As reported in The Art Newspaper in July 2011, Russian dealer and gallery pioneer Marat Guelman has founded his second regional Russian art museum, this one called TverCA, and the institution is reportedly on a mission to restore the soul of Russia to its people.

Russian gallerist Marat Guelman's latest art institution, TverCA, opened in April 2011.

Click here to read the article, called “Moscow art dealer opens contemporary art centre in Tver”, in The Art Newspaper.

Guelman, well-known in Russia as much for his cultural ambitions as for his controversial political ties, is the founder of one of the first post-Soviet galleries to appear in the country, Marat Guelman Gallery, and the director of the Perm Museum of Contemporary Art, which opened in 2009. TverCA, which the gallerist established in April 2011, is the second in a planned string of regional art museums. According to The Art Newspaper, it operates on a governmental budget of Rb40 million (USD1.4 million) as well as funds collected from private donors.

Work by Recycle Group, first shown at the Guelman Gallery then as the opening show for TverCa.

Work by Recycle Group, first shown at the Guelman Gallery then as the opening show for TverCa.

TverCA is located in the city of Tver, which is only a day trip away from Moscow, and it is hoped that the institution will function as a space for new, challenging artworks, rather than relying on shows imported from the capital as the Perm museum does. States The Art Newspaper,

Irina Yashkova, the director of TverCA, said that Russia needs contemporary art to help restore spirituality. ‘In recent years, people earned money and didn’t think of their soul,’ she said. ‘This is a natural stage in the development of the new Russia.’

Guelman explained in the article that in addition to the new institution at Tver, two more centres in the cities of Kazan and Samara, both on the Volga river, will appear in 2013.

Image of the June 2011 "Russia for All" exhibition at TverCa, featuring work by Dmitry Gutov.

Image of the June 2011 "Russia for All" exhibition at TverCa, featuring work by Dmitry Gutov.

Not satisfied with a the traditional art institution model, Guelman also has plans to create a publishing and arts hub in Tver. The project has been dubbed “Humanitarian Skolkovo”, a playful jab at the high technology business area Skolkovo innovation centre which opened in March 2011. In an interview with radio station The Voice of Russia he said that he has “plans to turn one of the districts in the Tver region into a globally renowned humanitarian and cultural centre,” explaining that “the modernisation of the cultural sphere is a crucial component of national modernisation.”

The Novy Museum, Russia.

The Novy Museum, Russia.

This move into regional Russia goes against the grain of contemporary art development in the country. Currently, most efforts to support the scene focus on creating new spaces in St Petersburg, a city often cited as the cultural capital. Erarta, which opened in October 2010, is one such space, and it now claims the title of the biggest non-governmental art space in Russia. The Novy Museum opened in St Petersburg in 2010. It features the private collection of Aslan Chehoev and is devoted to Soviet underground and Russian contemporary art.


Related Topics: Russian art venues, art spaces – museums, Russian artists

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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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