News from Garage | November 2020




Faced with a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, on November 8 the Mayor of Moscow announced a new lockdown, as a result of which all museums in Moscow are closed from November 13 to January 15, 2021. The museums in Moscow Region shut down even earlier. While the reason is clear—the daily rate of new infections is currently over 6,000 in the capital and over 25,000 in Russia as a whole—the decision to close museums while shopping malls, bars, cinemas, and restaurants in Moscow remain open was unexpected.

Since re-opening after the spring lockdown, the city's museums have significantly limited the number of visitors and introduced strict hygiene control, with their directors claiming that this ranks museums among the safest public places to visit. As a result of the recent closure order, institutions will once again lose a significant amount of income from ticket sales, guided tours, etc. And this lockdown period includes the thirteen-day New Year holiday, which is crucial in terms of footfall and income generation. Announced just five days before it was to take effect, the lockdown coincided with the opening of several important exhibitions. These include the main project of the VII Moscow International Biennale For Young Art and a survey show of the legendary early-Soviet art school VKhUTEMAS at the Museum of Moscow, and a retrospective by the important conceptualist artists Elena Elagina and Igor Makarevich at Moscow Museum of Modern Art. All of this has left the Moscow art community somewhat frustrated.

This mirrors recent events in Europe, where the professional community raised concerns after the shutdown of cultural organizations in late October/early November. The German Museum Association called for the earliest possible re-opening of museums, stating their high safety standards and financial fragility, while the UK-based Art Fund estimated that around 60% of British museums may not survive the second lockdown.

Garage stands with its museum colleagues. The 2nd Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art is closed to the public, and if museums are allowed to reopen in January we will extend the exhibition to February 28, while Tomás Saraceno's Moving Atmospheres will remain on show until March 14. We have already rescheduled upcoming exhibitions accordingly. Garage Café, the Bookshop, and the film screenings in our auditorium are still operating, as the lockdown restrictions permit such activities. To quote a phrase from Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Ulysses, adopted and popularized by Veniamin Kaverin in his novel The Two Captains: “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”





In early November Garage announced the winners of its 2020/2021 grant program for contemporary artists aged 35 and under. The aim of the program is to provide emerging practitioners from across Russia with the opportunity to grow professionally, become more deeply engaged in creative activities, and broaden their research interests. Established in 2012, the Garage grant program is a core element of the Museum’s commitment to developing and supporting the local artistic community, something which is particularly timely in the current situation. Accordingly, Garage increased the number and value of grants this year, with a total of 15 laureates receiving a monthly stipend of 50,000 rubles each for a period of one year. You can find the list of the winners on our website.




Isadorino Gore dance cooperative (Sasha Portyannikova and Dasha Plokhova) has concluded its project as part of the Garage Field Research program. With the help of Garage Field Research team (Oxana Polyakova and Daria Bobrenko) the cooperative combined archival research at the State Academy of Artistic Science’s Choreology Laboratory with a three-month dance laboratory entitled Experiments in Choreology, aiming to find answers to several questions, including: Do Soviet ideas of the physicality of the “new man” continue to influence the sensing mechanisms of authors and viewers operating in the post-Soviet space?

The result of their project is a “toolbox” publication titled A Guide to the Practical Application of the Experiments in Choreology Dance Archive, or Where did the Soviet Gesture take us? The publication features theoretical texts, descriptions of practices, and archival materials that the artists have found empowering. Anastasia Mitiyushina, who curated the research, describes the importance of the project as follows: “By being more intuitive (due to a reliance on bodily reactions) or more truthful, dance studies can bring more freedom to the very notion of 'artistic research'.”




Sought-after Russian media artist Mikhail Maksimov has finished his commission for Garage Digital. The project is the video game The Tool, which came out on the Steam platform. In it the player creates increasingly complicated tools and combinations thereof (“endless equipment”) while ignoring not only the usual game logic, which implies that tools are needed to play through specific tests, but also the very principle of the consistency and finality of any game. The artist calls this project “a relaxing casual puzzle.”

The initial stage unfolds intuitively and features interaction with objects of different types: man-made or not, animate and inanimate, of organic or synthetic origin; from a cow to a galaxy, from a cactus to an atom. However as the game unfolds the interface turns out to be extremely demanding to use and is accompanied by special guidance, which is also available on Steam.




To coincide with the 2nd Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art, the Museum has created a special collaboration with A.D.E.D., a Moscow-based outdoor interface design collective that explores creative options for visual communication in urban environments. "Garage was the first museum to offer us a collaboration, said COZEK, a member of the A.D.E.D. creative team. “Each item in the collection reflects the essence of our work: all destinations every destination". The collection included a hoodie, a longsleeve tee, and a poster, and sold out in record time. The print design used the colors of the 2nd Garage Triennial visual campaign and was based on various posters by A.D.E.D. Items from the collection were displayed in a special pop-up zone in Garage Bookshop.




Garage has expanded its endowment development strategy and launched Endowment Fund 2: Academic Programs. Income from the fund will be used to provide grants and paid internships for students of the Museum's master's program Curatorial Practices in Contemporary Art at the Joint Department with the Higher School of Economics (Moscow), to fund the development of a specialized library collection, and support The Garage Journal: Studies in Art, Museums & Culture, which will provide an overview of the experience of the Museum's researchers and specialists from across the world.


CREDITS: Heidegger Platform, exhibition view, 2nd Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art. Photo: Ivan Erofeev. © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art; Ulyana Podkorytova. Film still from Autograph, 2020. Courtesy of the artist; Isadorino Gore dance cooperative. Still from video notes from the dance laboratory Experiments in Choreology, Meeting 7, October 23, 2019. 17’ 11”. Video: Tatyana Yegorova; Still from the The Tool by Mikhail Maksimov, 2020. Courtesy of the artist; A.D.E.D. pop-up zone in Garage Bookshop © Evgeniya Maslennikova; A.D.E.D. capsule collection for Garage © Emmie America; Students of the MA Curatorial Practices in Contemporary Art in Nizhny Novgorod in front of the Young Motorists Club mosaic by Dmitry Arsenin. Photo: Nadya Koldayeva



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