Discussion: Tolerance Test: Does Russia Need a Museum of Women in the Arts?

06 Jul 2021
Garage Education Center
Discussion: Tolerance Test: Does Russia Need a Museum of Women in the Arts?Discussion: Tolerance Test: Does Russia Need a Museum of Women in the Arts?


The idea of ​​creating a museum of contemporary women’s art in Russia dates back to the early 1990s. Its concept was developed by curator, researcher, and artist Natalya Kamenetskaya. For many years, she tried, unsuccessfully, to find support from public and private institutions for this project, inspired by the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington.

Opened to the public in 1987, the Washington museum received mixed reactions from critics, with some seeing in it a progressive sign of the triumph of feminist ideas and others—a radically conservative testament to voluntary gender segregation.

What would a similar museum be like in Russia, a country of masculine domination in ideology and culture? Is it possible to establish such an institution here at all? Will the Museum of Russian Women in the Arts become a refuge for the creative labor of female artists seeking their place in the patriarchal world of contemporary Russian art? Or will it be a space for the triumph of a new aesthetics, which has always been considered “the weak version of male art” in Russian art history?

The discussion will be moderated by Garage Archive Curator Sasha Obukhova.


Natalya Kamenetskaya (b. 1959, Moscow) is a researcher, lecturer at the Department of Gender Studies of Russian State University for the Humanities, curator of exhibitions at RSUH’s Museum Center. She has been the head of the INO Creative Laboratory (Art, Science, Education) nonprofit cultural organization since 2006 and chairwoman of the Gender Project Section at the Creative Union of Russian Artists since 2009. Since 2017, Natalya has lived and worked between Moscow and Jerusalem.

Alla Mitrofanova (b. 1959, Kokayti settlement) is a curator, art theorist, co-founder of the cyberfeminist international. She is a contributing author to the compilations Media Philosophy (St. Petersburg) and Media Archeology (Cologne), as well as to the journals n.paradoxa (London) and Gender Studies (Kharkov). Mitrofanova curates a philosophical café and reads special courses on the problems of the new ontology. She lives and works in St. Petersburg.


Free with advance registration.


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