Hermitage 20/21 Campaign: Contemporary Art
in the Hermitage New Wing
A determined campaign to bring contemporary art and its admirers into the Hermitage Museum is spearheaded by the new 'Hermitage 20/21' project. Galleries of modern and contemporary art will be a feature of the new museum wing in the magnificent General Staff Building, which faces the Winter Palace across Palace Square. The project is scheduled for completion in 2014 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the museum's foundation.
The contemporary section of the new museum has already come to life with newly refurbished galleries and a series of challenging exhibitions. This is not just a matter of new displays, but the opening of a new page in the history of the museum and the city of St Petersburg. The aim is to make art accessible to all, closer to ordinary people, not boring and a pleasurable experience - in other words to attract a new generation of St Petersburgers into the museum. The exhibitions will include contemporary paintings, sculpture and graphic art, video and other new media. It is also intended that the new space be used to promote contemporary music and cutting edge films.
Before the 21st century came along, art was studied and presented in the Hermitage in terms of its historical significance, a chronology of changing styles and techniques. Contemporary art, the history of which is being created today, will be studied in terms of philosophy. Within the 'Hermitage 20/21' project we hope to develop a new philosophical approach to understanding art. The success of this approach will require the accurate identification of what is important in the new art and total flexibility over the manner in which it is presented to the public. These are two key features of the campaign.
The new philosophical approach builds on the Hermitage's important decision that it will attempt to form a collection of 20th and 21st century art. The museum already owns some of the great icons of the 20th century – Matisse, Picasso, Kandinsky, Malevich - but it does not have a representative collection. However, its exceptional position as an universal museum of international art gives it more scope than any other to bridge this gap. The museum expects to rely very heavily on loans since great works rarely come on the market and are hotly competed for when they do.
A new curator of contemporary art, Dr. Dimitri Ozerkov, was appointed earlier this year and the special advisor on the campaign based in London is Mr. Michel Strauss, formerly head of Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art Department. The UK Friends of the Hermitage have responsibility for coordinating the campaign outside Russia. We welcome your thoughts on who we might approach to take this project forward. Not only are we looking for collectors and artists who would like to support our goal by providing donations, but also individuals, companies and foundations that share our vision and would like to help make the 'Hermitage 20/21'campaign a success.
Artists Who Have Recently Donated Works to the Hermitage
Recent Exhibitions of Contemporary Art at the Hermitage
1992 Bernard Buffet