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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Details of the scandal in the Ministry of culture: experts explain the questioning and merge


Culture under the roof of the Medina is going through strange times. First, the FSB raided the raided the Ministry and arrested the Deputy Minister Grigory Pirumov. Now (may 31) history repeated itself with the national centre for contemporary arts (NCCA): after the searches were detained ex-Museum Director Mikhail Mindlin and his Deputy for Finance, Dmitry Machabeli (a few hours later they were released). The Ministry of culture is silent, the FSB comments, Mindlin phones available, the art community is perplexed, and according to the source the reason of searches in the NCCA is in the case of restorers… all this partying superimposed bizarre fusion of the NCCA with ROSIZO, a separate act of this tragicomedy.


photo: youtube.com

Photo: Michael Mindlin

Background: Michael Mindlin of the NCCA has founded and directed it for 22 years. Now the Minister of culture Vladimir Medinsky has subjected the ROSIZO Museum (state Museum and exhibition center). According to Mindlin, “ROSIZO was supposed to join the NCCA, after all, ROSIZO — technical structure, and the Museum — creative”. Moreover, many were surprised that the total is now ROSIZO was headed by Sergey Perov – engineer and financier by education.

It is curious that on the website ROSIZO almost no personal data — who leads, someone who has a Deputy. Is it because (according to RBC) sister Medina is in ROSIZO post of Deputy Director and earns significantly more than the head of the organization? By the way, the table of incomes of heads of establishments of culture for 2014 Tatiana Medina was listed in ninth place with 26 million rubles a year. Michael Mindlin occupies the second place (after Valery Gergiev) from 58 million. According to a close friend of the former Director of the NCCA, Mindlin lives modestly, in this table by accident, after the sale of paintings by Pyotr Konchalovsky, who also had come to him unexpectedly.

However, it’s not even the Mindlin: if he didn’t like officials, it would be left on the street without a job, but no: the Minister of culture gave him a few suggestions. In the end, Mindlin decided to head the Museum of ancient Russian culture. Rublev. At the same time had to take the post of Director of the 76-year-old, a disabled group Gennady Popov, whose contract at the Ministry of culture was until 2017. Popova, who worked in the Museum almost half a century, leaving the Deputy Director for scientific part.

Our expert (who wished that his name is not mentioned) — the appointment of Mindlin at the Fowler Museum. Rublev:

— For me it was a surprise and a shock appointment Mindlin: he’s a man of the contemporary art world, it’s not his subject! Former Director Gennady Popov has simply become a bargaining chip in the internal game of the Ministry of culture: as a thing — it was removed, then left in as a Deputy. It is understandable that Mindlin had to be added, well, I decided to move modest Directors in old age…

But Mindlin is the first education — restorer…

– Well, listen! Here the ethical question. Whether it is official, which is transferred from the Ministry of the meat and dairy industry in the Ministry of heavy engineering, the official still than driving. And here the Museum environment! Mindlin had the reputation of a talented Manager from the contemporary art; in “Rublev” another specificity is the interaction of the Church with the Museum community, and a lot more. So once again alarming a few adventurous approach of the Ministry of culture to personnel issues. This has become a common trend, but still continues to amaze.

And still, whether it was necessary to cross a hedgehog and a snake? That is, to “pour” the NCCA in ROSIZO? There are opposite opinions:

Rather FOR, than AGAINST.

A former Commissioner of the Moscow Biennale Joseph Backstein:

– It is difficult to predict how it will succeed — will it be possible to save those programs and projects carried out by the NCCA… it will be clear soon, when they start to work together. I spoke with Leonid Bazhanov, he expressed the hope that all will be able to negotiate.

– Excuse me, a little unexpected — is taken from the ceiling of one organisation merges with the ceiling on the other… and the Ministry of culture, as always, not even bothered to explanations — why, where, and why.

— I worked in ROSIZO, it’s not quite alien organization, she also organizes exhibitions… just now they must coordinate their plans and programs so everything was moving in the right direction.


photo: Ksenia Korobeinikova
Gallery ROSIZO.

Executive Director of the Moscow Museum of modern art Vasily Tsereteli:

I don’t meddle in politics, but work, taking all the management decisions. Moreover, promised that the NCCA does not change after the connection with ROSIZO. Successful practice of the merger of several institutions into one known to us, for example, museums in Prague. And the story of Mikhail Borisovich, I look fine. Team Rublev Museum benefits from such personnel changes. We will soon see large-scale projects prepared under the guidance of Mindlin”.

Rather AGAINST than FOR.

The Director of the center for contemporary art VINZAVOD Sofia Trotsenko:

– To me more than strange fusion of the NCCA and ROSIZO, since these organizations have completely different DNA. From my point of view, the functions of ROSIZO were technical regarding art, and NCCA – stem institution with a huge number of branches and projects. If such a merger is necessary, appropriate ROSIZO was part of the NCCA. It is easier in this respect: we are a private entity that freely regulates its activity.

Editor-in-chief of the portal ARTinvestment.RU Vladimir Bogdanov:

– I really liked the Moscow NCCA. There was support for the spark of the sixties: the spirit of the informal post-war art. They had a fine intellectual is a program developed by Leonid Bazhanov, meetings with non-conformist artists and stories about their work (Yankilevsky, Nemuhin, Grobman, etc.). Thus it is necessary to recognize that the NCCA has always been a problem with entertainment. Refined intellectuals of the event it was impossible to garner a lot of visitors. Interfere with narrow themes and hopelessly small private room. However, NCCA has taken steps to obtain the exhibition space. ROSIZO have no such restriction. But he is unlikely to want complex issues: it is more profitable to focus on mass taste, the big spectacular show, as in the USSR….

Actually, from the height of bird flight the main problem with all that is happening, it seems to us, lies in excessive state involvement in the cultural life of the country. In a healthy economy are actively developing private institutions, they are developing and we have, but slow and sluggish. In a normal, healthy environment, the question of the merger of some ROSIZO even would not have arisen, it would have seemed ridiculous, all of this a long time ago remained in the nineteenth century, but we continue to live in a strange strange gosinstitutom reforming, waiting for the allocation to them of some state budgets, then government officials, these budgets pilewskie, be on the bed and so on, in a circle. Slowly, here and there, in the light of mushrooming of private museums, and they will be, ultimately, the core of the new Russian art, of course, provided strong integration into the international context.

Returning to the arrests of “five minutes”, we note that Mindlin had time to visit the Museum Rublev only once, after which he was detained. We were present in the NCCA on Zoological street at the time of the searches: on the threshold we were not allowed, citing the change of exposure; but it was possible to communicate to representatives of the Museum and find out that the searches only took place in office premises, warehouse and showrooms men in uniform did not go. Supposedly, the FSB tried to find evidence of the connection with Pirumova Mindlin, who collaborated with the Museum on the issues of restoration. Most likely, all the matter in the reconstruction of the tower and mansard spaces of the Kronprinz barracks”, NCCA obtained in the operational management for the creation of a branch in Kaliningrad. The customer of works (and the organizer of the competition for their conduct) in the tower “Kronprinz” is the Ministry of culture, and the repairs and restoration deals with the Moscow company “the Restoration project”. The Museum and would be glad to engage in the process to speed it up, but I can’t: legally forbidden. Apparently, after this, the FSB released Mindlin and Machabeli.

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