Moscow Museum of Modern Art/
Московский Музей Современного Искусства
5 locations-see website for details
Friday-Wednesday open 12:00-8:00pm,
100 rubles with student ID
This MMOMA is a group of museums that house a range of contemporary artists and installations. This art is from the entire second half of the 20th century forward. Some employ traditional methods with a modern feel, and there are also exhibits that really push the boundaries of what we consider art. Some gallery space is reserved for permanent collections, and some exhibitions change seasonally.
Because the museum is spread out into five separate locations, it’s best to make a day of touring the different galleries. You pay at the first gallery, and that ticket will get you into all MMOMA galleries for the day. Their stated student price is 100 rubles, but with my MГУ student ID, I paid only 40 rubles.
The most abstract art I saw was at Petrovka 25. There are multiple levels of well-lit rooms, and plenty of space for overlapping exhibitions. One exhibition was devoted entirely to 60 years of German art, with lots of variety, experimentation, and even some pieces bordering on disturbing. In other areas there were sculptures and multi media works side by side. One piece I really liked was this multi-media piano sculpture, “Hommage a Maciunas” by Wolf Vostell (Lithuania), which also had music and lights.
Ermolaevsky 17 had a very interesting series. This was a gallery that seemed to be devoted to political and social art. There were submissions from various places around the world, bold and touching statements by artists about their countries. My favorite at this installation was a submission called “Yak, yak, yak” by Mazzumil Ruheel (Pakistan), which was a roomful of televisions, playing various news pieces for each other. The artist hoped to depict “analysis and manipulation” between our public and inner lives.
Tverskoy 9 also had very experimental, 3-D art that puts the viewer into the artwork. I really liked a very interesting Russian “Adidas” exhibition. The images depicted young men in their normal lives, but my Russian friend explained this was kind of a social commentary on the tracksuit fad of the 90’s.
Gogolevsky 10 had possibly my favorite artwork. The gallery’s current showing was an exhibition of work belonging to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The collection’s tone was a respectful, patriotic appreciation of the police and military forces of Russia. The art itself was really impressive: vivid, realistic, and demonstrative of the variety of emotions contained in public service.
Bolshaya Gruzinskaya 15 is sure to be a go-to if you only have the chance to see one location. It houses the works of Zurab Tsereteli, the famous Russian artist of Georgian heritage, and is the only location with a constant permanent collection. Tsereteli is the founder of the museum, and, as he is a prolific artist, you will notice works of his spread throughout the other locations. Besides his famous sculptures, his paintings and ceramic and plaster works are on display. You can also see highlights of his long career, with many of his pictures with foreign dignitaries also on display. You can also watch a short video about his sculpture gifted to America in memories of 9/11 (it still stands on the New Jersey shore). I was surprised to see the range of this artist. Exiting to the courtyard, I was even more amazed to find myself in a small street full of the 3-D sculptures of the artist. It was very strange and interesting to walk among the works, some of them miniatures of his most famous pieces.
I was impressed with the depth and artistic vision of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. Besides informing me about my options, and encouraging me to visit all locations, the staff gave me more information about local art events and about local city tours that were art related. The Museum, with its different locations, really gave a full and satisfying look at contemporary art in Russia, and a venue for artists from around the world. It’s well worth its nominal entrance fee.