Appointments Russian Federation

Gorky Park director appointed head of Moscow's culture department

Sergei Kapkov has transformed the park, where the Garage Center for Contemporary Art is due to move

Sergei Kapkov in front of an old Soviet amusement ride in Gorky Park

Moscow. Sergei Kapkov, who was appointed last spring as the director of the iconic Stalin-era Gorky Park and transformed it, within months, from a symbol of post-Soviet decline into a trendy venue for nature and public art—thanks to funding from billionaire Roman Abramovich—has been appointed head of Moscow's culture department. Kapkov replaces Sergei Khudyakov, who has directed the department since 2001.

As part of Kapkov’s transformation of Gorky Park, the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, the non-profit art space run by Abramovich’s partner Dasha Zhukova, is in the process of moving into a 1920s agricultural fair pavilion on the grounds. The Garage has already organised “Necessary Art”, one of the special projects of the Fourth Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (until 4 December), in the park.

Inspired by the work of the Russian Constructivist pioneer Vladimir Tatlin, 11 contemporary Russian artists have been commissioned to create public works of art for display in the park. Kapkov has said transforming public spaces is one of his goals.

Urban planning in Moscow is being overhauled under the city's mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, who replaced Yuri Luzhkov last year. Sobyanin says he wants to make Moscow’s parks “the very best”. The city is due to allocate over Rb15bn (around $500m) for their improvement over five years.

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