All eyes are on the international art fair Art Moscow, which started Wednesday as part of Moscow Arts Week. Now in its 16th year, Art Moscow runs through Monday and is widely considered to be the most important event in Russian contemporary art.
The fair, consisting of exhibitions and discussions with industry leaders, is open to the public and its organizers this year seem keener than ever that the events focus on the ordinary visitor.
The art market has benefited in post-Soviet years from the rising number of Muscovites amassing their own personal collections, but today it is not only those with a few billion to burn.
Gallerist and Art Moscow collaborator Yekaterina Iragui told Russian media earlier that "billionaires don't form the art market since for them collecting is a form of investment."
The demand from an engaged and thoughtful middle-class is clear from the topics of discussion, including one discussion called "You do not need to be a millionaire to collect art."
The fair's director, Vladimir Bychkov, has said that one of the main objectives of the fair is "to raise interest in Moscow as a cultural capital on both national and international levels."
As such, the Central House of Artists will exhibit work from all over the globe, with artists from the U.K., France, Cuba and Iran. The uniqueness of Art Moscow, Bychkov declares, "is that here East meets West."