MoCA of the Month
The Federal State Cultural Institution “National Centre for Contemporary Arts,” or the NCCA, is a museum, exhibition and research organization, its mission being to promote contemporary Russian art in the context of global creative developments and to initiate and implement contemporary art, architectural and design programs and projects in and outside Russia. The museum opened on August 16 1994 after an initiative of the Russian Ministry of Culture.
Currently, the NCCA is a network organization with branches in major cultural centers of Russia: St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Kaliningrad. In 2011, its North Caucasus branch was established in Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia-Alania. Each branch is a full-fledged Centre for Contemporary Arts, which launches its own creative programs. The parent organization in Moscow is responsible for coordinating and funding their operations. The NCCA is one of Russia’s leading public institution in the field of contemporary art and works in close collaboration with independent experts in the field of contemporary art and audiovisual culture and also with various entities such as museums, research institutions and non-profit-making organizations here and abroad. In 2009, the Russian Ministry of Culture Collegium decided to establish a modern art museum as part of the National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA) on its premises located at 13 Zoologicheskaya Street. To this end, a new group of buildings is being designed for the Centre, which will house a permanent exposition built upon the NCCA collection.
NCCA, Moscow Branch
Exhibitions and Curatorial Projects
The National Centre for Contemporary Arts concerns itself with the development and implementation of exhibition and other art projects. Its staff, composed by experts on contemporary Russian art, initiate and organize exhibitions, forums and festivals of domestic and international contemporary visual art, launch projects in the field of video art, performance and other movements of “Actual Art”, and carry out interdisciplinary cultural programs. The NCCA has organized traveling art shows and exhibed foreign art in Russia as well as Russian art in other countries. Within the scope of its exhibition programs and creative projects the NCCA partners up with many institutions at home and abroad. It holds competitions, carries out thematic programs and runs exchange exhibitions, both Russian and international. The Centre participates in major international forums of contemporary art, such as the Manifesta, the biennales of Venice, Sao Paulo, Istanbul and others. Contemporary art exhibitions organized by the NCCA have been shown in more than 30 cities in Russia and many countries in near and far abroad.
The CollectionRight from the start, the NCCA has been building a collection of contemporary art including works by domestic and some foreign artists of the late 20th and early 21st century. As of today, the collection includes about 3000 works of more than 250 authors and spans trough different techniques: from paintings, drawings, and sculpture, to objects and installations, photographs, books, and multimedia. A number of exhibits date back to the origins of contemporary art; others illustrate the assimilation by Russian nineteen-sixties’ artists of Russian avant-garde traditions as well as global artistic practices. The collection traces the development of phenomena such as Sots Art, Apt Art and Conceptualism, which are important for Russian culture. The bulk of the collection is formed by works of the last few years, which stem from recent concepts and strategies of contemporary art and which owe their appearance to the use of modern technologies. The NCCA holdings are supported by the ministry of culture and by donations from friends and partners: galleries, art institutions, private individuals, collectors and artists. Current acquisitions are routinely displayed at NCCA exhibitions accompanied by booklets; pieces from the Centre’s collection appear from time to time at domestic and international exhibitions. Information about the collection is posted on the NCCA website (www.ncca.ru). Currently, the Centre is editing a printed catalog of its collection, which is be supplemented by new releases in the future. In addition, visitors to the annual International Festival of Contemporary Art Collections can view the most important Russian and foreign public, corporate, and private collections.
Areas of Intervention
Information and Knowledge
The Centre accumulated and disseminates information about the current art scene through a computer database on modern audiovisual art in Russia, the NCCA website, the development of a mediatheque collection, and the establishment of a library of contemporary art. An NCCA history archive is also maintained.
EducationLectures, seminars, conferences and round tables are held with domestic and foreign experts – curators, scholars, museum professionals, scientists as well as artists, architects and designers are regularly invited. The Centre’s target audiences are the broad interested public as well as professionals. In addition, the NCCA Moscow has developed a program which seeks to introduce young people aged 8 to 13 to the diverse practices of contemporary art.
