Galleries and museums across the capital have officially awoken from their summer slumber. Whether you want to soak in the tranquil beauty of Raphael’s portraits or be mesmerized by the stunning ink paintings of China’s most illustrious contemporary artist, there’s a veritable tide of extraordinary exhibitions for art-lovers to embrace this autumn. Here’s our “must-see” list.
Stephan Balkenhol: Sculptures and Reliefs
Old techniques given a contemporary edge
The Moscow Museum of Modern Art’s latest show—a Stephan Balkenhol retrospective —is its best in recent years. With a career spanning more than three decades, Balkenhol is considered one of the most important contemporary sculptors of his generation. Balkenhol uses wood in his sculptures— honoring a tradition going back to medieval Europe—yet he leaves his works unpolished. The rough surfaces, littered with cuts and nicks, are meant to reflect the imperfections of real life. The MMOMA exhibition features works depicting religious figures as they would look today alongside some of the artist’s sketches.
Through Nov. 13. Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA).10 Gogolevsky Bulvar, Metro Kropotkinskaya. mmoma.ru
Alexander Rodchenko: Experiments of the Future
A visionary and a creator
This major retrospective of Alexander Rodchenko at the Multimedia Art Museum is devoted to the 125th anniversary of the artist’s birth. Today, Rodchenko is thought to be one of the most important figures in Russian avant-garde movement, and as a man who lived before his time. His photography was socially-engaged, experimental and groundbreaking from an aesthetic perspective. The exhibition features more than 100 photographs from the MAMM collection, as well as famous posters, paintings and art objects from Russian museums such as the Tretyakov Gallery, the Pushkin Museum and the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.
Through Nov.13. Multimedia Art Museum Moscow (MAMM). 10 Gogolevsky Bulvar, Metro Kropotkinskaya mmoma.ru
Kyoto Costume Institute: Elegance and Splendor of the Art Deco
Haute couture and costume jewelry
Over 100 rare high-fashion items from the Kyoto Costume Institute, including coats, evening dresses and womenswear, will be on display at the Kremlin Palace Museum from Sept. 30. One of the leading fashion museums in the world, the Kyoto Costume Institute has restored many of the items specifically for the exhibition. Clothing will be shown accompanied by jewelry created by Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels and alongside original designs and archival photography of the items. The collection of different types of decorative arts will help draw a wider picture of the art deco period, a unique socio-cultural phenomenon in visual arts, architecture and design popularized in the 1920s and 1930s.
Sept 30 - Jan. 11. Kremlin Palace Museum. Metro Aleksandrovsky Sad. kreml.ru
Pino Pinelli: Matter, Fragment, Shadow
Step into the world of analytical painting at the recently opened Pino Pinelli exhibition at the MAMM. Pinelli was influenced by the “Zero” artists of the mid-century, who created artwork devoid of color, emotion and individual expression. Similarly, Pinelli’s work also propounds the idea that there are modes of expression other than those found in traditional painting. His works often mimic abstract geometric trails and involve bright, primary colors and varying textures. The surprising, minimalist creations of the artist subvert the viewer’s expectations, making this a playful, but powerful, exhibition.
Through Oct. 23. Multimedia Art Museum Moscow (MAMM) 16 Ulitsa Ostozhenka
Metro Park Kultury, Oktyabrskaya. mamm-mdf.ru
Raphael: The Poetry of the Image
“Il divino” comes to Moscow
A little bit of Raphael’s genius has arrived in Moscow. This autumn the Pushkin Museum hosts a landmark monographic exhibition of the artist’s works — the first ever in Russia dedicated solely to Raphael. Following an agreement between the Pushkin Museum and the Florentine Uffizi galleries, 11 paintings and drawings of inestimable worth have traveled to the capital, some leaving Italian soil for the first time. Among the masterpieces on display, guests can admire Raphael’s famous 1506 self-portrait, as well as the dual portraits of “Agnolo Doni” and his wife “Maddalena Strozzi.” Renowned for the harmonious composition and striking beauty of his artworks, the current Raphael exhibition is being held under the patronage of the Italian Embassy in Russia.
