Garage @ Moscow

Where London has Hyde Park and the Serpentine Gallery, Moscow has Gorky Park and Garage Museum. Both respective art galleries host contemporary art inside their individual city’s greatest park. The Serpentine Gallery is one of London’s gems and I absolutely fell in love with Garage on my most recent trip to Moscow.

Garage was founded in 2008 by Dasha Zhukova and was the first philanthropic institution in Russia to comprehensively present contemporary art to its local Muscovites. Situated in the heart of Moscow, the site plays host to many temporary exhibitions as well as a lovely cafe and a very good bookshop.

On my visit I was lucky enough to catch the end of an exhibition of Taryn Simon’s work. The images on display consisted of beautiful flower arrangements that displayed idealised bouquets of flowers that couldn’t be made in reality because of political issues in the cities that each individual work took it’s title from. The works were bright, striking and beautiful, the kind of contemporary art that you wouldn’t mind having on your wall, in fact, I was quite disappointed there were no postcards of these in the bookshop as I loved them so much.

Also on display is the artwork of Viktor Pivovarov in an exhibition entitled ‘The Snail’s Trail.’ This show was colourful, fun and confusing. The colourful illustrations take the viewer into all kind of imaginary worlds, asking them questions about maths, philosophy and nature. This exhibition is particularly fun if you have a little grasp of Russian, words that you wouldn’t expect to appear together are presented side by side in images where they ought not to belong.

Downstairs in the museum’s atrium is Rashid Johnson’s immersive installation ‘Within Our Gates.’ The American artist has built what looks like a greenhouse inside the gallery. Inside a metal frame are dozens of exotic plants as well as random books and films playing on television screens. There are also deck chairs for the viewer to sit on and ornate oriental carpets on the floor. It is an eclectic and beguiling display that is more visually appealing than one might expect.

Next time any of my readers are in Moscow, they simply have to visit Garage.

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier is a London-based writer with a special interest in contemporary Middle Eastern Art. She has a BA in Art History and an MA in Contemporary Art and Art Theory of Asia and Africa from the School of Oriental and African Studies. She runs the Gallery Girl blog and has written for After Nyne, Arteviste, Canvas Magazine, Harper's Bazaar Arabia, Ibraaz, Jdeed Magazine, ReOrient and Suitcase Magazine. Lizzy is also curator of Arab Women Artists Now - AWAN 2018 (London).

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