PublishingIn addition to the regular production of catalogs, scholarly collections on the theory and history of modern art, conference proceedings and study aids for educational programs the Centre publishes artists’ books. One example is the project “Author’s Book”: limited editions of books created by renowned contemporary artists among which Ilya Kabakov, Erik Bulatov, Igor Makarevich, Viktor Pivovarov, Nikita Alexeev, Lev Rubinstein, Leonid Tishkov, Leonid Sokov. The Centre plans to expand its line of printed products dealing with various aspects of contemporary art, art history, cultural studies and philosophy.
Selection of Programs
New GenerationThis program seeks to bring out the inner potential of young art and to familiarize the general public with promising names in the new generation of artists. Its largest project, the Moscow International Biennale of Young Art , “Qui Vive?” has been implemented jointly with the Moscow Museum of Modern Art since 2008.
InnovationThe program aims to support and promote contemporary Russian art and to make for patronage and sponsorship of today’s audiovisual culture of Russia. The key project under the program is the All-Russian Contemporary Visual Art Competition, INNOVATION, which was established by the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography and the National Centre for Contemporary Arts in 2005 and first held in 2006. The competition seeks to encourage and support cultural figures working in the field of contemporary visual art.
IntegrationThis program aims to reinvent contemporary Russian art in a global context. In this regard, the NCCA seeks to establish productive contacts with domestic and foreign organizations for collaborative art projects. The main objective of the program is to support the participation of local artists and art theorists in major international exhibitions.
Video/CinemaThis program seeks to promote contemporary intellectual cinema and video art. Exhibitions introduce visitors to the history of video art in and outside Russia and present curatorial projects that try to integrate cinema, video, new media, and other art forms.
Contemporary Art in the Open SocietyThe program’s goals are to supply multiple and new sources of information to students, teachers and employees of the educational, scientific and cultural institutions that cooperate with the NCCA; and to enhance the role of contemporary art in Russian culture. The objectives of the program are to exhibit contemporary art beyond art museums and galleries; and to hold meetings with contemporary artists, musicians, writers and philosophers.
Contemporary Russian Art from A to ZThis program involves the development of a database, publication of archival documents, meetings with artists, curators, and art critics, presentations of books, thematic collections, catalogs, magazines, video films, and CDs and DVDs dealing with contemporary art.
The Children’s Workshop is the quest for and development of innovative forms of contemporary art education, based on digital technologies, for young people aged 8 to 13. Now that various media including photography, video, audio and computers have become an “immediate environment” the creation of media works is proving to be attainable for teenagers wishing to try their hands at art. Workshop participants are invited to take the first step towards independent, conscious creativity and to test themselves in the roles of screen writer, director and animator artist. At classes, children are introduced to concepts such as art and technology, image and sound and time and motion. Short animations and disks featuring students’ works are produced every year.
St. Petersburg BranchThe NCCA established its first branch in St. Petersburg in 1995. The branch jointly with the State Hermitage Museum conducts an exhibition and educational programs to present Actual Art in St. Petersburg and to promoting the Artist in Residence International Exchange Program, a residency was established at the town of Kronstadt near St. Petersburg. Run by a nonprofit partnership with the New York-based St. Petersburg Arts Project it is a media laboratory called CYLAND, the only one of its kind in Russia, where artists receive support for their projects using innovative technologies. Works coming out of the laboratory are displayed at the CYBERFEST International Festival, an annual event conducted by the NCCA St. Petersburg. In addition, branch staff are working continuously to replenish their video archive of contemporary art, the only video archive in Russia available on the Web (www.cyland.ru) as part of the general NCCA website.
