Red Garden on Red Square
After decades of being a vast empty space during the Soviet period, Red Square is beginning to reassume its historical appearance and function as a busy space filled with people, trade, celebrations, official proclamations, activities, food, and drink. Two weeks ago it was covered with books, authors, readings, music, and thousands of people. Starting this week until the end of August, it will be the site of a "public art" exhibition. The shopping arcade GUM, the outdoor festival Arkhstoyanie, and the company INTEKO have joined up to create a garden of sculpture along GUM. Among the artists are Nikolai Polissky, Vasilisa Prokopchuk and Aristarkh Chernyshev. Absolutely free and open for viewing 24/7 every day of the week.
Moscow Urban Fest in Zaryadye Park
Every year the Moscow Urban Fest holds a big event in Zaryadye Park, and this year is no exception, in spite of it all. The topic this time is Re: City - Living in a New Era, with four main sections for presentations, discussion and contemplation. On Saturday the topics are Belonging and Plasticity; on Sunday you can learn about Architecture of the Future and Green City. If you are interested but worried that your Russian isn't up to it, don't fret: almost all the presenters are English speakers, most from the U.S. They include Beatriz Colomina from Princeton, who has written on sexualtiy and space, among other topics; Mark Antony Wigley, Dean of the Columbia University Graduate School on Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Reza Negarestani, an Iranian philospher and writer; Monica L. Smith, who is studying cities at the Anthropology Dept. of UCLA; Aubrey de Grey, a biomedical gerontologist; Martha Schwarts, a landscape architect who is a professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design; Bob Hendrikx, an architect and biodesigner; and Alexander Grovs, who works at the intersection of design and visual arts. If that sounds as fascinating to you as it does to us, head over to the park this weekend. Although there is an English page, most of the information about the fest is in Russian here.
Chuck Close's first solo show in Moscow
For the first time the legendary portrait painter Chuck Close has a solo exhibition in Moscow at the Gary Tatintsian Gallery. Close is most famous for his photorealism: a person is photographed and then the image is transferred to an enormous canvas through a grid-based rubric. Colors are painted into each grid box, which the eye blends into other colors and images, turning little boxes of color into a recognizable human face. See these marvelous works from now until Sept. 25. Entrance to the gallery is free of charge. For more information, see the gallery site here.
The most innovative and interesting musical performances this week happen not on the weekend, but next Wednesday evening, which seems like a splendid way to get over the hump.
If you are curious about experimental sound art, the Tsarskaya Bashnya Gallery is hosting a musical performance by Sergei Filatov, a member of the UNESCO association of innovative creative arts and a creator of sound art. He performs on instruments he has made himself, creating “sound sculptures” in quadraphonic sound that aid in musical healing. The 90-minute performance begins at 7 p.m. and is free, but you need to register ahead of time here, where you can also find more information.
If the weather is fine and you love opera, plan on going to the Moskino Museon outdoor theater on Wednesday at the fashionably late hour of 9 p.m. to see the Viennese opera “Tosca.” Filmed in 2019, the opera by Giacomo Puccini with scenography by Nikolai Benois are brilliant in themselves, but spectacular when performed by Anna Netrebko. The performance is a little more than 90 minutes of musical heaven. In Italian with Russian sub-titles. Entrance is 1000 rubles, and tickets can be purchased online here.
This week’s foreign-language movies tend toward retro, with Taxi Driver, Amelie, 2001 Space Odyssey and Dogville playing at various theaters around town all weekend. For German speakers there is the award-winning Persian Lessons. No new movies for kids, either, although the three foreign films being shown are definitely worth seeing twice (or maybe three times): Luca, Soul and Cruella.
Perhaps the best of all the revivals is the 1966 Russian classic by Eldar Ryazanov called Beware of the Car, starring Innokenty Smoktunovsky as a Soviet Robin Hood who steals cars from bad people and gives the money to orphanages. It is playing (in Russian) on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Grand Hall of the Art Theater. For tickets, see the site here.