On the heels of Aidan Salakhova’s announcement that she would transition her gallery into AidanStudio, a noncommercial space to show her students’ work, Russian press has speculated that both XL Gallery and the Marat and Julia Guelman Gallery would follow suit.
While so far, XL (home to Aidan, Oleg Kulik, and Aristarkh Chernyshev & Vladislav Efimov, and the first Russian gallery to break into Basel) has yet to make a formal announcement about switching over to operate as a non-profit that would bring in sponsors, Julia Guelman released a statement on ArtGuide today confirming that the Guelman Gallery will also be “transforming.”
Once known for a rowdy showing, with the Blue Noses, Ilya Chichkin, and Avdei Ter-Oganyan stirring up trouble where they could, the gallery has slowly settled into calmer rhythms, with shows by Dmitri Gutov and Recycle. This is partially due to Marat’s own departure almost five years ago. After organizing the “Russia 2” exhibition (read an archive of the New York Times’ take here) in 2004-5, Marat took more of an interest in working on larger scales – particularly those tinged with cultural diplomacy. He has been a critical figure in the Perm Museum of Contemporary Art, while working out a massive showcase he called Russian Povera (whose logo appeared to be out of packing tape while its curatorial back-up essay appeared to be Boris Groys’.)
In the interest of these endeavours, Julia announced that their gallery space at the Winzavod will now serve as the office for “Cultural Alliance,” a new non-profit that will foster these types of exchanges.
With the jury still out on XL, but both Aidan and Guelman retooling themselves as nonprofits, this means remaining galleries at Winzavod – the big ones being Regina, Proun and paperworks – have some thinking of their own to do. As does Elena Panteleeva, the former editor of the Winzavod Art Journal, who took over the reigns of Winzavod two weeks ago, when former director Sofya Trotsenko left to work in the mayor’s office.