like TO Nadenka, expect to be treated as equals in an international context.

And it is just as well, because the mainstream narrative about Russia in general and Omsk in particular increasingly tends to be one of darkness, of conservative forces both mental and physical having their way with the population and the country’s vast resources. That’s not to say that there are no problems in Russia’s sunshine city (locals pride themselves on occupying second place in the list of number of sunny days in Russian cities). Right in the center of Omsk you can see an underground passageway and a sign with the letter M, a monument to a subway system that took $150 million and 20 years to construct (with only one station and a bridge over the river Irtysh ready) and another $8 million to repurpose and conserve a project that could make the local commute ten times faster. It’s not only a failure of infrastructure, connected to the state’s shop-window projects like the Sochi Olympics, but also a metaphor for hidden stories and unexplored vectors of Siberian history, ripe with unofficial accounts of violent and greedy colonists, forced industrialization, and the like.

But you can’t really delve deeper without a lifeline to global history and global contexts. Otherwise you suffocate in an echo chamber of fatalistic “I-told-you-so.” And these lifelines are exactly what the local scene provides, being simultaneously global and skeptical. It’s like in the movie Parasite, that won all the Oscars (and for good reason!). Regardless of passports and localities, aren’t we apparently an underground passageway away from real, intangible success in the bright new world of private modernist architecture, but in fact separated from its promise by class and business? Those are the kind of thoughts that circle in the head of a curator who’s in charge of the 2nd Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art (which opens June 13; you are all welcome). More on that at a later date, but please see news of our current exhibitions and projects below.


Valentin Diaconov



As part of its commitment to support the study of twentieth- and twenty-first-century Russian culture and the work of contemporary Russian artists, Garage continues to offer international grants for researchers and curators.


The 2nd Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art, A Beautiful Night for All the People

March 5 was the closing date for grant applications for international curators to visit the 2nd Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art, A Beautiful Night for All the People. The exhibition will include contributions from more than 80 artists from across Russia selected by the participants of the 1st Garage Triennial, 2017, as per the curatorial concept of Anastasia Mityushina and Valentin Diaconov. The grant provides an opportunity to travel to Moscow during the opening days of the project, from June 11 to 15, 2020, meet the participants, visit Garage Studios at VDNKh, and take part in the events surrounding the Triennial.



Grant program Archive Summer for researchers

Until March 17 we are accepting applications from international researchers who write about Russian art to take part in the Archive Summer grant program. Applicants are invited to stay in Moscow for one month and work with Garage Archive Collection. The 2020 program focuses on the temporal, aesthetic, and social boundaries of Russian contemporary art. The program will run from June 1 to September 1, 2020.




Garage has announced the names of the five winners of the Garage Digital grant program, selected from among 96 applicants. Anna Engelhardt, Valentin Golev, eeefff group, Sara Kulmann, and Aleksei Taruts will receive grants to produce projects using new technology and digital media and present them on the Garage Digital platform in 2020. The Garage Digital grant program supports projects, art, and research driven by an interest in new media and technology.









Garage Teens Team: peer-to-peer

The spring semester Garage Teens Team started their journey toward a deeper understanding of contemporary art together with the Museum. The current program involves previous graduates of Garage Teens Team—who are now emerging researchers, designers, and curators, and students at top Moscow and London universities—as tutors to enhance peer-to-peer experience. Over three and a half months, thirty students will explore new ways to learn about contemporary art and acquire useful skills for working in the field through the exchange of knowledge and a focus on an individual approach.



Architectural workshops Bending, Kicking, Stretching: Playing with Distortion

Garage invites kids and adults to take part in architectural workshops inspired by the installation Exercises in Construction, Bending by the Polish artist Monika Sosnowska. Each session focuses on the study of a particular material used in architecture and design, such as clay, metal, plastics, and paper, and examines its properties. The workshops run every Saturday from February 29.




A performance by the anonymous laboratory VASYARUN It Only Seems That Way

In late March, as part of the public program for the exhibition “We Treasure Our Lucid Dreams." The Other East and Esoteric Knowledge in Russian Art 1905–1969, the Russian art group VASYARUN will present performances that explore the ideas of George Gurdjieff, in particular his practice of sacred movements. Date to be announced.




A course on the basics of working with people with migrant backgrounds and the experience of forced migration

Garage has launched a course on the basics of working with people with migrant backgrounds and the experience of forced migration. The course has been developed in collaboration with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the integration center Kids Are Kids Garage. Aimed at budding specialists interested in professional growth in this field, the course runs for several months, during which participants will learn the legal, psychological, and sociocultural aspects of working with people with migrant backgrounds. Along with theory, the program allows participants to acquire practical knowledge, with its final block being held at Russian and international organizations dealing with migration, integration centers, and Moscow museums.


CREDITS: Documentation of Yuriy Kuzmenko's project for the 2nd Garage Triennial, 2020. Courtesy of the artist; Yerbossyn Meldibekov, Transformer, 2013, Wood, Installation view, Art International Istanbul, Courtesy Aspan Gallery, Almaty; Installation view of Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2017, Photo: Yuri Palmin, © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art; Tomás Saraceno, Stillness in Motion – Cloud Cities, 2016, Installation view, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)?Courtesy of the artist; Andersen's, Copenhagen: Ruth Benzacar, Buenos Aires; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles; Pinksummer contemporary art, Genoa; Esther Schipper, Berlin, © Katherine Du Tiel, SFMOMA, 2016; Photo: Anton Donikov, © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, 2020; Photo: Anton Donikov, © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, 2020; Photo: Anton Donikov, © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, 2020; Photo: Anton Donikov, © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, 2020.



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