The discussion was organized by The Garage Journal as a part of the eighth edition of Cosmoscow International Contemporary Art Fair. It was held at the Gostiny Dvor in Moscow on the 13th of September, 2020. Speakers were invited to reflect on the changing role of the museum as a social institution in Russia during the COVID-19 pandemic and other global crises. They discussed Russian museums’ strategies for interacting with their audiences and fundraising, as well as other aspects of museum work that are particularly important in crisis situations.
Titled ‘After Crises: Art, Museums, and New Socialities’, the issue explores a variety of crises and socialities from a range of perspectives, including the ideas of (in)visibility, (dis)continuation, and (non)representation. Paying attention to different kinds of crises (political, social, economic, health, and other), the issue surveys a range of cultural contexts, including Japan, Hong Kong, Russia, and the United States, and explores how new socialities are replacing existing identities.
Can one consider the contemporary museum to be purely a space for the preservation, protection, and transmission of cultural heritage? What role do visitors play within the museum? How is the transmission of the heritage possible in the context of a constant reproduction by the museum of the distance between the ‘masterpieces’ and the public? This visual essay analyzes the relationships between the museum and its visitors. Their inclusion in the museum process—or exclusion from it—is demonstrated by means of visitor books of Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.
This article characterizes the relationship between the museum and its visitors as a dialogic process that enables a play between the public narratives of the museum and the private narratives of the viewers. The museum is presented as a performative site where its dominant socially and historically constructed pedagogy engages in a critical dialogue with the viewer's memories and cultural histories.