“Frankly, these days, without a theory to go with it, I can’t see a painting,” – noted Tom Wolfe in his essay on contemporary art “The Painted Word.” The list of Art Galleries in Moscow we will give you here includes exclusively the ones you can enter with no theoretical knowledge to back you up and still feel secure. Bear in mind our must-see tips, one per art space, and a nearby coffee shop to accompany your art meal. To find out about Moscow contemporary art spaces that require a few more enzymes to be digested, click here.
~ 2.5 hours
(Main building + 19th and 20th Century European and American Art building)
In a walking distance from Kremlin and just opposite Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts monumental complex houses one of the largest Ancient Egyptian and Greek Art collection. Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collection, specifically of French Art, is startling. Pay attention to the glass ceiling of the main building. Another cornerstone is a copy of Michelangelo’s David on the first floor, but this one is virtually unmissable.
Must-see: “Prisoners Exercising” by Vincent Van Gogh, on view at 19th and 20th Century European and American Art building in Gallery 11. The artwork was recreated in a motion picture “Clockwork Orange” directed by Stanley Kubrick. Audio guides in a number of languages including English are available on www.izi.travel and in izi.TRAVEL app. Another option is to download Pushkin State Museum Guide app.
- Hours: Tue – Wed, Fri – Sun 11 am – 8 pm, Thu 11 am – 9 pm, Mon closed (Ticket sales stop one hour before closing time)
- Address: Volkhonka St., 12 (Main) and 14 (19th and 20th Century European and American Art)
- Price: 600 RUB (~$10) for a combined ticket (main building + 19th and 20th Century European and American Art building). Valid for 2 days.
Grab a coffee @ Double B
Volkhonka St, 9/1
~ 2.5 hours
In The State Tretyakov Gallery located in proximity to Muzeon Park of Arts, you will find an extensive collection of Russian Art of the 11th – early 20th century including icons. Most of the masterpieces on view are reflected in Russian literature, cinema, and animation, and a few even cut across Russian everyday life on candy wrappers*. The historic building has housed the collection since 1856.
*You can find waffle chocolate candies with “Morning in a Pine Forest” by Ivan Shishkin and Konstantin Savitskiy on the wrapper in any Azbuka Vkusa supermarket.
Must-see: “The Appearance of Christ Before the People” by Alexander Ivanov, on view at the Main building in Gallery 10. It took Ivanov 20 years to create this chef-d’œuvre. No English audio guides are currently available for the main building (some websites mistakenly recommend an app with the English-speaking audio guide that proves to be in Russian only. Don’t waste your time). But the gallery is making up of this with two games: Landscape. The Tretyakov Gallery Art Construction Kit app and Still Life. The Tretyakov Gallery Art Construction Kit.
- Hours: Tue, Wed, Sun 10 am – 6 pm, Thu – Sat 10 am – 9 pm, Mon closed (Ticket sales stop one hour before closing time)
- Address: Lavrushinskiy Per., 10
- Price: 500 RUB (~$8.5)
Grab a coffee @Viani
Bolshoy Tolmachevskiy Per., 4/1
MUSEUM OF RUSSIAN IMPRESSIONISM
~ 1.5 hours
A rather remote location makes The Museum of Russian Impressionism a rare touristic destination. Not far from landmark White Square Office Center, the museum opened in a building of a former Bolshevik chocolate factory quite recently, in 2016, and thus, is a popular destination for locals. A redesigned and completely renovated building with conserved historical exterior houses a private collection of Russian Impressionism on permanent view and temporary exhibitions of seldom exposed masterpieces, mainly from private collections as well.
Must-see: “Dinamo Skating Rink” by Pyotr Konchalovsky, on view on -1 floor. You might have already had such an experience: to see a landscape with Venice gondolas in Venice or sketches of Paris cafés in Paris. But what about a painting of Moscow skating rink in Moscow? Digital 360 ° Tour around the museum is available by this link here. Download Rusimp app to get all the info on the paintings on view in English.