Volga Region BranchIn 1997, a public organization called the Centre for Contemporary Culture “Caryatid” in Nizhny Novgorod hosted the second NCCA branch. Initially called the Nizhny Novgorod it expanded to be promoted to the Volga Region status in 2007. Its main mission is to educate the viewer and to give information support for cultural events in Russian regions. The branch has a unique venue for creative projects, the Arsenal building, one of the structures of the Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin. During the planning of a capital repair, restoration and adaptation project (authors E. Ass, G. Aikozian and A. Epifanov) the ruined halls of the Arsenal accommodated summer exhibition campaigns in which dozens of artists from many countries took part. One of these resounding events was an international competition of art projects created specifically for this historic building. The Arsenal building, a historic landmark dating from the mid-19th century, was turned over to the branch in 2003. Upon completing of its restoration, refurbishment and adaptation, the Arsenal will be the region’s main venue for the production of contemporary art and its presentation to the public. The branch’s current priorities are a program called the “Archotheque,” which accumulates materials about the modern architecture of Nizhny Novgorod, and the production of “An Arsenal of Contemporary Art” for the regional television. The branch’s public room carries out educational programs on a regular basis. The Volga Region branch maintains a website on Public Art in and outside Russia as part of the NCCA site – www.propublicart.ru.
Kaliningrad BranchThe North-Western branch of the NCCA, which opened in December 1997, is the only exhibition and research organization in Kaliningrad city and region to operate in the contemporary art domain. A project, sponsored by the Russian ministry of culture, to plan, reconstruct, restore and adapt the tower and a part of the attic space of the Crown Prince barracks is underway. This 19th century historic and cultural landmark was received by the NCCA for operating management. This project to convert a monument of defense and fortification architecture into a contemporary art center has been hailed by experts as exemplary for the practice of preservation and actualization of the city’s historic and cultural buildings. The authors of the project are A. Epifanov, Yu. Zabuga, M. Mindlin, M. Khazanov, E. Tsvetaeva, and A. Chebykin. The branch specializes in the actualization of artistic heritage and the relationship of contemporary culture and society. Appropriate programs were developed, the most prominent among them being “Heritage in the Actual Context,” “Contemporary Art and Contemporary Society,” and “Art-Likbez” (Russian abbreviation for “literacy campaign”). The Centre carries out large-scale interregional al and international projects related to experimental trends in art (the “Sound and Video: Feed Back” program) and the latest technological advances in bioengineering (“Contemporary Art in an Age of Post-Biology”).
Ural BranchThe activities and mission of the Yekaterinburg – presently the Ural – branch of the NCCA, established in 1999, are governed by the strategy for introducing modern art into the city’s public spaces. Over the past period, the branch has implemented major projects such as the “Orenburg’s Long Histories” and “Stolpotvorenie” [literally “Babeldom”] festivals, the “ART-FACTORY” festival-cum-laboratory and others.
NCCA, Ural Branch, Museum Project
It published a journal, ZAART, highlighting the cultural and artistic life of the Ural region and its links with global processes in contemporary art. It came to be a sort of “print archive” of Uralic art in the 2000s. The ZAART project has since been transformed into a network resource, which represents regional projects in the field of actual culture of Russia. At the same time, the branch is developing a collection of videos of the Uralic-Siberian region. In 2008, the branch launched the “Ural’ Works: An Industry of Meanings” program focused on an artistic rethinking of the theme of industrial reality in an urban environment; its offshoot was the Ural Industrial Biennale, first held in 2010. That same year, the Yekaterinburg branch in view of its expanded scope of activity was renamed the Ural.
NCCA, Ural Biennial
NCCA | National Centre for Contemporary Arts
13, Bld. 2 Zoologicheskaya Street,
+7 (499) 254 84 92,
Director Marina Koldobskaya
34, lit. A (a wing of the Sheremetev palace)
River Fontanka Embankment,
St. Petersburg 191014
+7 (812) 2725627
Director Elena Tsvetaeva
7/11 Dmitriya Donskogo Street,
Offices 605-610, 617,
p/o box 1582
+7 (4012) 59-51-06
NCCA Volga Region
Director Anna Gor
24B Rozhdestvenskaya Street,
Nizhny Novgorod 603005
+7 (831) 430 45 09
Director Alisa Prudnikova
19a Dobrolyubova Street,
+7 (343) 380 36 96
NCCA North Caucasus
Director Georgy Sabeev
2/5-7 Maksima Gorkogo Street,