Through Dec.13 .Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. 16 Ulitsa Volkhonka. Metro Kropotkinskaya arts-museum.ru
Giovanni Battista Piranesi: Artworks From Russian and Foreign Collections
1,000 square meters dedicated to Piranesi
The artwork of Giovanni Battista Piranesi— an 18th-century Italian engraver, architect and decorator—will adorn the prestigious walls of the Pushkin Museum through November. The exhibition includes around 100 of Piranesi’s etchings, as well as drawings and engravings from his predecessors and followers. As well as exploring the life and works of Piranesi, the collection will shed light on the influence the Italian had on artists in Russia, from inspiring the architects of Catherine the Great’s court to his impact on the proponents of the Russian avantgarde. The exhibition will feature artwork from the Pushkin Museum’s collection, as well as the Venetian Cini Foundation, the Shchusev Museum of Architecture and the Russian Academy of Fine Arts.
Through Nov.13. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. 16 Ulitsa Volkhonka. Metro Kropotkinskaya arts-museum.ru
Cui Ruzhuo: Glossiness of Uncarved Jade
Ink paintings from a modern master
Cui Ruzhuo’s landmark exhibition at the Manege brings the Asian artist’s exquisite ink paintings to Moscow audiences for the first time. Consistently ranked as one of the most successful and highly paid artists of his generation in his native China, Cui Ruzhuo is best known for his large-scale images of flowers, birds and landscapes. The exhibition, “Glossiness of Uncarved Jade,” is currently on show at the St. Petersburg Manege and will arrive at its Moscow counterpart on Oct. 7. The collection features around 200 works, including several polyptychs reaching over 6 meters in length. Combining the expressionism of Western art with ancient Eastern practice and technique, Cui Ruzhuo’s artworks often feature monochrome landscapes contrasted with striking flashes of color.
Oct. 7-28. Moscow Manege. 1 Manege Square. Metro Okhotny Ryad. moscowmanege.ru
Three openings at the Garage Museum
Three exhibitions will open simultaneously at the Garage Museum on September 30. One is devoted to the New Slovenian art or NSK (Neue Slowenische Kunst) as it’s better known. The NSK were a controversial political art collective whose German name indicated one of the central themes of their works: the complicated relationship between Slovenians and Germans. The exhibition covers key events from 1980 to 1992 including concerts, shows, theatrical productions, performances, and guerrilla actions by the four core groups that comprised NSK (until December 9).
Yin Xiuzhen is a Beijing-based artist, who will create a site-specific installation for the museum’s lobby. “Slow Release” will be one of the largest structures the artist has ever made and will take the shape of an enormous medicine capsule. Visitors will be able to enter the installation, which is made of clothing donated by Muscovites last summer (until January 31, 2017).
“Proof” is a group exhibition by three artists from three different countries and generations: Francisco Goya (1746-1828), Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948) and Robert Longo (1953-). Jointly curated by Kate Fowle of Garage and Longo himself, the exhibition includes 43 of Eisenstein’s sketches and seven of his films, as well as 49 of Goya’s etchings, from all four of his suites, and more than 35 works by Longo (until February 5, 2017).
Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. 9/2 Ulitsa Krymsky Val, Bldg. 32. Metro Park Kultury, Oktyabrskaya. garagemca.org
Gerhard Richter: Abstraction and Appearance
Between abstraction and realism
Gerhard Richter is one of the most prominent abstract painters alive today, yet he is also highly praised for his photorealistic portraits. Perhaps most famous for his technique of painting over found photographs, the artist uses images from magazines and family albums and turns them into unrecognizable painted portraits, landscapes, and still lifes. The exhibition at the Jewish Museum in November covers Richter’s works from 1973 to 2016, including major works from different stages of his career. The centerpiece is “Birkenau (2014),” a series of reworked photographs taken by a prisoner at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in August 1944.
Nov. 9 - Feb. 5 2017. Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center. 11/1A Ulitsa Obraztsova
Metro Marina Roshcha, Mendeleyevskaya jewish-museum.ru
Roma Aeterna. Masterpieces of the Vatican Pinacoteca
A glimpse inside the sacred walls
The Vatican museums hold some of the world’s most highly treasured artworks. Items from the immense collection rarely leave the walls of the sacred city. But this autumn some of them will. On loan from the Vatican Pinacoteca, paintings of staggering importance by Caravaggio, Raphael and Bellini will travel to Moscow for the landmark exhibition. While many of the works relate—unsurprisingly—to biblical scenes, others shed light on life in the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods. It’s a golden opportunity for art lovers not only in Russia, but throughout Europe, to see the paintings for the first time.
Nov. 23 — Feb. 19, 2017. Tretyakov Gallery. 12 Lavrushinsky Pereulok. Metro Tretyakovskaya tretyakovgallery.ru