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April 19 2014

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Blasblog: From Russia With…Public Art

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“Welcome to my bar mitzvah!” teased Dasha Zhukova, the London-based, Moscow-born new art world wheeler-
and-dealer, as a who’s who contingent of Euro friends and Muscovite society boarded an all-glass boat on the Moskva River. While there were similarities between this journey and a young Jewish person’s coming-of-age celebration—Madonna hits blasting from a DJ booth and the fluorescent lighting, both of which still seem de rigueur in Moscow, spring to mind—this shindig was more impressive than a bunch of 13-year-olds getting souped up on cotton candy and the Torah. The boat trip was Zhukova’s swanky way to show off her newest art project. After renting some commercial screen space in Moscow’s city center for a month, she will be showing four video art installation pieces, one a week, on a giant projection screen on the side of the Mosenergo building, a nineteenth-century power station overlooking the Moskva. (Another difference between this and your average temple ceremony was the outpouring of booze.) “What a great way to put art in everyone’s life,” said Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci, adding that the snow that fell afterward was the perfect final flourish. “And I think that it’s fantastic for Moscow. Now we need to do something closer to where I live.” Though she’s the major force behind it, Zhukova doesn’t take all the credit for the project. “I was excited about the idea, but it wasn’t initially mine,” she explained. “I really have to credit Mollie [Dent-Brocklehurst] with the concept of renting the space and doing something on this scale,” Zhukova said of the director of the Gagosian Gallery in London, who often collaborates with her. Dent-Brocklehurst also helped organize the four pieces—Yang Fudong’s Lock Again, Sarah Morris’ Los Angeles, AES+F’s Last Riot, and Dziga Vertov’s Man With a Movie Camera—but was humble about Zhukova’s accolades. “She’s very sweet to share the glory with me, but let’s wait to see what the press says tomorrow,” she smiled. “If it’s good, I’ll take it. But if they don’t get it, it’s all Dasha’s!”

 

 

Photo: Derek Blasberg

 

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