Including Vs Excluding: A New Achievement in Russian Contemporary Art

Written by Deianira Tolema

The Garage Museum of Contemporary Art of Moscow takes a certain pride in charming, engaging and sometimes disturbing its multicultural audiences with exhibitions that upend cross-cultural notions and stereotypes.

The Museum inaugurated 2016 with “Young Turks,” an exhibition focused on Köken Ergun’s video footage shot in Turkey, Kenya, and Indonesia. That exhibition was followed by a show dedicated to Taryn Simon’s research on the “Stagecraft of Power,” and revolved around the Turkish Olympics, Turkish folklore and poetry.


Urs Fischer at the Garage Museum (June 10 – August 21), Courtesy Garage Museum

On July, 7 the Garage Museum opened “Co-thinkers” to an audience that includes those affected by varied disabilities –people who might ordinarily feel uncomfortable in environments conceived for typical museum visitors.

The show aims to move beyond simple definitions of inclusion to explore how exhibitions can be produced to involve people from all walks of life, as well as disabled people.

Co-thinkers” is an extension of the Garage Museum curators’ desire to reshape the way museums are typically proposed to – and perceived by – the public worldwide.

Cothinkers installation view

Installation view of Co–thinkers, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2016. Courtesy Garage Museum

The Co-thinkers exhibition showcases “non-discriminatory works” by world renowned contemporary artists such as Cecily Brown, Maurizio Cattelan, Antony Gormley, Barbara Kruger, John Miller, Melvin Moti, Rob Pruitt, Neo Rauch, Robert Rauschenberg, Jason Rhoades, Ed Ruscha, Jenny Saville, Cindy Sherman, Elaine Sturtevant, Rosemarie Trockel, and James Turrell.

Co-thinkers was created in collaboration with Elena Fedoseeva, Evgeny Lyapin, Elizaveta Morozova, and Polina Sineva. These “co-thinkers” have offered their contributions to the new museum’s program – the first of many. Each contributor has turned personal experiences with permanent disabilities into meaningful expressions of their inner strength.


Co-thinkers, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2016, Courtesy Garage Museum

The consultants hired by the Garage Museum of Moscow are no ordinary collaborators. Lyapin has won the prestigious Russian Presidential Prize for Talented Youth; Morozova is actively involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and is an expert on autism; Sineva is a screenwriter and certified sign language instructor, and has a degree in deaf education and psychology; Fedoseeva is a nurse and teaches a course on social-cultural rehabilitation for the deaf-blind.

Each consultant, individually and collectively, has already accomplished a great deal in their respective fields. They have long worked tirelessly to leverage their skills to connect to others. For the exhibition, they’ve ensured Co-thinkers would result in an enjoyable and full-spectrum sensory experience enhanced by a combination of interactive multimedia and sculptural stimuli.

The show will run through September 9, 2016.

Cothinkers 5

Installation view of Co–thinkers, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2016. Courtesy Garage Museum


Barbara Kruger Untitled (I thought you were someone else), 2008 Digital print on vinyl, © Barbara Kruger. Courtesy Mary Boone

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