RINGING IN THE CHANGES | News from Garage
The last two years have been difficult for everyone due to the pandemic, but we remain optimistic and are making plans for the future. In this final newsletter of the year, we’d like to tell you about some of the exciting things that happened in 2021.
Our major news of the year is that last month we announced the long-awaited renovation of the historic Hexagon pavilion in Gorky Park as a new Garage building. This development responds to the needs of our expanding program and is a logical extension of the Museum’s architectural program of reviewing and repurposing architectural heritage and, in the end, returning it to the contemporary context. Today Garage is an institution that brings together a wide variety of initiatives, from the archive on Russian contemporary art and a public contemporary art library to exhibitions, Garage Live performances, Garage Screen film screenings, and an extensive program of support for the local art community. Each of these initiatives requires a home. Over the next few years, new spaces, starting with the Hexagon, will fill this need and turn Garage into a spatially distributed structure, the various elements of which form a single ecosystem. These changes will create a new understanding of how a contemporary museum can be, who its audience is, and how the interaction between the museum and the viewer can be organized.
Another landmark event was the creation of an unprecedented alliance known as Four Museums (M4). It brings together two key Moscow federal museums, the State Tretyakov Gallery and the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, with two major privately-run institutions, Garage and GES-2 House of Culture, which recently opened its magnificent new Moscow venue in an early twentieth-century power station renovated by Renzo Piano Building Workshop. Being part of this alliance is important for Garage. It provides a unique cultural offer for the local audience, with all of the museums within walking distance of each other, and also reflects our common orientation toward international cultural dialogue.
We are taking a new, more focused approach to the 2022 exhibition season, which will feature exceptional women artists: Anne Imhof, Lydia Masterkova, Saodat Ismailova, and Helen Marten. The project created by Anne Imhof for Garage will travel to the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam after its presentation in Moscow, and this collaboration opens an exciting new chapter of our international presence.
After reviewing our online offer, we’ve given our website a makeover, and hope that you will like the more contemporary look and find it more convenient to use. In 2021, we launched a long-term project called Garage Research Laboratories, which continues the Museum’s focus on research but from a different perspective.
Such ambitious programs require funding, and we are always looking for innovative ways to ensure the Museum’s future financial stability. In November we held the inaugural Garage Gala, which included a charitable contemporary art auction. It was a great success, raising over €1 million for Garage Endowment Fund.
As you can see, we have a lot to celebrate this festive season, and on New Year’s Eve we will make a wish that in 2022 it will be easier to travel safely and that you will be able visit us in person to share these exciting new initiatives.
We wish you all safe and happy holidays.
See you in 2022!
Garage Museum of Contemporary Art
In the next five years the physical boundaries of Garage Museum of Contemporary Art will change markedly in response to the needs of the Museum’s wide-ranging program and the communities built around it. One of the most important stages in this process is the renovation and preservation of the historical Hexagon pavilion in Gorky Park by the Japanese architectural firm SANAA (Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates), 2010 Laureates of the Pritzker Architecture Prize.
The Hexagon (formerly the Machines and Tools Pavilion) was built in 1923 by architects Ivan Zholtovsky, Viktor Kokorin, and Mikhail Parusnikov for the First All-Russian Agricultural and Handicraft Industries Exhibition, which took place in what would later become Gorky Park. In its new incarnation, the Hexagon will become a space for social interaction and the display of various artistic practices. It will feature three exhibition galleries (two in the facet pavilions and one on the lower ground level), a library, a bookstore, and a café. The courtyard of the building will be an open public space. The functional space of the building will comprise 9,500 square meters.
You can find out more about the history of the building and SANAA’s design on our website.
This fall we updated the Garage website. It has a new look and feel, updated navigation through museum programs, and a new Stream section that brings together online media for deep-dive interaction with current exhibitions and events. It also incorporates a thorough and ongoing adaptation of the website for people with disabilities, having been redeveloped for a better screen reader experience, a consistent code structure, and best practice in terms of design layouts.
In 2021, we launched an ambitious new initiative known as Garage Research Laboratories. The laboratory format comprises a one- or two-year cycle of thematically focused collective work by research groups that bring together academics, artists, curators, and activists and lead to visible outcomes, such as books, conferences, public events or exhibitions.
The 2021–2022 program includes three projects. The laboratory Space 1520 focuses on the colonial history of the imperial, Soviet, and post-Soviet periods. It funds projects that explore the history of interactions of various communities of the former USSR and contemporary Russia with the cultural standards, political activity, and laws of an assumed metropole. The laboratory “We Treasure Our Lucid Dreams” grew out of the eponymous exhibition at Garage in 2020 and aims to sum up and broaden the themes of that project in a comprehensive, illustrated book in Russian and English. Finally, the laboratory Plus History explores the phenomenon of HIV in Soviet and Russian culture.
The 2022 exhibition season will feature four major solo presentations by exceptional women artists. In spring Garage will show the inaugural exhibition in Russia of Anne Imhof, winner of a Golden Lion at the 57th Venice Biennale, сurated by Beatrix Ruf and Katya Inozemtseva. Imhof will show new works, including a performance project with Eliza Douglas that will take place in Gorky Park and a new film that will premiere at Garage. The exhibition and performance of Anne Imhof at Garage is a collaboration with the Hartwig Art Foundation and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, which will host the project after its presentation at Garage.
