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    Personnel honor // Multimedia Art Museum celebrates its 25th anniversary

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    As part of the Photobiennale 2022, with the support of MTS, the Multimedia Art Museum shows three expositions dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the museum itself. Behind their common name – MAMM25 – there are three dimensions that reflect the past and present, achievements and everyday life of one of the most visited museums in Moscow. Here is a chronicle of the exhibitions shown – of course, not all, because there were more than 2,500 of them, but the most important and bright, with details of the vernissages (there are many world stars among the exhibited artists) and details of the exposition. Here is a look at the museum of its visitors – a selection of the best shots from social networks, and a view of the museum curator at the visitors – portraits taken by Svetlana Roslova will give odds to many professionals. About the anniversary museum — Igor Grebelnikov.

    These exhibitions, presumably, are a prelude to the main celebrations: house of photography, MDF) in November 1996, after the resounding success of the first “Photobiennale-96” last spring, organized by Olga Sviblova. About 90 (!) exhibitions then opened in a month, covering, it seemed, all the diversity of Russian and world photography, as well as contemporary art in its guise. Moscow has not yet known such expanse of exhibitions and excitement of the public, and the city government, convinced of the prospects of the undertaking, did not remain in debt: it founded a new museum. Then he occupied a small space of the former exhibition hall on Ostozhenka, and in 2010 a completely new building of seven floors with more than 2.5 thousand square meters appeared on the same place. m of exhibition space. But regardless of the square meters and volumes of municipal funding, the MDF, and then MAMM, lived such an energetic and unlike other metropolitan and federal museums life that even in a relatively brief retelling, which is one of the sections of the anniversary exhibition, these 25 years will seem like an epoch. Especially now.

    Perhaps that not a single Russian museum, if it thinks to report on a quarter of a century of its life, will be able to present it so vividly, richly, fascinatingly, brightly – as some kind of endless holiday , which mixed art, famous and young artists, a motley audience. Moreover, the MAMM25 exhibition achieves the effect of being present in that era, and it comes out without a hint of nostalgia. Here are the chic posters of the first “Photobiennale” and “Fashion and Style in Photography” festivals (another biennale that has been held since 1999). Neither then, nor later, our museums could afford such posters, even if only because one of them has a facial portrait of a lady in a hat smoking a cigarette through a veil (an absolute masterpiece of William Klein, who left his autograph on the poster). Or another poster – the model in the picture of Jeanloup Sieff, bending her bare bottom in front of the lens, or another shot of him, focused on the garters of a tight corset. Not to mention the overtly sexual images of Helmut Newton. Yes, such pictures are designed to attract and maybe even tempt the public, but at the same time, how are they not a reflection of the same girl power, the phenomenon of “girl power”, which turned out to be at the forefront of feminism and, accordingly, contemporary art by the beginning of the 2000s. The latter, by the way, has also significantly increased at Moscow exhibitions since the very first Photobiennale, where the metropolitan public first saw the works of Cindy Sherman, Jeff Wall, Christian Boltanski, Sophie Kall – and further, as they say, according to the list: both walls of the passage to the exhibition MAMM25 is densely filled with the names of artists whose exhibitions were held in this museum. There are hundreds of them, ours, foreign, classics, beginners.

    The effect of being present in the 25-year history of MAMM is also achieved by frames enlarged to the size of a wall, as if returning the viewer to those great exhibitions of great artists which one can now only dream of. Here is the hall of the exposition of Joseph Kossuth, flickering with neon phrases, and here is the vigorous classic of conceptualism itself. Or the art of “arte povera”, shown for the first time in Moscow on such a scale, using the example of the main artists of this direction, starting from the early works of the late 60s: thanks to a huge panoramic picture, it’s as if you are again next to Mario Merz’s igloo – an image of the simplest inhabited dwelling, if not to say lost paradise. And then you feel the aroma of dried bay leaves, from the huge briquettes of which the walls were laid out at that exhibition. This installation by Giuseppe Pennone just sharpened the viewer’s perception, shifting the focus from the visual to the olfactory.

    The portraits of the artists themselves, the main characters of the holiday, are also part of the story: Rebecca Horn explains the meaning with her fingers their mysterious mechanisms of branches and bird feathers, opening like fans; the Frenchwoman Orlan poses against the backdrop of her portrait, created either with the help of Photoshop or with the participation of a plastic surgeon; Shirin Neshat presents his film “Women Without Men”.

    Now in the professional community there is only talk: how to attract the viewer to the museum? How to keep him there? How should he behave there? Can you sit on the floor? What about lying down? Is it possible to come with a dog? The exposition “#MAMMpeople” is just about this – at the Multimedia Art Museum, the viewer can do a lot. Here are collected pictures that visitors publish on the social networks of the museum. Assembled in such a way that there is a feeling that their authors are quite artists themselves, even if they are deftly posing, repeating the plots of photographs and objects against which they are filmed, or even “complementing” the author’s intention of the exhibited works with their expressive presence. And also – hugging, kissing, stretching out in poses for “stories”, posing in the manner of models from glossy magazines … In a word, they do not feel a special distance between themselves and art; in its own way, and this is also an achievement that puts MAMM in the category of extraordinary museums (there are also visitors with dogs in the pictures). photographs of a museum curator who worked at MAMM for eight years (she died last year due to complications from covid), during which she began writing the popular blog Exhibition People. In this story, it is also noteworthy that the museum caretaker is not an employee dozing on a chair, but a “person with a camera”: Roslova did not just secretly take pictures of visitors, but often talked with them, talked about exhibitions, chose colorful, sympathetic characters who were ready to pose for the sake of a spectacular shot, accompanied her pictures with stories about who was in them and why they got into the lens. She had an art education, but also an eye, a taste, a will to create. Her portraits of visitors are miraculously good: they have a sense of time, freedom and that very beauty in the eyes of the beholder, under whose supervision, in fact, the viewer meets art. We also no longer have other museums with such caretakers.

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