Maria Baibakova is the Director and Chief Curator of Baibakov Art Projects which is housed in the Red October building close to the Kremlin. WWD gives here a quick profile as Zhukova’s rival:
Baibakova is quick to note the differences between her space and Zhukova’s Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture, which opened across town last year. “Mine is very much a project space. I’m a curator and an art historian. Dasha is more of a producer — much more hands-off,” she says, adding the two are acquaintances and grew up “in the same sphere of friends.”
The self-possessed Baibakova says she always had art on the brain, though her early years left little room for creativity. As a very small child growing up under Communism, Baibakova remembers standing in the seemingly interminable bread lines. “All the parents left their kids to wait while they ran errands,” she says, recalling her first bite of banana. “The first time my father brought one home, I ate it so slowly. I still think of bananas as a luxury,” she says.
She moved to America when she was 10, a few years after the Soviet Union fell, and it was there she began her artistic pursuits. She attended Barnard while spending her spare time helping run the Mike Weiss Gallery in New York’s Chelsea. After getting her master’s degree at the Courtauld, she began curating the private collection of her father Oleg Baibakov, a renowned financial whiz and former executive of the mining company Norilsk Nickel, one of Russia’s largest producers of nickel and palladium.
Baibakova Makes Her Mark in the Art World (Women’s Wear Daily)