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  • Van Weyenbergh Fine Art

Contemporary art the new madness of Russian oligarchs. part 1.

"GES-2", the future center of contemporary art created by Leonid Mikhelson, marks a new stage of sponsorship in Russia, ten years after the creation of the Garage by Roman Abramovich and Dasha Joukova. The tycoon of liquid natural gas and plastics has spent an estimated $ 130 million (more than 117 million euros) to acquire and rebuild an old power plant in the heart of Moscow. The building, to be inaugurated in September 2020, will offer 38,000 square meters of creation. This event is never-seen in a country where the media of power present contemporary art as turpitude imported from the West, where the market of the art has been in hibernation for a decade, and the state museums are reduced to offer the works of the great names of Russian art.

The motivations of Leonid Mikhelson, a man little talkative, fleeing cameras and projectors, remain vague. At age 63, he has assembled a collection estimated at $ 200 million, including works by Kandinsky and Gerhard Richter, but his inclination instead brings him to the ancient art. To find his bearings, he called on the Italian Teresa Mavica, a recognized expert in contemporary art, and joined the services of the famous Italian architect Renzo Piano.

But why combine with a scene that the Kremlin associates with Pussy Riot and Piotr Pavlenski? The first fortune of the country with 27.3 billion dollars (according to Forbes), Leonid Mikhelson, is aware that having a world-renowned museum guarantees a ticket to the most elite business circles. Not in Russia, but in the West and Asia, where most of the gas and plastics produced by Novatek and Sibur originate.

The Garage, ART4, Ekaterina ...

Until now, the "museum of private contemporary art" was synonymous in Russia with "Garage," named after the place of the Abramovich-Zhukov couple. If this institution now has a strong international recognition, the Garage required in 2015 for the new building an investment almost five times lower than the GES-2, or $ 27 million, for a surface seven times smaller. Today, the Garage earns nearly 100,000 additional visitors each year and ranks 7th among Russian museums. A success that still costs between 12 and 15 million per year to its patrons.

end part 1 , to be continued tomorrow 11/26/19 Le journal des arts

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