A guide to the New East


Pop-up cafe and bookshop open in Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery

24 May 2013 · Moscow
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A group of young Russian designers have given Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery of fine arts a makeover, breathing new life into its shop, cafe and other public spaces. Egor Kraft from design collective Dopludo worked with designers Maxim Shcherbakov and Alexey Galkin to temporarily transform the cafe, the book and souvenir shop, the main hall and the patio. The aim of the project is to rethink public spaces in galleries in order to ensure visitors have a more meaningful experience. For the duration of the project, the shop will sell limited edition posters and silk scarves designed by artists Pavel Pepperstein, Aidan Salakhov and Dmitry Gutov.

Another objective of the art project, which was coordinated by curator Oxana Bondarenko, founder of The July 16 agency, was to rework the space in a manner consistent with the functional design of the museum. The initiative was inspired by a quote by Russian painter Kazimir Malevich who once said that “any cutout pentagon or hexagon would be a better sculpture than the Venus de Milo or David” — a statement on the notion that the design of a gallery space should relate closely to the collection of art it houses.

The temporary redesign will be in place until 2 June.

Dmitry Gutov retrospective opens at MMOMA

23 May 2013 · Moscow
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  • Sasha from Uryupinsk (1997)

  • Above Black Mud (1994)

  • Sputnik, from the Cosmos series (1988)

  • The Beatles at Tereshkova’s wedding (1998)

  • Agamben, Idea of Prose (2004)

  • Our Lady Orant (2012)

  • Under Brezhnev It Was Better (1989)

A retrospective of one of Russia’s most eminent visual artists, Dmitry Gutov, opens in Moscow on 24th May showcasing 25 years of artworks, some of which have never been exhibited before. No Surprises at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art spans a 25-year period starting from 1988 and includes paintings, photographs, installations and graphic art. 

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Moscow State Museum of New Western Art to be resurrected online

22 May 2013 · Moscow
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Henri Matisse, The Red Room (1908)

Moscow's defunct State Museum of Modern Western Art will be resurrected online following months of wrangling between two of the country's most high-profile figures in the art world. Addressing press today, Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky said: "I signed an instruction yesterday. We will open a virtual Western art museum this year for certain. Frankly, I'm confident that a mistake was made in 1948. They shouldn't have closed the museum."

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Russian sculpture hits The Hague

22 May 2013
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  • AES+F, Action Half Life Warrior (2006)

  • Leonid Sokov, Encounter of Two (1994)

  • Vadim Zakharov, Author - Monument of Utopie (2006)

  • Dmitry Tsvetkov, from his Ice Age installation (2008-2009)

  • Leonid Tishkov, Private Moon (ongoing)

  • AES+F, Angels-Demons (2009)

  • Sergei Shutov, Abacus (2001)

The Hague is to host its first large-scale exhibition of Russian contemporary sculpture, with more than 100 works from some of the country's best known artists going on display.
Among those with works on show at Russia XXI are Russian collective AES+F, world-renowned architect Alexander Brodsky and artist Vadim Zakharov, a leading figure in the Moscow Conceptualism movement.

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British Library exhibition explores Soviet dark arts

21 May 2013
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  • El Lissitzky (photomontage), International Press Exhibition in Cologne (1928)

  • Freedom American-style (1971), Moscow, B. Prorokov

  • The Poetry of Georgia (1949), Moscow, Viktor Golitsev

  • A Song of the Russian Navy (1904)

  • The Orchestra of the Psychological War

London's British Library has launched a major new exhibition examining centuries of state propaganda from around the world, including Russia. Propaganda: Power and Persuasion looks at how governments have used propaganda to influence nations, create feelings of national pride or even promote healthy lifestyles.

Among the more than 200 exhibits is a 1971 Soviet poster lampooning New York's Statue of Liberty as a symbol of freedom by presenting the iconic structure as a look-out tower for US police. Another work, a painting of a young Joseph Stalin by Irakli Toidze pictures the Soviet ruler in an idyllic mountain setting reading the Georgian epic The Knight in the Panther's Skin. The painting not only depicts Stalin as an erudite and cultured young scholar — precisely how he wanted to be seen — but it also embraces both Russian and non-Russian cultures within the Soviet state.

