The opening attracted big names, like Larry Gagosian, Karlie Kloss, and George Lukas.

By Ann Binlot
June 16, 2015
David X Prutting/

For everyone who travels to Moscow, there is the standard list of must-do activities: catch a ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre, stroll through the Red Square, eat a meal at Café Pushkin—but now, thanks to art patron Dasha Zhukova, there will be another stop to add for any culture enthusiast: Gorky Park to see the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.

Last week, art-world personalities flew to Moscow for the opening of its newest institution. Spotted: oligarchs like Zhukova’s husband Roman Abramovich; top gallerists like Larry Gagosian, David Zwirner, Gavin Brown, and Paul Kasmin; and major artists like Taryn Simon, Jeff Koons, Urs Fischer and Nate Lowman.

That’s all ignoring the biggest names: George Lucas, Woody Allen, Miuccia Prada, Karlie Kloss, and Stella McCartney, to name a few.   

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After walking through the former amusement park, which is now a beautiful destination to sunbathe, play or socialize, visitors will reach the museum itself, located on the site of a Soviet-era restaurant. Rem Koolhaas and his architecture firm The Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) wrapped a new exterior around the existing structure, one comprised of a concrete open-air building, original tile and brickwork, a mosaic and stairs.

The 17,717-square-foot structure features a façade made from a translucent double-layer of polycarbonate, and an actual garage-like mechanism that raises and lowers a “door” above the main entrance.

Kate Fowle, the chief curator of Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, put together an opening lineup of exhibition that mixes blockbuster shows that appeal to mainstream audiences alongside more obscure, thought-provoking pieces.

Art novices will surely enjoy the experience of playing ping pong, eating dumplings, and creating t-shirts in “Tomorrow Is the Question,” Rirkrit Tiravanija’s participatory installation that rounds up his experiences in Moscow. There’s no doubt that long lines will occur for those who want to take a selfie in one of the two Yayoi Kusama rooms there, but there is a consolation prize for those who don’t have the patience to wait; the trees outside in the park wrapped in Kusama’s signature polka dots that line the back of the museum.

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Most notable is the Garage Archive Collection, where visitors will take part in building local histories. George Kiesewalter’s photographs documenting the city’s underground art scene during the ‘70s and ‘80s are a particularly interesting glimpse into its past.

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