Night in the (Online) Museum
One of Moscow’s hands-down, favorite yearly events is Night in the Museum, when you get to experience the transgressive thrill of being in a place and time that is usually forbidden, or hearing talks, going on excursions, watching films and theatrical events, and taking master classes in the dark and when the museum ought to be closed.
This year you can do all of the above, only at home and through a screen.
The culture ministry site has all the options from all the museums conveniently in one place here (perhaps inconveniently for some in Russian). Times are shown in the top left corner of each event.
For example, at 2 p.m. you can take a virtual tour of Arbat; at 4 p.m. you might go to Tsaritsyno to learn the language of fans, something I aspire to master.
While there are disadvantages of being online, there are advantages, too, like being able to go to Solovki at 6 p.m. or visit Kizhi at the same time, and then come back to Moscow to go to the Bulgakov Museum at 7 p.m. for a show of “Master and Margarita” as a graphic novel.
Be sure to scroll down and click on the almost 20 pages of events.
At 9 p.m. I plan to take a front row seat at the Museum of Russian Impressionism, which has invited the Ballet Moscow to explore “migration” tonight. Through dance and art, the performers — themselves migrants from all over Russia — will convey the lives of five Russian artists who emigrated. The choreographer is Artyom Ignatyev. The performance will be translated into Russian sign language. You can see it on the museum’s YouTube channel.
Last year director Sergei Loznitsa released a remarkable documentary film: “State Funeral.” It is remarkable in its simplicity: it is a narrative made of film footage shot from March 5 to 9, 1953, chronicling the public announcement of Josef Stalin’s death, his funeral, the minute of silence, and crowds in Red Square coming to see him lying next to Vladimir Lenin in the mausoleum, which overnight had STALIN in large red granite letters under LENIN. Film crews went to ships, factories, the far north to a reindeer herder, the far east to a family at a yurt, and filmed them standing in solemn silence. We do not, of course, see who and what they didn’t film. But the image at the end of a portrait of Stalin in a metal frame, slowly floating, creaking and swaying, over an enormous construction site is unforgettable.
After Stalin and his “cult of personality” was denounced in 1956 and Party leaders arrested and executed, much of the footage was put on a high shelf in the archive and not shown. If you haven’t seen it, you can here this weekend.