In Russia this week brings a near-comical number of prizes – the St Petersburg-based Kurokhin Prize, the National Center for Contemporary Art’s Innovation Prize, the newly-formed Art Newspaper Russia Prize, the Moscow Museum of Multimedia Art’s Golden Camera… Basically, just a lot of prizes, and we’ll get to them in due time (Read: After Innovation’s ceremony on April 9.)
We couldn’t wait on this piece of news, however. Just days after the Stella Art Foundation – commissioner for the Russian Pavilion in Venice – announced that Margarita Tupitsyn would curate next year’s presentation of Irina Nakhova, more news from Venice, this time more worrying.
According to a post made a few hours ago on his Facebook account, curator and architectural critic Grigory Revzin has been dismissed from his post as commissioner for the Venice Biennale of Architecture, which opens on June 7, 2014, just over two months away. No explanation was provided, other than that this was the personal decision of Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky.
Revzin was named to the post in 2010. For the 2012 edition, he turned the spotlight on the Skolkovo, a massive virtual city/tech-hub on the outskirts of Moscow. For the project, curators Sergei Tchoban and Sergey Kuznetsov covered the space floor to ceiling with QR codes, then handed visitors tablets at the door so they could access all the information (making it quite possibly the first time in history anyone has ever scanned one of those things.) Here’s a video of the experience:
Needless to say, the pavilion was inordinately popular, and was awarded second prize for best pavilion by the biennale, and Revzin was named one of GQ‘s People of the Year (not so common a commendation for your everyday art historian…)
For his second outing, Revzin was instructed to work with schools. This basically narrowed his choices to the state school, MArkhI, or the Rem Koolhaas-affiliated alternative, Strelka Institute for media, architecture and design. As Koolhaas is the curator for the biennale proper, Revzin said it was a no-brainer, and went with Strelka.
We don’t doubt that Strelka has a competent team who can push on despite this setback. We do, however, worry that such a high-profile firing would take place without any explanation offered to the public, let alone to Revzin himself. (In his Facebook post, he insinuates that it may be connected to his position on Krimea.)
Anyway, more on prizes later this week, but we’re not sure if anyone is really feeling like a “winner” this morning.