The International Herald Tribune does a little travel piece on the island across from the Kremlin that has become Moscow’s nightlife and arts district:
It is being called Moscow’s answer to New York’s Tribeca or London’s Docklands[….] The former Krasny Oktyabr, or Red October, chocolate factory complex has been transformed into art and photo galleries, designers’ studios, television and Web media headquarters, bars and cafes, and the oligarch-funded Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design. […]
Guta Development, a Moscow company, was planning to turn the Red October district into loft apartments before the global financial crisis hit. Guta started renting out the spaces instead.Continue Reading
Art Moscow drew 25,000 visitors over five days and reportedly had $6 million in sales according to Russian news site, RT.com:
Now that the Russian art market has become quite stable, prices are rising very quickly. But if you have a good eye, you can still make a good investment. Thanks to its growing popularity in Russia and overseas, the latest edition of “Art Moscow” at the Central House of Artists went global. It has seen a number of prominent international art dealers attending the far-reaching exhibition this year. […]
Among the highest-grossing items presented by the Barbarian Art Gallery – whose primary objective is to provide an international platform for emerging and mid-carrier artists from Russia and post-Soviet countries– were three giant creations by Ukrainian artist Oksana Mas.Weighing 250 kilos each and made from no less than 2,500 Easter eggs, painted differently, all the three “egg spheres” went to one eager Russian client on the opening day of the art fair for $300,000 – thus proving the undeniable efficiency of the exhibition from a commercial standpoint.
Art Shovels Up Money in Moscow (RT.com)
Bloomberg does a detailed look at Russian spending habits in the new age of austerity. Where there were 74 billionaires in Moscow last year, there are now only 27. And though Anastasai Ustinova finds many examples of the rich still living richly–like sold out African safaris at $150,000 each–the consumption ethic has been replaced by a sober sense of patriotism.
Many oligarchs are seeking state protection from Western creditors and don’t want to irritate the Kremlin with outlandish behavior at a time when the government has declared social spending its top priority, Dobrovinsky said.
“The private jets are still there, but the names of the owners have been scratched off,” said Dobrovinsky.
President Dmitry Medvedev spelled it out last month, saying the wealthiest Russians need to focus more on their businesses and less on personal spending to help the country weather the worst economic crisis in a decade.
“People became very wealthy in a very short time,” Medvedev, 43, a lawyer by training, said in a March 15 television interview. “Now it’s time to repay debts, moral debts, because this crisis is a test of maturity.”
The question remains, where does art fit into the new mood. There’s still a lot of Russian art and works of art that has not been brought back to the motherland after a century’s diaspora.
Our new favorite source to quote from is The Moscow Times. They went to Sotheby’s traveling exhibition of works from their upcoming New York sales of Russian and Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary art:
The bulk of the show is dedicated to 11 Russian paintings from the 19th and early 20th century. Chief among them are two works by the “Russian Turner” Ivan Aivazovsky, a historical painting by symbolist Mikhail Nesterov and an impressionistic landscape by official Soviet painter Isaak Brodsky. This last was something of a find. “The collector wanted to sell,” explained Sotheby’s Russian specialist Jo Vickery, “because for some reason he decided it might be a Monet. When we received a photograph, we saw immediately it was a Brodsky — a charming, captivating work, very famous, but nobody knew where it was.”
Western modern and contemporary art is represented, among others, by two Andy Warhol prints and an Edvard Munch painting of moored boats, but far and away the highlight is Alberto Giacometti’s bronze sculpture “Cat,” which would grace just about any museum the world over. [ . . . ]
There are smaller gems to be found in the Russian contemporary section as well. In particular, Sots Art co-founder Alexander Kosopalov’s “Lenin Coca-Cola” is a classic example of the genre where unofficial artists repeated Soviet slogans and images to absurdity or juxtaposed them with Pop Art symbols; here the revolutionary leader is depicted as if on a soft-drink advertisement with a “signature” as if he had endorsed it.
Sotheby’s One-Day Show Has Much to Marvel At (The Moscow Times)