OpenSpace Closes: Moscow’s cultural portal is ousted from its domain

The Contemporary Art page of Openspace.ru, June 26, 2012

This week, just as the editor of Artnet announces the end of the company’s online magazine, the editors of the online cultural portal OpenSpace.ru – which agglomerates Russian-language information on categories like Contemporary Art, Literature, Theater and Classical Music  –  informed the public that the site would cease operation on June 30th.

As present-chief editor Maria Stepanova details in an interview with Afisha, the decision to close was the owner’s, Vadim Belyaev, who has brought in former editor of the now defunct Vlast (“Power”), Maxim Kovalsky, to retool the site into more of a political animal.

“I would hope that the new OpenSpace will serve as a cultural and social hub,” Belyaev explains in a statement, also given to Afisha. “I just think ‘culture’ means something more than a site about art.”

Since its founding the Contemporary Art section has been a particularly valuable resource, supplementing annotated listings of each week’s openings with columns by curator Katya Degot, as well as artists Olga Bozhko (who covered Design) and Kirill Ass (Architecture.) You can check out Degot’s latest – a three part diary of  Documenta – starting here (in Russian.)

In February of this year, OpenSpace launched its youth-oriented spin-off, W-O-S (“Weekend Open Space”), which could be said to play T Magazine to OpenSpace’s Times. (Still, this type of site has a long way to go before it catches up to Look At Me, arguably the online center of Moscow youth culture. LAM’s “grown-up” section, The Village, was recently awarded a 2012 Gold Lion  in Cannes’ Mobile category.)

For her part, Stepanova has vowed to register a new domain and migrate all archival content – and her entire editorial team – there. In the meantime, OpenSpace, as we know it, will be closed.

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