News Russian Federation

The Art Newspaper Russia hands out its annual art awards, in Sochi-level style

The spectacular event includes 15 dancing Pushkins, the battleship Potemkin, and a provocative Dasha Zhukova-Roman Abramovich love story

The award ceremony's a final sketch by the satirist Yuri Kwiatkowski was a love story about Dasha and Roman

At a spectacular event on 4 April in Moscow’s Manege, The Art Newspaper Russia presented its second annual awards. The minister of culture sent a telegram to welcome the winners who were: for Book of the Year, Russian Artists at the Venice Biennale 1914-2014, edited by Nicolay Molok; Exhibition of the Year, “Natalia Goncharova: Between East and West”, at the Tretyakov Gallery; Museum of the Year, the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow; Restoration of the Year, Alvar Aalto’s modernist library in Vyborg; and Personal Contribution, collectors and patrons Dasha Zhukova and Roman Abramovich.

The balletic, multimedia and musical entertainment included—among much else—15 dancing Pushkins, a gondola and the battleship Potemkin scudding about to a chorus of sailors and a famous boy treble, dancing by the 2008 Olympic gymnastics champion, and a final sketch by the satirist Yuri Kwiatkowski about Dasha and Roman.

This last raised a few eyebrows, those of the Inna Bazhenova, owner of The Art Newspaper Russia included, as it was distinctly saucy and came as just as much of a surprise to her as her 600 guests. Programme notes followed the event for the benefit of the mystified and outraged: “Dasha Zhukova is trying to catch the eye of Roman and distract him from Chelsea Football Club affairs. Disappointed, she withdraws to read an issue of The Art Newspaper Russia. When Roman finally wins the football cup for her, she ignores the victory. To gain her back, Roman hires a group of 007 agents to hunt for the best contemporary works of art across the globe. Eventually, the couple become founders of the Garage Center for Contemporary Arts. Thus, the power of art symbolically initiates the couple’s reunion and rekindles their love.” All it lacked was a glorious operatic duet at the end.

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