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Moving Day for "Garage" in 2012 0

Moscow's contemporary culture center “Garage” was founded in September 2008 by the Russian magnate Roman Abramovich and his partner, the businesswoman Dasha Zhukova. To this day, it is found in the 8,500 square meter one-time bus garage Bakhmetevsky, built in 1927, right next to Moscow's Olympic Stadium. The building was designed by two of the most radical constructivist thinkers of the time – the architect Konstantin Melnikov and the structural engineer Vladimir Shukov.

At the beginning of this year, representatives for the center disclosed their hope of, in 2012, moving the gallery, from this monument to Russian constructivism to the 120 ha Moscow city park named after the founder of soviet socialist realism in literature, the great author and political activist, Maxim Gorky.

Interestingly enough, Gorky Park was also designed by Konstantin Melnikov, the well-known representative of soviet architecture. In the West, Gorky Park is probably best known from the American author Martin Cruz Smith's novel “Gorky Park”, as well as the 1981 film of the same name. Those who have heard the moving ballad “Wind of Change”, sung by the legendary rock group “The Scorpions” in 1990, have likely hummed along to the elegiacal melody, in which the soloist Klaus Meine mentions Gorky Park.

The contemporary culture center “Garage” is planned to settle in the so-called “Hexadron”, the geometrically-shaped pavilion of engineering sciences. The 8,500 square meter space is composed of a six-building complex designed by Ivan Zholtovsky, Viktor Kokorin and Mikhail Parushnikov, and was built in 1923 for the state's first agricultural and handicraft exhibition. Reconstruction is currently under way, adapting the space to the needs of “Garage”, but taking the utmost of care to retain its historical and cultural value. The pavilion will contain several exhibition halls, a spacious auditorium for lectures, completed studios and rooms for creative workshops, a library, a bookstore and cafes, all in the hope of creating a timely cultural center where one can escape the teeming crowds of the city, find a refreshingly shady spot in the heat of summer and at the same time, find dessert for the soul.

Recently, an uproar was caused by unofficial stories in the Russian media about the Russian magnate Roman Abramovich, patron of the contemporary cultural center and partner of Dasha Zhukova, and his interest in investing in Gorky Park's development, which would include the construction of an amusement park the size of Paris' Disneyland. The information received the retort that Moscow has no need of such a spectacle; some media outlets even ironically stated that, in time, Gorky Park will be renamed after Roman Abramovich.