One of the first galleries in post-Soviet Russia was THE MARAT GUELMAN GALLERY. It was founded in 1990 as a direct response to the changed state of domestic art emerging from the underground. At the beginning of the 1990s, the Gallery began to work with young and starting artists, who are now leaders in the Moscow art scene and represent Russia at the largest world forums of contemporary art: Valeri Koshlyakov, Dmitri Gutov, Alexander Vinogradov and Vladimir Dubosarsky, Oleg Kulik, the group AEC and others.
From its foundation, the Gallery assumed the character of a progressive institution; one that participated directly in the artistic process, and has retained this character to the present day. Experience in promoting the «stars» of the 1990s generation allows the Gallery to continue formation of the circle of names that shall determine the face of Russian art in the new century. For example, the Novosibirsk group of artists «Blue Noses» (V. Mizin and A. Shaburov), discovered by the Guelman Gallery at the end of the 1990s, became the brightest exponent of Russian art at the 2003 Biennale in Venice.
The timely and perceptive selection of authors that have brought success to the Guelman Gallery was the factor determining the value of its collection. To date, the Gallery owns an extensive collection of works displayed at the «Art Versus Geography» exhibition (2000-2001, with catalog). This exhibition was displayed in the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg and then traveled to various Russian provincial museums: Vladivostok, Ekaterinburg, Kemerovo, Krasnoyarsk, Nizhni Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Perm and others. Part of the Guelman collection was subsequently presented as a gift to the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, where it is currently on display in a special eponymous hall.
Besides regular exhibitions of the works of selected artists within its own walls, the Guelman Gallery is also known as the organizer of large exhibitions in the best exhibition and museum locations in the capital. In this sphere, the Gallery acquired fame for such exhibitions as «Conversion» (Central House of Artists, 1993), «Bodily Space» (Central House of Artists, 1995), «New Money» (State Tretyakov Gallery, 1996) et al.
The aim of these projects was the affirmation of contemporary art in Russian society, of the «avant-garde» status of innovative creation in the spheres of both aesthetics and ideology, and the continued reinforcement of this status.
An important aspect of the Gallery’s policy is to offer resistance to reactionary, pseudo-patriotic ideology, commonly bound up with religious hysteria, that is still deeply rooted in our society. During its entire existence, the Gallery has frequently been the object of vandalism and aggression, while its staff was subjected to persecution and intimidation by fascist groups. Such projects as «People’s Choice» (1994), «Kompromat» [Compromising Materials] (1996) and «We- They» (2003), alongside with support by individual artists such as, for instance, today’s «prisoner of conscience», political emigrant Avdei Ter-Oganyan, made the Guelman Gallery not just the ideological stronghold of «leftist» views of the world, but, unfortunately, the epicenter of ideological opposition between the most polarized types of mentality: nationalistic chauvinism and internationalism.
One of the major strategies of the Gallery is working with young Moscow artists and artists from the most far-flung corners of Russia. A leading role in the formation of the new generation is played by information about the activities of the Gallery, built into the context of the global artistic process, that is accessible on the constantly updated Internet site Guelman.ru
The international contacts of the Guelman Gallery had a deserving basis in exhibitions of cult artists of the XX century: Joseph Boyce and Andy Warhol in Moscow. In all the ratings of organizations dealing with contemporary art in Russia, based on such indicators of professionalism as lists of names of artists, their international recognition, level of organization of exhibitions and, finally, commercial results, the Guelman Gallery stands among the leaders in the field.Address:
7/7, building 5 Malaya Polianka Street
Tel./fax +7 (095) 238-8492, 238-2783, 238-4040E-mail:
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