Zhukova, girlfriend of Abramovich opens new 92,000 sf art space in Moscow 2008 – International Herald Tribune

Daha Zhukova, Abramovich

Daha Zhukova, Abramovich

 

 

 

 

RUSSIA NEW CONTEMPORARY ART SPACE opens September 2008

Dasha Zhukova is to open a contemporary art space in the Bakhmetevsky Bus Garage, a giant red-brick Constructivist-era landmark near the Olympic Stadium in Moscow. Popular with architects the garage was designed in 1926 by Konstantin Melnikov.

“I thought Moscow should have a space like this for contemporary art,” Zhukova said. “There is a huge thirst for knowledge among the younger generation for contemporary art, but most of them learn about it by going on the Internet.”

Under its new name the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture this 92,000 square foot space will open next month and its first show will be a retrospective of the artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov.

Zhukova herself acknowledges being a relative art neophyte. “I didn’t study art history and don’t remember names of artists,” she said. “But if I like an image, I remember it.”

Born in Moscow in 1981, Zhukova is an only child. Her parents divorced when she was young, and when her mother, a molecular biologist, took a job at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the early 1990s, they moved there. Zhukova spoke not a word of English. But she quickly adjusted, she said, attending schools in Los Angeles and then the University of California, Santa Barbara.

A year ago few people in the art world had heard of her.

Zhukova said she isn’t modeling the Garage Center after any specific museum. “I’m taking different aspects of different institutions that are inspiring influences,” she said.

Besides aid from Abramovich, financing is also coming from other private sources and corporations. Admission will be free.

After the Kabakov exhibition that opens next month, the Garage Center plans to exhibit works from the collection of Christie’s owner, the luxury goods magnate François Pinault, whose foundation is based in the Palazzo Grassi in Venice. Dent-Brocklehurst said she was considering commissioning artists to create site-specific works for the space, analogous to installations in the vast Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern.

Asked if the Garage would have its own collection, Zhukova said that would be many years down the road, if ever.”For now I’m trying to learn as much as I can to make up for my lack of art history,” she said. “The more I read, the more I realize what I don’t know.”

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