Russia rich opens sleek modern art museum in Moscow

Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:38pm EDT
 
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By Amie Ferris-Rotman and Catherine de Pury

MOSCOW (Reuters Life!) - Fashion designer and ex-model Daria Zhukova opened a new art gallery in an avant garde Moscow bus shelter on Tuesday, attended by her Russian billionaire boyfriend Roman Abramovich.

A dozen interconnected rooms with high ceilings and wooden floors form the 'Garage, Centre for Contemporary Culture', a non-profit exhibition space housing Russian art just outside Moscow's centre that will be run by Zhukova.

"It is amazing that Moscow finally has space that can combine exhibitions of contemporary art... and a place where people can come and enjoy creativity," Zhukova, who was born in 1981 in Moscow and moved to the United States as a child, told Reuters TV in an interview.

A retrospective exhibit by living married Ukrainian art duo Emilia and Ilya Kabakov is opening the gallery, which is Moscow's largest art space and bigger than a football field at 8,500 sq ft and fronted by Greek white columns.

"Historically Russia has always been a big patron of the arts, so perhaps there is a bit of a higher interest in Russia," said the American-accented Zhukova in the gallery's upmarket cafe, which is lined with Soviet-era film posters.

Zhukova said London's Tate Modern museum was a "great inspiration" for Garage, which has a large open hall with exposed piping and metallic shafts and was built by Russian architect Konstantin Melnikov in 1926-1927.

"This will definitely raise the value of the Moscow art scene," said Joseph Backstein, curator of the Kabakovs' exhibit and organizer of the second Moscow art biennale, which showcased contemporary international art last year.

The gallery's polished floors and delicately lit rooms are in sharp contrast to Moscow's multi-floored Tretyakov gallery, where masterpieces by Vasily Kandinsky and Marc Chagall are hung in rooms with little security and leaking ceilings.   Continued...

 
<p>Fashion designer Daria Zhukova (R), artists Ilya (2nd L) and Emilia (L) Kabakov, and curator Joseph Backstein attend the opening of the Garage art gallery in Moscow September 16, 2008. Fashion designer and ex-model Daria Zhukova opened a new art gallery in an avant garde Moscow bus shelter on Tuesday, attended by her Russian billionaire boyfriend Roman Abramovich. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin</p>