Go Gallery Hopping

MTThe GaryTatintsian Gallery is in a quiet courtyard just one block from Red Square.
Gallery hopping around Moscow may be no simple feat, analogous to strolling the streets of New York's Chelsea or London's South Bank on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

But with a good plan and plenty of time to spare, you can easily -- and happily -- fill a day exploring the often hidden gems of Moscow's contemporary art scene, and maybe buy a work or two on the way.

Start just one block from Red Square, at the posh Gary Tatintsian Gallery in a quiet courtyard off Ulitsa Ilinka. The gallery, opened by New York-based collector Gary Tatintsian, aims to bring Western art to Moscow in a decidedly Western style. Entering the gallery's glass doors feels like walking into any of its New York or London counterparts. The space is vast and open, with room for large canvases and installations. Recent exhibits include showings by U.S. artist Vik Muniz, Germany's Andre Butzer and British artist Martin Maloney.

"We're the only gallery with Western-class artists," boasted the gallery's director, Viktoria Pukemova. Tatintsian carries a new exhibit every six to eight weeks "in standard New York style," she said.

Next, hop on the metro at Ploschad Revolutsii and ride just one stop to Kurskaya metro station for a gallery with an entirely different feel. The hard-to-find Pop/off/art, located in a small courtyard behind Ulitsa Radio, is well worth a visit, though it would be difficult for even the most hardcore art lover to spend more than 30 minutes in the small gallery. A cozy space with warm lighting and the smell of wooden floors, Pop/off/art focuses exclusively on contemporary Russian artists. A recent exhibit showcased recent work by Arkady Petrov, 67, whose colorful thick oil canvases fit seamlessly into the gallery's relaxed atmosphere.

After getting a taste for the quieter side of Moscow's gallery scene, head over to Vinzavod, just a 20-minute walk from Pop/off/art (the receptionist there will even provide you with a map of how to get there). Quickly becoming a contemporary art district in and of itself, the grounds of the former wine factory boast seven galleries. It will hold nine in all, as well as a restaurant and cafe, by the time Vinzavod is fully up and running by spring of next year, spokeswoman Ksenia Semyonova said. If it's Russian artists you're looking for, it's best to stick to the galleries that focus on painting and installations, such as XL Gallery and Proun, she said, while photography galleries such as Pobeda tend to lean towards Western artists. "But in general, it doesn't matter if they're Western or Russian, as long as they have some link to contemporary art," Semyonova said.


Vladimir Filonov / MT
The GaryTatintsian Gallery is in a quiet courtyard just one block from Red Square.
Once you've spent a couple of hours wandering around Vinzavod's impressive collections, take the 15-minute metro ride to Polyanka, where a quick walk will take you to the inimitable Krokin Gallery (pictured page 15). As one of Moscow's oldest private art galleries, the experience certainly shows in its expert curating. The mid-sized ground-floor gallery has the feel of a converted apartment, a quiet space to easily whittle an hour away.

"We present new projects by well-known, established artists," curator Alexander Petrovichev said. Exhibits change once a month, and the gallery tends to work with a small circle of 35- to 40-year-old artists, he said. The gallery has a particularly solid relationship among collectors, and tends to cater to middle-class Russians seeking to establish themselves as top-notch connoisseurs.

A quick walk across the Kamenny Most and a bit further down Ostozhenka Ulitsa will take you to RuArts, a new gallery opened by Marianna Sardarova, the wife of a wealthy gas tycoon. A large space that doesn't quite live up to the New York style it is aiming for, the gallery does not keep its own curators, and it is well worth researching what is showing before hopping over unannounced.

Tatintsian Gallery, 3/8 Ul. Ilinka, bldg. 5, 101-2102, open Mon-Fri 11a.m.- 7 p.m. and Sat. noon-7 p.m., closed Sun., www.tatintsian.com.
Pop/off/art, 6/4 Ul. Radio, 261-7883, open Mon.-Sat. noon-8 p.m., closed Sun., www.popoffart.com.
Vinzavod, 1 4th Syromyatnichesky Per., bldg. 6, 917-3436/4646, check individual galleries for opening times, www.winzavod.com.
Krokin Gallery, 15 Ul. Bolshaya Polyanka, 959-0141, open Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., www.krokingallery.com.
RuArts, 10 1st Zachatievsky Per., 637-4475, open Tue.-Sat. noon-8 p.m., www.ruarts.ru.