chapter  2
16 Pages

‘The Contemporary Museum is a Laboratory of Knowledge’

The Origins of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Russia
ByAndrzej Turowski

The history of the museums of artistic culture in Russia forms an integral part of the history of the whole field of Modernism. From the beginning of 1918, the question of the organisation of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow and its branches in provinces was of paramount importance for Department of Fine Arts (IZO). In autumn 1918, after intensive discussions, the Moscow Kollegia of IZO approved the project for the structure and collections of the museums of contemporary art proposed by Vladimir Tatlin and Dymshits-Tolstoya. The contemporary museum, claimed Nikolai Punin, is 'a research laboratory'. The aims of Museums of Painterly and Visual Culture, as they were named in the museum's statute prepared by the commission, repeated the familiar principles of a close cooperation between the emerging museums and art schools. As stressed, museums were to present to students the developments of art as focused on the rules of painting composition and the purely artistic goals of art.