5 Events Not to Miss at the Garage Museum This Summer

Kate Haveles
Jun 12, 2015 12:00AM

In its new 5,400 square-meter home, the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art is poised to take some major steps for Russia’s contemporary art scene. With its grand opening on June 12th, the museum will unveil interactive exhibitions by major international artists such as Yayoi Kusama, Erik Bulatov, Katharina Grosse, and Rirkrit Tiravanija. The exhibition program was conceived alongside a multifaceted education effort aimed to synthesize dialogue around local and international curiosities and concerns.

This includes an accumulative research project called “The Family Tree of Russian Contemporary Art” that surfaces Garage’s archives to map the trajectory of Russian art from the 1950s to the present; Field Research: A Progress Report, an analysis of little-known facets of Russian culture by artists, curators, and critics (among the names are curator Koyo Kouoh and artist Taryn Simon); and the creation of the Garage Teens Team, a student group focused on archive research, and Garage Mediators, docents specially trained in art history and body language. The museum has a full set of public programming planned for its premiere, including lectures, film screenings, seminars, and classes. Below we’ve picked a few highlights not to be missed during the opening weeks:

Installation view of Katharina Grosse, yes no why later, at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo by Lily Idov for Artsy.

MEET THE ARTISTs: Rirkrit Tiravanija, Katharina Grosse, Erik Bulatov

On opening day, be sure to plan your visit to coincide with the artist talks hosted throughout the afternoon and evening. Rirkrit Tiravanija, Katharina Grosse, and Erik Bulatov will all be on site to discuss their work currently on view. Tiravanija’s first large-scale presentation in Russia, “Rirkrit Tiravanija: Tomorrow is the Question,” consists of participatory projects that draw upon the history of the building as well as the artist’s experiences of Moscow.

Garage is also playing host to Grosse’s Russian debut. In “yes no why later,” the artist overwhelms an 800-square-meter gallery with an immersive, site-specific installation that incorporates trees, soil, and Grosse’s signature splashes of color. Bulatov’s “Come to Garage!” takes over the entrance of the building, placing two massive paintings on a 9.5-meter-high structure, the first artwork in a series of commissions for the museum’s atrium.

The artists will be available at the following times on June 12th:

3:30–4:00 p.m. Rirkrit Tiravanija in the Central Gallery

4:00–4:30 p.m. Katharina Grosse in the Garage Museum Pavilion

5:30–6:00 p.m. Erik Bulatov in the Entrance Hall

LECTURES: Anton Vidokle, Boris Groys, Vitaly Komar

Also on the evening of opening is a series of lectures with prominent Russian artists and art-world figures. Artist and founder of e-flux Anton Vidokle will be in conversation with art critic, theorist, and philosopher Boris Groys—moderated by the museum’s chief curator, Kate Fowle. This will be followed by a lecture by conceptual artist Vitaly Komar and Sasha Obukhova, who heads the museum’s archives.

Lecture times on June 12th:

4:00–5:00 p.m. Anton Vidokle and Boris Groys, moderated by Kate Fowle (Garage Chief Curator) in the Garage Education Center

8:00–9:00 p.m. Vitaly Komar and Sasha Obukhova (Head of Garage Archive Collection)

Installation view of Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirrored Room–The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away (2013), at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo by Lily Idov for Artsy.


Installation view of Yayoi Kusama, Guidepost to the Eternal Space (2015), at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo by Lily Idov for Artsy.

Film Screenings: Yayoi Kusama

Screenings in the auditorium throughout opening day include a video documenting Kusama’s 1967 performance Kusama’s Self Obliteration. Pop in after viewing Kusama’s show “Infinity Theory” in the west end of the building (the installation extends to the auditorium and out into Gorky Park). The video will be shown twice on June 12th, first at 4 P.M. and again at 7 P.M., and then weekly throughout the exhibition.


Among the diverse courses offered at the Garage—creative writing, architecture, and children’s art instruction included—a lecture series accompanying the Garage Archive Collection’s long-term research initiative “The Family Tree of Russian Contemporary Art” will run from June through early September. Covering the (largely unwritten) history of Russian art from the mid-20th century to the present day, each lecture centers around one Russian artist or collective. A full schedule can be found online.

Installation view of The Family Tree of Russian Contemporary Art at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo by Lily Idov for Artsy.

Installation view of The Family Tree of Russian Contemporary Art at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo by Lily Idov for Artsy.

Special Event: Yoko Ono

After the hustle and bustle of the museum’s opening, head up to the Garage rooftop the following week for a sunrise celebration referencing Yoko Ono’s 1964 performance work Morning Piece, organized by MoMA PopRally in correlation with the current exhibition of Ono’s work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Beginning at 3:40 a.m., just as dawn begins to break, the rooftop terrace will be filled with performances, live music, public talks, workshops, and a three-hour yoga class until 12:25 p.m., when, eight time zones away, the sun rises on New York City (where MoMA will continue the festivities). A schedule of the morning’s events is available online.

Kate Haveles

Watch this space for our on-the-ground coverage of the Garage Museum’s grand opening.

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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019