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Cosmoscow Brings Modern Art World to Russia

The event this weekend brings together foreign and Russian modern artists.

Prominent art galleries from around the world will take over Krasny Oktyabr, the Soviet chocolate factory-turned-gallery space, for the Cosmoscow modern art show.

Participating galleries include New York's Leo Keonig, Berlin's Neu, London's Simon Lee and the local XL Gallery. Each will display a wide variety of art forms, including mixed media, installations and painting.

Margarita Pushkina, the show's organizer, said the participation of "upper-echelon galleries" from around the world testifies to the international market's "great confidence" in Moscow's rising star on the art scene.

Russian artists featured at Cosmoscow will include Ilya Kabakov, a patriarch of Soviet conceptual art who now lives in New York, and Moscow's Pavel Pepperstein, a founder of the Young Conceptualists group in the 1990s who also dabbles in detective novels and rap.

Among the show's foreign works are pieces by Dutch artist Berent Strik, who embroiders photos with thread. Strik embellishes shots of people and places in conflict-ridden regions that frequently appear in the news, such as Israel and the West Bank, to force viewers to approach the images with a fresh gaze.

The show also includes works by Yang Shaobin, a Beijing artist known for sinister portraits aimed at eliciting viewers' unease, as well as pieces by controversial British conceptual artist and collector Damien Hirst, who earlier this year designed headpieces for pop sensation Lady Gaga.

Pushkina hopes that the event will encourage Russians to "look more seriously" at modern art.

On Saturday night, visitors can mingle with artists and dance to live music at a party at Art Academia, beginning at 10 pm.

Cosmoscow is open to the general public on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. at Krasny Oktyabr, 2 Bersenevskaya Naberezhnaya, Bldg 1. Metro Kropotkinskaya. Admission is 400 rubles. Tel. 727-1785, www.cosmoscow.com.

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