Garage Museum of Contemporary Art: Rem Koolhaas' debut in Russia


The opening of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art was the biggest architectural and artistic event of the year and Rem Koolhaas' debut in Russia.

During its history, Garage has changed more than one address, until finally, along with gaining the status of a museum, it registered in the former building of the Vremena Goda cafe . As the founder of the museum, Daria Zhukova, said, “the whole history of Garage is closely connected with architecture. wp-content/uploads/2022/01/5538edc120adb181585cd3464d28cee6.jpg” width=”690″ height=”1035″ class=”lazy-image__image _align-center” data-v-0571743d=”1″ alt=”Museum of Contemporary Art” ;Garage"” />The facade of the building is “wrapped” in two layers of translucent polycarbonate and raised above the ground to a height of 2.25 m. Due to the glass lobby, the interior of the first floor of the museum is seen through.

In 2008, we reconstructed the abandoned building of the Bakhmetevsky car park, an architectural monument of the Soviet avant-garde, in 2012 we built an exhibition pavilion in Gorky Park, which is among the exceptional examples of temporary architecture, and in 2015 we opened our first own building, which was worked on with one of the most significant architects of our time – Rem Koolhaas. By that time, the head of the OMA bureau had already managed to rebuild the former winery in Milan into the Center for Contemporary Art of the Prada Foundation.

Garage Museum of Contemporary ArtThe work of Eric Bulatov. The 9.5 m high canvas was created specifically for Garage.

The Koolhaas project develops a new type of museum consciousness

< img data-src="/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/7d0befb0fd812687d8a637cba741f2bb.jpg" width="690" height="1035" class="lazy-image__image _align-center" data-v-0571743d="1" alt= "Museum of Contemporary Art "Garage"" />Daria Zhukova and Rem Koolhaas at the opening of the museum.

Two years ago in London, Koolhaas presented a project for the reconstruction of a Moscow building from 1968, which was implemented with virtually no changes. The architect retained the layout and decoration as much as possible. Concrete supports were strengthened, cleaned and covered with plaster. Communications were removed to the floor and to the double facade.

Garage Museum of Contemporary ArtA fragment of the exhibition “Theory of Infinity” by Yayoi Kusama.

The original mosaic panel, ordinary and clinker bricks, glazed ceramic tiles from the 1960s-1980s were restored and put on display. A polycarbonate shell was built around the facade, which gives a soft, diffused light. The project provides solutions that allow you to modify the interior of the museum for various exhibitions: you can install mobile walls to form new halls, as well as lower white wall panels from the ceiling.

Garage Museum of Contemporary ArtCafe on the ground floor of the museum. Soon, original Soviet furniture from the 1960s and 1970s will appear here, which will complement the existing furniture from European designers of the same time.

We asked its director Anton Belov how successful the new museum premises turned out to be for presenting contemporary art. “As John Baldessari joked, “to build the perfect modern art museum, you need to call the best architects, they will build the building.

Garage Museum of Contemporary ArtUnder the main staircase leading to the second floor, there is a wardrobe. Its bright orange self-leveling floor contrasts spectacularly with the concrete pavement of the central gallery.

Invite well-known curators there, they will select works for exhibitions. And then call the builders, who will erect an ordinary hangar next to the building. The artists will paint the walls in it white and will exhibit whatever they want.” From this point of view, our building is certainly not ideal, because it is not a white cube. But, on the other hand, it forces artists to work with their art in a new way.

Garage Museum of Contemporary ArtLectorium with colorful chairs, designed by Ray and Charles Eames, Vitra.

For the first time in Russia, we managed to realize the project of a European architect from start to finish

Garage Museum of Contemporary ArtOne of the halls of Yayoi Kusama's exhibition “The Theory of Infinity”.

They see new textures, the specifics of space. For example, Jerry Horowitz, curator of the Louise Bourgeois exhibition, which will open with us in September and cover almost the entire space of the museum, having visited the Garage, was delighted with the old brick walls. He abandoned the idea of ​​covering them with white panels. The Koolhaas project develops a new type of museum consciousness. Of course, some decisions had to be changed in the course of construction.

Garage Museum of Contemporary ArtBookshop on the ground floor of the Museum of Modern Art. The architects tried to preserve all the features of the building's layout.

14 months were given for implementation – this is a very short time. Some materials were not delivered in time, and some were not available. So, it was planned to lay out the floor in the lobby with softwood plywood. However, it turned out that in Russia it does not exist. Replaced with birch. Nevertheless, it is fundamentally important that for the first time in Russia we managed to implement the project of a European architect from beginning to end. This is a positive experience and our first achievement.”

Garage Museum of Contemporary ArtThe unspoken symbol of the museum is a fragment of the mosaic panel “Autumn”, which was restored by Italian restorers. The author of the work is unknown, as well as the exact date of its creation.

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