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Balabanov’s son may complete late director’s last film

20 May 2013 · St Petersburg
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  • Filmmaker Alexei Balabanov (1959-2013)

The 23-year-old son of the late filmmaker Alexei Balabanov, who died on Saturday, has mooted the possibility of finishing his father's final film. In an interview with Izvestia, Fyodor Balabanov said he had discussed the matter with his father days before he died. "Father wasn't against it, " he said. "I haven't read the script but I know that actresses Renata Litvinova and Ingeborga Dapkūnaitė are meant to be part of it."

Balabanov's longtime producer Sergei Selyanov said the working title of the unfinished script was My Brother Has Died. "I'm not sure whether someone will be able to finish it instead of Alexei," he said. "All I can say is that it's not Brother 3 as some have suggested."

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Rebecca Horn show opens in Moscow

20 May 2013 · Moscow
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  • Buster’s Bedroom (1990)

  • Large Feather Wheel (1997)

  • Cutting one’s hair with two pairs of scissors simultaneously (1975)

  • La Ferdinanda (1981)

  • Pencil Mask (1972)

  • Buster’s Bedroom (1990)

  • White Body Fan (1972)

A selection of 35 artworks including a new kinetic installation by German artist and filmmaker Rebecca Horn will be on display at the Moscow Multimedia Art Museum until mid-July. The new installation, The Suitcase of a Refugee (2012), will be shown alongside a body of work that spans the artist's career including video documentation of her early performances, alongside full-length films, installation art and sculpture.

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Fashion designer to the stars publishes new lookbook

17 May 2013 · Moscow
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Moscow-based fashion designer Alexander Terekhov, beloved by oligarchs’ wives and Russian celebrities, has published a lookbook of his latest collection, a blend of streetwear and classic silhouettes. The collection of silk and jacquard print dresses, velour tracksuits and billowing blouses was photographed in the northern Caucasus by renowned fashion photographer Alexey Kiselov.

Terekhov’s Fall/Winter 2013/2014 collection also incorporates a surrealist twist with silk dresses inscribed with handwritten excerpts from the novel, The Master and Margarita. The shoes selected for the shoot are from Italian shoemaker Gianvito Rossi while the bags come from the atelier of New York-based designer Khirma Eliazov.

Terekhov is best known for his prestigious collaborations. In 2013, he designed a collection of bags for Italian brand Coccinelle while this year he was invited to create an Alice in Wonderland-inspired dress for the 20th anniversary of Disneyland Paris, alongside other high-profile designers such as milliner Philip Treacy. Terekhov graduated from the Moscow Institute of Fashion and Design in 2001 and almost immediately began training with world-famous fashion house Yves Saint Laurent.

Melnikov campaigners take petition to Moscow mayor

16 May 2013 · Moscow
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Melnikov House studio. Photograph: Docomomo International

Russia's national architecture museum has weighed into the campaign to save the cylinder-shaped Melnikov House in central Moscow, a world renowned symbol of Twenties' Soviet avant-garde. In an online petition addressed to Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, campaigners from The Shchusev State Museum of Architecture are calling for an immediate halt to all construction works in the area around the house, which they allege is causing significant damage to the building. As there are no laws in Russia on exclusion zones around historically significant buildings, nearby construction of a shopping centre and underground car park has led to soil displacement in the area, resulting in large cracks throughout the building.  

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Juvenile offenders turn to Russian literature with gusto

16 May 2013
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1931 illustration by Alexander Surikov for Fyodor Dostoevsky’s A Gentle Creature. Photograph: 50 Watts under a CC licence

A detention facility might be one of the last places on earth you'd expect to find a Russian literature class, but inmates at the Beaumont Juvenile Correctional Centre are clamouring to enrol in a course that covers everything from War and Peace to Crime and Punishment.

Although there's no guarantee that participants will see the error of their ways and commit to leading crime-free lives, staff members at Beaumont claim that the free classes, which are run by the University of Virginia, have led to a change for the better in students.

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