AGA TALKS second discussion

Second discussion of the project of the Association of Galleries AGA TALKS “Museum of the future: what existing art is to remain in state Russian museums?” was held on April 14.

You can watch the discussion on the Winzavod Youtube channel.


• Moderator: Sergey Popov - gallery owner, art critic, curator, specialist in Russian contemporary art, has been heading the pop / off / art
gallery for over 15 years.
Maria Bukova - Director of the Museum Center "Peace Square" (Krasnoyarsk), member of the Council for Culture and Art under the President of the Russian Federation.
Nailya Allakhverdieva - Head of the PERMM Museum of Contemporary Art, curator, laureate Sergei Kuryokhin Award.
Nikita Korytin - director of the Yekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts, head of the Hermitage-Ural Center.
Pierre Brochet - President of the National Gallery of the Komi Republic, collector.

Participants discussed:

  • How the procurement system in museums works today and what will happen next;
  • How to estimate the cost of a contemporary work of art when organizing museum purchases.

Speakers' answers to audience questions:

Maria Bukova

Do state museums have or should have advisers on contemporary art? Who should it be? What other positions may appear in connection with the development of contemporary art in the state? museums?

At the moment, there are no such advisers, simply because there are not many state museums in the country that collect contemporary art. Those who do this usually work independently: the proposal is made, for example, by the curator, who is most deeply immersed in the work of one or another author and / or the composition of the museum's collection - and working specifically for the meaningful development of the collection. There is also a practice when a staff art critic of an art museum “pumps” himself as an expert - and gets, for example, “crusts” in a licensed expert organization (public or private). If we talk about external advisers to the museum, their status is not very clear - is this an invited member of the fund-purchasing commission, working on a volunteer basis? Or is it a member of the Museum's Board of Trustees / Public Council? In any case, the emergence of a chance for discussion, dialogue with a specialist working in a broader context is an interesting opportunity: museums look far ahead in terms of the humanitarian value of a work and much less often in terms of increasing its economic value; this is where other optics come in handy.

Can a state museum today acquire a piece of contemporary art that is radical in the eyes of the general public? If so, how can museums avoid criticism from this public for such acquisitions?

With all my desire to say "Yes," I would rather say "no" (We do not take into account the "branch" of Monastyrsky, it is rather an exception to the rule, once again confirming it). Most museums do not have enough free funds (off-budget - that is, the money they earn and can use for the needs of the museum at their discretion) to buy something really radical and worthwhile. In most cases, no money is allocated from the budget for the purchase of works. # Nbsp;
If you still imagine that it is easy to do, then all you have to do is work tediously and methodically with the public - through expert comments, an educational program around acquisitions, and that's it.

Nailya Alakhverdiyeva

Where can I find out the budgets of state museums for the purchase?

I can’t say anything about how things are in other museums, but we have , in the Museum of Contemporary Art PERMM, there is no budget for purchases - this is decided on a case-by-case basis. A museum can buy something from an artist if it has extra-budgetary funds, but the budget itself is not announced anywhere.

Nikita Korytin

How do state museums work with collectors today and do they work at all?

Without a collector's community, the normal operation of a museum is now simply unthinkable. The visitor knows the museum primarily as an exhibition area, therefore, even if we only talk about this part of our work, then, for example, interacting with a private collection is much easier than with another museum.
Firstly, all museums are much more strict about the rules of transportation, packaging, and insurance. There are a lot of nuances here, and museums on both sides always take measures that may sometimes seem like overkill. With a collector, you can often agree on comfortable, in terms of costs, conditions for the carriage of items (and absolutely not necessarily less safe), on more restrained conditions for insuring items. Further, the collector can gladly take on part of the costs of the project, since the exhibition in the museum, in a sense, improves the provenance of his objects and adds publicity to the collection. The collector is easier on his feet, in museums there are often situations that the items in demand have a complex schedule - an exhibition, a "rest", an inspection of a restorer, a return to the permanent exhibition, and so on, and a private collection is burdened with these difficulties much less, and it becomes much easier to plan a project ... A collector is always a person with an active attitude, interested, motivated, who does not need to be explained the public benefit of the project - he understands everything at once and feels satisfaction that his collection is useful. Therefore, joint work in a museum for both parties is always a win-win, and almost no complex complex project - a large thematic or monographic exhibition - is now complete without the participation of private collections.
In addition, if you are a museum researcher, you must know your material and the full range of sources, be a visitor and strive to be the center of knowledge about the subject. Private collections are replenished much more mobile, collectors and gallery owners are at the very front of events in their immediate midst. Museums are, on average, an order of magnitude more conservative in recruitment and are replenished with a significant delay in comparison with private owners, since the museum assumes the obligation of "eternal" preservation of the item. Therefore, the most important way of interaction between the collector and the museum lies in the field of philanthropy.The overwhelming majority of museums in the world (and some in Russia) were formed as a result of a charitable gesture of a donor collector. At some point, it becomes clear to the collector that the value of the collected material, studied, organized, selected through his experience and resources, deserves to be preserved at all costs, avoiding sales, loss or other cataclysms. This is only possible in a museum. And this does not happen as rarely as it might seem.

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