Directors of Russia’s biggest museums and art fairs resign en masse


Leading leaders of Russian arts and cultural institutions have resigned from their posts en masse following the country’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

Most of the statements from these conservatives and managers suggest the decision to leave was voluntary, but there is evidence to suggest many were expelled by colleagues and bosses due to their perceived lack of support for President Vladimir Putin’s war. .

In one post on instagramlongtime deputy director of the Pushkin Museum Vladimir Opredelenov praised the digital development of the museum and other achievements during his career. He added: “My attitude to current world events does not coincide with that of my colleagues from the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. I hope that will change in the near future, but with things as they are, I am forced to leave my beloved museum.

Vladimir Opredelenov, former deputy director of the Pushkin National Museum of Fine Arts, Russia.

Meanwhile, the artistic director of the VAC Foundation in Moscow, Francesco Manacorda, said he resigned because of the conflict in Ukraine, according to ART news.

“Unfortunately, current events have significantly changed working and personal conditions, which is why I have come to the conclusion that I will not be able to continue working with the same dedication that I could be proud of,” Manacorda told the service. of Russian press TASS according to ART news. “My decision was given to me with great difficulty and repentance.”

VAC Foundation artistic director Francesco Manacorda talks to the press during the opening of the GES-2 contemporary art center on the banks of the Moskva River in Moscow on December 3, 2021. (Photo by DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Former artistic director of the VAC Francesco Manacorda Foundation. Photo by DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images.

The VAC Foundation operates two spaces, in Venice and Moscow. The latter, called GES-2, is a cultural center opened in 2020 and financed by Leonid Mikhelson, close to the Kremlin and managing director of Novatek, the largest private gas group in Russia.

Mikhelson has funded exhibitions in the Western art world for over a decade, including exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, the New Museum in New York, and the Tate in London.

Prior to joining the VAC Foundation in 2017, Manacorda was Artistic Director of Tate Liverpool and co-curator of the 2016 Liverpool Biennale. the biennial’s New Zealand pavilion.

Manacorda has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Former Cosmoscow Artistic Director Simon Rees attends the 24th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF 2021).  (Photo by Artyom GeodakyanTASS via Getty Images)

Former Cosmoscow Artistic Director Simon Rees at the 24th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Photo by Artyom GeodakyanTASS via Getty Images.

Simon Rees, artistic director of the Cosmoscow art fair, is also cutting ties with his institution. “Putin threw a stone into the pond around October and the ripples have been moving outward ever since,” he said. writes on his Facebook page February 25. “Europeans have experienced a dramatic rise in energy and fuels which has had a negative impact on household income, particularly difficult in low-income populations in former communist states. After the Fukushima disaster, a number of EU states have dismantled nuclear power and are therefore also dependent on Russian gas and oil: the supply could be completely cut off while it is still winter. »

A few days later, the fair published its own Facebook Statement“Over the past week, we have all become aware of the fragility of our world. The events of the past few days are causing great shock and shock, the unfolding human and political tragedy concerns absolutely everyone.

Rees confirmed to Artnet News that he resigned on February 24. He also noted that he now works “in the trenches of communication” on behalf of the Lithuanian Contemporary Art Center in Vilnius and that he lives in Vienna, where he was relocating and hosting refugees from Ukraine.

Anonymous graffiti in Vilnius quoting the words of Ukrainian Snake Island soldiers,

Anonymous graffiti in Vilnius quoting the words of Ukrainian Snake Island soldiers, “Russian battleship, fuck you.” Courtesy of CAC Vilnius.

“Simon has been a strong contributor to our international communications with the global art world,” Cosmoscow representative Kristna Vronskaya told Artnet News in an email. “We had rich plans together and deeply regret that he decided to leave. Culture is a unifying power and we hope Russian culture will remain a part of the world.

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