Evgeniya Bereza (b. 1990, Moscow)
After graduating from the faculty of journalism I worked as an editor on TV for ten years—before realizing at one point that work didn’t inspire me anymore, that I wanted to interact with people via some more universal language. Art appeared to be that kind of language. Giving birth to my daughter helped me to overcome the fear of everything new, and I decided to try the museum sphere for myself. A year ago I came to do an internship at Garage, where I felt fully confident in making that decision. This fall I am going to the USA to do a Master’s in Museum Management.
Hello, diary! Forgive me for not writing for such a long time, but you should understand me: it’s spring and youth time…
Now to business. Below is my resume of four shifts, two morning and two evening ones.
The first, on March 6, was not a typical one, like an after-party rather than a shift proper. At some point, when the guided tours upstairs ended, we saw a lot of visitors coming to us, wishing to chat. It was that lucky moment when you learn from the audience (many visitors were museum workers or other representatives of the art milieu) more than you’re able to give. It was a cool experience. I would like to underline two conversations “on the stairs”. The first was with a spectator who mentioned Pravo na Otdyh (The Right for Rest)—a theater act staged by the Brusnikin Studio and based on the verbatim report of Alexander Galich’s expulsion from the Soviet Writers’ Union. In this interactive performance the spectators themselves can become members of the board and receive the script prior to the start if they wish. I was genuinely surprised to learn that participation in this play changes the mind so much that you begin to believe in the fairness of what’s going on in the process. The system cannot be mistaken, even within the genre of a theater spectacle its weight is critical. I am not sure if it is appropriate to share my thoughts instead of what actually happens between the visitors and me during the conversations, but I would like to touch upon the topic of the power of art. The power that is able to bring about good as much as evil (which is also quite relative). The power of the museum as a history book representing events in one light or another. How much does the visitor trust the museum? Do they consider it an agent of genuine knowledge? Have there been episodes where museums abused the trust of their audiences by instilling false truths?
The second dialogue was with a pretty smart sixteen-year-old guy. Wrapping up his views, adults should not impose “big art” on children from early age. He told me that parents always took him to the Tretyakov Gallery when he was still a preschool kid. So today, all the masterpieces that are kept there invoke nothing but irritation. He’s bored with them. He wishes he could have acquainted with them much later, like, nowadays, in order to have the chance to enjoy them. I should put it like this: is it necessary to introduce children to “high” art from very early age? What pros and cons does it entail? Adding from my own experience, my parents were really radical and would take me to the Hermitage and leave me there for hours. Perhaps, this is why my road to museum work was bendy, and I avoided a closer contact with museums for a long time. But it may also be that the early baptism of fire has borne fruit twenty year later, who knows. Another thing is that I introduce my four-year-old daughter to museums very carefully now. Using short but regular visits, after an agreement with her and a special preparation (we discuss in advance what is awaiting inside and why it might be interesting). Obviously, even the most “austere” museums today incline toward inclusion and realize that space has to be attractive and friendly for everyone. So, I wish in the future, museums will no longer be somewhat of a punishment for children.