5 of St. Petersburg’s Hidden Treasures

Annenkirche

Annenkirche

Spooky Church With a Difference

Though it doesn’t attract much attraction from the outside, Annenkirche is an Evangelical Lutheran church with a very peculiar history. After serving as a movie theater during Soviet times and as a club in the early 1990s, the church was heavily damaged by a fire in 2002 that left the interior of the building virtually destroyed. Although the exterior was subsequently renovated, the interior was left almost completely untouched, stoically revealing the scars of the flames. Nowadays, the church offers a rather gloomy spectacle that could easily function as the background of a horror movie or gothic concert. Instead, the venue hosts various art exhibitions, religious concerts, as well as an English-language service every Sunday morning and a Russian one in the afternoon.

Open: Sun., from 9.30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wed. to Sat. from noon to 8 p.m.

Tickets: By donation

Ulitsa Kirochnaya, 8  vk.com/annenkirche

Pushkinskaya 10

Ultra-Cool Art Center

Pushkinskaya 10 can hardly be called a tourist attraction, despite its central location. Unknown even to many locals, this is where St. Petersburg’s unconventional art originated. Born as a squat after city authorities relocated the original inhabitants of the building for renovation work — which never happened, thanks to the economic crisis of the 1990s — Pushkinskaya 10 quickly became a confluence of local artists who did not adhere to the art conventions of the Soviet Union and wanted to be free to pursue their own concepts and ideas. Today, the building preserves that initial ideology — as well as many of the original occupants who found in Pushkinskaya 10 a home, a studio, and a venue for their art. Among the main attractions of the art center is the studio of Kolya Vasin, a huge Beatles fan; inside, you will find a collection of souvenirs, gadgets, and an exhaustive discography of the Liverpool band. But be aware, access to the studio might depend on your Beatles knowledge, which may be tested on the spot, depending on Vasin’s mood. A perfect occasion to visit Pushkinskaya 10 this summer would be the last Saturday of June, when the center will celebrate its anniversary with concerts and special exhibitions.

Open: Wed. to Sun., 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Ticket: Free 

Pushkinskaya Ulitsa, 10  p-10.ru

Pushkinskaya 10

Pigsnout

Edgy Gallery on the Embankment

Pigsnout is one of the most ironic galleries in the city. Located just on the embankment of the Fontanka River, on the top floor of an anonymous-looking building, this art gallery exhibits a colorful and unconventional collection of paintings and artifacts aimed at debunking taboos and satirizing political figures and symbols; lovers of tradition and good manners would do best to avoid it. The gallery hosts a mix of contemporary, narrative, ironic, art-brut and naive art, and features edgy portraits of historical and political figures such as Karl Marx, Peter the Great, Lenin, Trotsky, and even Putin. Pigsnout also sells a wide variety of souvenirs, pictures and T-shirts based on the artwork on display.

Open: Wed. to Fri. from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Sat. and Sun. from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Tickets: Free 

Naberezhnaya Reki Fontanki, 5  facebook.com/PIG.SNOUT.art.gallery.Saint.Petersburg

FFTN

A Small Gallery That’s Full of Heart

St. Petersburg is full of all sorts of art galleries, and if there is one thing they all have in common, it is their enormous collections. FFTN, on the other hand, is the smallest art gallery in the city and one of the rare places where you can give the exhibited artwork all the time it deserves. Favoring quality over quantity, the gallery (which is described by its curators as a place for creative experiments) gathers in its 4 1/2 square meters some excellent exhibitions which are constantly being updated; they will certainly not leave you indifferent. The gallery is managed by artist Ilya Grishaev and art curator Irina Aksenova, and since opening in 2017 it has become a much-desired venue for local and international artists. The gallery hosts a new exhibition every two weeks, and at the discretion of the artist you can either visit it on your own by getting in touch with the curators, pick up the key at a designed location, or visit it in the presence of the artist.

Open: Open at the discretion of the artist; book your appointment on Facebook

Tickets: Free  facebook.com/FFTN-1614665878825861

FFTN

Street Art Museum

Get a Handle on Graffiti

It’s a running joke among the staff of the museum that St. Petersburg, a city with virtually no graffiti, was a natural location to open the first museum in the world entirely dedicated to street art. Located in one of St. Petersburg’s industrial areas far from the city center, the museum is where Andrei Zaitsev, son of the owner of the factory complex, used to party with his friends and decorate the gray facades of the factories with graffiti. Today, Zaitsev is the director at the museum and his project has been gaining fame. Since opening in 2014, the museum has transformed from a street art museum into a place that now exhibits a mixture of contemporary, public and street art, and attracts artists from all over the world. This summer, the spot will be hosting a special exhibition dedicated to the theme of football, as well as an audiovisual festival in June and two rap festivals in August.

Open: Tours of the permanent exhibition: Sat. 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. and Sun. at noon (in English), 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Tickets: 350 rubles; 250 rubles for students 

Shosse Revolyutsii, 84  streetartmuseum.ru

Read more