In spring we will also open the exhibition Lydia Masterkova. An Enriched Retrospective. Curated by Valentin Diaconov and Sasha Obukhova, it will present a retrospective of an artist who followed in the footsteps of the “amazons of the Russian avant-garde” and returned to Soviet art the non-figurative practices of the early twentieth century. Austrian artist Heimo Zobernig will develop the exhibition design and provide an element of dialogue with the canon of Western abstraction.
The program will continue with the first Russian solo exhibition of the renowned Uzbek director and artist Saodat Ismailova, who participated in the 55th Venice Biennale (Central Asia Pavilion, 2013) and will take part in documenta 15 (Kassel, 2022). The project curated by Iaroslav Volovod
brings together Ismailova’s recent videos and new works created for the exhibition in Moscow. While addressing the history of the region, Ismailova's projects are universal messages that touch upon issues of collective memory, the search for roots, and the revival of cosmologies.
In 2022, Garage will also present the first solo exhibition in Russia of Turner Prize winner Helen Marten, curated by Katya Inozemtseva. The artist will produce new works for the exhibition in Moscow, including drawings, paintings, videos and large, multi-piece sculptures and spatial assemblages, which will be integrated into the space of the Museum. For Garage Atrium, Marten will create a large-scale sculpture that will alter the familiar look of the Museum’s entrance space. Garage will publish an exhibition catalogue and a Russian translation of Marten’s 2020 novel The Boiled in Between.
On November 23, Garage founders Dasha Zhukova and Roman Abramovich hosted the inaugural Garage Gala, which included a record-breaking benefit auction in partnership with Sotheby’s and Artsy. Ten artworks were auctioned, including a piece by Thomas Demand (whose first solo exhibition in Russia is currently on view at Garage), marble sculptures by Maurizio Cattelan and Jenny Holzer, Caspian-Sea-shaped baking molds by Taus Makhacheva, and recent works by other longtime friends of Garage, such as Urs Fischer, Rashid Johnson, and Viktor Pivovarov. The auction also featured two special lots: an in-person studio visit with Jeff Koons and a private tour of the Met’s vaults.
The gala and auction raised €1,084,500 for Garage Endowment Fund, breaking the Russian record for charitable art auctions. Guests included curator Beatrix Ruf, who is working with Garage on the Museum’s long-term development strategy, gallerist Chrissie Erpf, Sotheby’s Europe Chairman Oliver Barker, filmmaker Harmony Korine, Garage patron and art advisor Sandy Heller, SANAA partner and architect Yumiko Yamada, film and theater director Kirill Serebrennikov, and film directors Kira Kovalenko and Kantemir Balagov. They joined Garage Director Anton Belov, Chief Curator Katya Inozemtseva, and Garage Endowment Fund Director Dasha Kotova for the event.
The new issue of The Garage Journal is now available online. Issue 04—“In and Out of the Museum: New Destinations of the Moving Image”—analyzes ways in which cinema, video art, and curatorial practices inform and influence each other. Dissecting this intricate relationship, the issue challenges traditional assumptions and opens up a discourse where affinities and oppositions coexist. The guest editors are Eugénie Zvonkine and Luísa Santos.
With the support of beeline, Garage is launching an inclusive family app that aims to make the Museum more accessible to all kinds of visitors, with or without disabilities. The app introduces the visitor to the Museum space and explains contemporary art accessibly, in simple language and through play. The visitor is invited to take a tour of the Museum and use their new knowledge in interactive quests. More materials will be added to the app, including a podcast, audio guides, and workshops.
Guided by the principles of participatory design, the Garage team worked closely with the community. The app I’m Going to the Museum is the result of collaboration between potential users, their families, teachers, and inclusion experts.
CREDITS: © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art; © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art; © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art; Natalia Papaeva, Manai khada, 2021. Digital collage. Courtesy of the artist; Jakob Eilinghoff, Oscar Joyce, and Ian Edmonds in Anne Imhof, Sex, 2019. Tate Modern, London. Photo: Nadine Fraczkowski. Courtesy of the artist and Tate Modern; Lydia Masterkova, Composition with Watermelon, 1962. Oil on canvas. Tsukanov Family Foundation; Saodat Ismailova, The Haunted, 2017. HD video. Courtesy of the artist; Helen Marten, A Starling Orbit (real facts, real fiction), 2021 (detail). Nylon paint on fabric, aluminum, ash frame, steel, maple, fabric, zips, cross-stitch embroidery, cast Jesmonite, painted Balsa wood, cast pewter, marbles, cotton, bitumen paper, biro pen, beads, paper bag, chamois leather, milk bottle tops, black sand, steel rebar © Helen Marten, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London. Photo: Eva Herzog; Oliver Barker leading the benefit auction at Garage. Photo: Denis Shumov and Anna Temerina © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art; Rodney Graham, Phonokinetoscope, installation view, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow. 2021. Photo: Ivan Erofeev © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art; John Akomfrah, Purple. 2019. Installation view at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo: Alexey Naroditsky © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art; Photo: Anton Donikov © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.