October 19, 2018 - Garage Museum of Contemporary Art - Announcing the international expansion of the Russian Art Archive Network (RAAN)
October 19, 2018

Garage Museum of Contemporary Art

Photo: Anastasia Ivanova. © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.

Announcing the international expansion of the Russian Art Archive Network (RAAN)
A free online tool for contemporary art research

Garage Museum of Contemporary Art
Gorky Park
9/32 Krymsky Val St.
119049 Moscow
Hours: Monday–Sunday 11am–10pm

T +7 495 645 05 20

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Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow is pleased to announce the international expansion of its Russian Art Archive Network (RAAN), Garage's online catalogue of documentary materials related to the history of Russian contemporary art from the collections of Garage and its partner institutions. RAAN is available to the public, free of charge, to browse here in English, and here in Russian.

RAAN is part of Garage's mandate to tell the history of "unofficial" contemporary art under the postwar Soviet regime, and in all the years since then. In the months since its announcement, the RAAN website has grown to include 56,328 entries: videos and photographic materials, books, correspondence, invitations, press releases, artists’ sketches, and other materials from Garage Archive Collection.

Since 2015, when the museum moved to its new Rem Koolhaas-designed home in Gorky Park, the museum has used its Garage Archive Collection as the headquarters for its research, a real-world counterpart to RAAN that serves as a repository for documents and documentation related to recent Russian art history. Among other sources, the collection houses the archives of XL Gallery, Aidan Gallery, Shkola Gallery, L Gallery, Paperworks, TV Gallery, and pop/off/art—and from the archive of collector Leonid Talochkin, the chronicler of unofficial Soviet art of the postwar period.

Untrammeled by physical space, however, RAAN has grown even more quickly than the Garage Archive Collection. Recently, RAAN partnered with Rutgers University to digitize its Moscow Archive of New Art (MANI) housed at the school’s Zimmerli Art Museum. MANI consists of materials collected by Moscow artists, poets, and art theorists to document their work from 1980 to 1982. These include manifestos, art theory writings, photographs, original artworks, and exhibition-related materials.

"Our partnership with the Zimmerli Art Museum represents a major addition to RAAN," Garage's director Anton Belov said in a statement. "Countless students of art history around the world have already used RAAN for their papers, or for their own curiosity, and the addition of MANI enriches our holdings in a crucial period at the eve of glasnost."

In addition to the other MANI documents, RAAN partners will make available to the public over 160 previously unpublished documents on people and events related to the Moscow Conceptualists. The complete four-volume archive of MANI was edited by artists Andrei Monastyrsky, Vadim Zakharov, Viktor Skersis, Elena Elagina, Igor Makarevich, Anatoly Zhigalov and Natalia Abalakova, all of whom, like many other participants of the project, belonged to the Moscow Conceptualist circle.

By Spring 2019, RAAN users will have online access to a collection devoted to philosopher Boris Groys and journalist Natalya Nikitina from the Research Center for East European Studies at the University of Bremen, Germany, consisting of manuscripts, articles, interviews, essays, and other materials related to the lives and works of both writers. The European Art Net (EAN) has also included RAAN into its database, acknowledging its importance in terms of aggregating the previously scattered or hard-to-access information on the history of Russian contemporary art.

In 2019, RAAN will also announce more major expansions following soon to be detailed partnerships with regional museums across Russia.

But RAAN is only one aspect of Garage's efforts to catalogue the history of 20th and 21st century contemporary art in Russia, a story largely untold thanks to Soviet censorship. This emphasis on exploring Russia's past can be seen in other initiatives at the museum, like Field Research, which supports artists, curators, and writers looking to explore lesser known elements of important eras in the development of Russian art history. Last year, Field Research led to the celebrated book and Garage exhibition If Our Soup Can Could Speak, curated by the artist Dmitry Gutov and art critic David Riff in collaboration with Garage curator Anastasia Mityushina, which concerned the fervently anti-modernist Soviet philosopher Mikhail Lifshitz.

On October 26 and 27, the museum will host a conference related to its historical research. The conference, titled "To Which Time Do We Belong? The New Historicity and The Politics of Time," seeks to examine the difference between coincidence and contemporaneity, with a focus on the ideas of thinkers such as Walter Benjamin, Antonio Gramsci, and Karl Polanyi. The conference will be curated by Ilya Budraitskis, Andrey Oleynikov and Snejana Krasteva.

Garage Museum of Contemporary Art
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