- Hours: Fri – Tue 11 am – 8 pm, Wed, Thu 12 pm – 9 pm (Ticket sales stop 30 min before closing time)
- Address: Leningradskiy Ave, 15/11
- Price: 300 RUB (~$5) for a combined ticket (permanent collection + exhibition)
Grab a coffee @ Nook Coffee & Art
On the top floor of the museum
MULTIMEDIA ART MUSEUM, MOSCOW (MAMM)
~ 2 hours
Founded as Moscow House of Photography, MAMM was intended to showcase Russian photography which it still does: in recent years, visitors of MAMM have seen works by Yevgeniy Khaldey, a photographer famous for his WWII and Nuremberg Trials series, Alexander Rodchenko, one of the founders of constructivism, and many more. Museum’s later shift towards the multimedia approach, however, made it possible for MAMM to develop into a remarkable venue where a multiscreen video exhibition on the legacy of Russian film director Sergei Eisenstein, a pioneer in the theory and practice of montage, can exist side by side with Italian artist Pino Pinelli’s wall installations.
Among most remarkable MAMM exhibits of the first half of 2018, we can list watercolors by contemporary Russian artist Pavel Pepperstein, paintings and photographs by Russian painter and stage designer at the turn of the XIX-XXth centuries Boris Kustodiev, and even objects of Finnish design. Annually MAMM also becomes a showcase for photographs from Pirelli Calendar.
Must-see: Since there is no permanent exposition at MAMM, we can’t recommend any particular piece. However, from our experience, it is crucial not to miss the right turn next to the first staircase. Don’t rush to go upstairs, at least take a brief look at the exhibition space on the first floor. Even though the first floor never houses the most popular exhibition at a given time, that exposition still has a good chance to appeal to you: from graphic works by contemporary French artist Pascal Colrat to photographic examples of Hungarian Avante-garde 1918-1939.
BEAR IN MIND:
The exhibition might also continue on the ground floor. Hence, follow the footprints. To find out what exhibitions will be on view at MAMM on the day of your visit, browse here.
- Hours: Tue – Sun 12 pm – 9 pm, Mon closed
- Address: Ostozhenka St., 16
- Price: 500 RUB (~$8.5) for all exhibitions. Free admission every third Tuesday of the month
Grab a coffee @ West 4
Ostozhenka St., 3/14
THE LUMIERE BROTHERS CENTER OF PHOTOGRAPHY
~ 1.5 hour
Another place to see Russian and especially western photography in Moscow is The Lumiere Brothers Center of Photography. The gallery, modest in sizes, is located in the former chocolate factory “Krasniy Oktyabr” building. It houses photography exhibitions only and supports Russian emerging photographers. Center’s permanent collection predominantly consists of Soviet photography but is rarely on view at the home institution.
The mission of the center is to educate a wider audience. Hence, the gallery showcases a lot of established western photographers. Some of this year’s highlights: Douglas Kirkland’s behind-the-curtain Hollywood, three nudist families throughout years by Jock Sturges, the world of fashion and music by Jean-Marie Périer. A year before, in 2017, attention was geared to a composite exhibition on North Korea. Gamut of photographs and photo collages represented a perpetual attempt of different generations of photographers from different countries to capture the essence of this intriguing country. The results were on view, to compare and contrast, in this very center.
Must-see: Browse around in PhotoBookPoster bookstore, behind the ticket office. A great selection of books on photography, some in English, plus an interesting newsstand with a mixture of international and Russian periodicals on art, culture, and lifestyle.
- Hours: Tue – Fri 12 pm – 9 pm, Sat – Sun 12 pm – 10 pm, Mon closed (Ticket sales stop one hour before closing time)
- Address: Bolotnaya Emb., 3, blvd 1
- Price: 400 RUB (~ $7) in a weekday or 500 RUB (~$8.5) in a weekend for all exhibitions
Grab a coffee @ 1316 Coffee
Bersenevskaya Emb., 6, blvd 3