Collector Shalva Breus turns Constructivist cinema into Moscow art space

Soviet-era unofficial artists and videos are on the centre’s agenda


Shalva Breus, the Russian philanthropist, businessman, collector and publisher of the magazine ArtChronika, was due to open a contemporary art museum in Moscow’s historic Udarnik Cinema on 26 October, as we went to press.

Breus intends to preserve the architectural integrity of the building, a Constructivist landmark near the Kremlin, while adapting it to show temporary exhibitions and works from his collection. He owns examples of unofficial art from the Soviet era, including works by Erik Bulatov, Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid, among others. Breus would also like to show video pieces, he says, and works owned by other private collectors.

The ArtChronika Cultural Foundation, which is led by Breus, has signed a 49-year lease with the State for the use of the 4,000 sq. m space, half of which is already divided into three halls that can be used for exhibitions, ArtChronika reports. The centre’s programme, which is called Project Udarnik, is going ahead while the building undergoes restoration. The cost of the project has not been announced.

Breus, who served in the mid-1990s as the deputy governor of the Siberian region of Krasnoyarsk Krai, made his fortune in paper and pulp. He is the founder and sponsor of the annual Kandinsky Prize, which awards €40,000 to the project of the year and €10,000 to a young artist. Works by this year’s nominees were due to go on show in the former cinema at the end of October (until 16 December).

The building was built by the architect Boris Iofan in 1931. It was used as a casino in the 2000s and had been closed since 2010.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Collector turns Constructivist cinema into Moscow art space'