Garage Museum of Contemporary Art: New Building

Words by Claudia Malfitano
May 29, 2015

The 5,400 square-meter building will feature a state of the art façade consisting of a translucent double-layer of polycarbonate that is elevated two meters from the ground to visually reconnect the Museum’s interior to the park. The structure will be immediately recognizable worldwide by its unique silhouette, produced by two 11-meter wide vertically sliding panels that rise seven meters above a rooftop terrace.

The new building will provide Garage with inventive opportunities for programming through five exhibition galleries, Auditorium, Resource Room, and education spaces, including Kid’s Room, as well as a Bookshop and Café.Five major international projects will include interactive exhibitions by Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929, Matsumoto) and Rirkrit Tiravanija (b. 1961, Buenos Aires) with Julius Koller (b. 1939, Bratislava); as well as the inaugural Garage Atrium Commission by Erik Bulatov (b. 1933, Sverdlorsk); and a site-specific installation by Katharina Grosse (b. 1961, Freiburg) for Garage Pavilion. For his debut Russian exhibition, Rirkrit Tiravanija invites audiences to participate in works developed in response to his experiences in the city, from tournaments in collaboration with Ping-Pong Club Moscow (P.P.C.M.), to eating pelmeni (the Russian dumpling) served from site-specific sculptures. The artist has also paid homage to little-known Czechoslovakian conceptualist Július Koller (1939-2007), who is both an inspiration and creative source for Tiravanija, particularly in his choice of the exhibition title: Tomorrow Is the Question? Yayoi Kusama is also making her first exhibition in Russia, immersing audiences into extraordinary sensory and psychological environments. Connecting the Museum to its local environs, the artist has additionally created a large-scale public artwork, Ascension of Polka Dots on the Trees, which will lead visitors through Gorky Park.

Launching a new series of displays from Garage Archive Collection, photographs of the Moscow underground art scene from the 1970s through 1980s by Moscow Conceptualist George Kiesewalter (b. 1955, Moscow), will be presented. Inviting visitors to take part in building local histories, The Family Tree of Russian Contemporary Art will outline the creative networks in Russian art from the 1950s to 2010. Intended as a framework for the (as yet) unwritten history of domestic art in the second half of the 20th century, the Family Tree is not developed on subjective evaluations, but through an analysis of sources from Garage Archive—such as films, newspapers, memoirs, and interviews—that give evidence to connections between the participants of this history.

Providing unique public access to the new research Garage is developing, in addition to the Family Tree, Field Research: a progress report will include four ongoing projects by curators Koyo Kouoh (b. 1967, Cameroon) and Rasha Salti (b. 1969, Beirut); the Technical Assistant of the Museum of American Art in Berlin; as well as artists Taryn Simon (b. 1975, New York); and Anton Vidokle (b. 1965, Moscow. Each initiative explores overlooked or little known events, philosophies, places, or people relating to Russian culture, creating opportunities for new worldviews to develop. Current topics include cosmism, nuclear vitrification, the 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow, and filmmakers from Africa and the Arab world who studied in Moscow from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Throughout the summer, Garage Education will offer workshops, lectures, and tours relating to the exhibitions, as well as showcasing two groundbreaking training programs that support emerging voices of Moscow’s creative scene: Inspired by Rem Koolhaas’ interests in preserving aspects of the original 1960s architecture, Garage Teens Team has focused on this decade as one that formed the ideals of their parents. In advance of the opening, the cohort have conducted interviews and researched local modernist architecture, Soviet comedies, music, and everyday artifacts to develop their own perspective on the period, which they will share with visitors in Garage Resource Room. Throughout the Summer, Garage Mediators—the first group in Russia to undergo specialist training in body language and public speaking, as well as architecture, art, and museum studies—will lead visitors through the building, introducing Garage’s institutional history and the Soviet Modernist structure it will call home.

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