YULIA TIKHONOVA: How do you view the current Moscow art scene?
Maria Baibakova: The contemporary Russian art scene is in its developing stages. We need to develop a stronger gallery system, a combination of commercial and non-profit art outlets. We also need to extend the number of art patrons who want to help artists by collecting art and bequeathing works to art institutions.
YT: What are your strategies to overcome these limitations?
MB: I see my role as twofold: I aim to support people in their intentions to collect art and to
educate the public. The most important thing is creating an example. Baibakov Art Projects
already supports art initiatives such as Artangel (London) and the Guggenheim Museum (New
York.) I believe that collecting is a rewarding process. If these new patrons take collecting seriously and support art, the art infrastructure will follow.
YT: Could you talk about your program?
MB: The space opened with a show of 22 Russian artists who participated with site-specific interventions. “Invasion : evasion” was deliberately anti-political but focused on materiality and the object’s surface. In September for the Third Moscow Biennale, Baibakov Art Projects presented “Against the Day,” a show of twenty new paintings by the Belgian artist Luc Tuymans. Now we are working on a new project that will open in May 2010. Titled “Perpetual Battles,” it is based on Michel Foucault’s notion of social relationship and will include commissions by Cyprien Gaillard and Saâdane Afi f among others. It is curated by myself, Kate Sutton (associate curator of Baibakov Art Projects) and Jean-Max Collard. So far we’ve hosted six exhibitions in our 3000-square-meter space: three solo and three group shows, with a total of about 50 artists, half Russian and half international, mostly American and European but also Asian.
YT: Do you plan to build a permanent collection?
MB: We do not intend to have a permanent collection. Commissions are usually site-specific and afterwards they remain the property of the artist or are destroyed.
YT: Is your family collection involved?
MB: My father’s private collection is not open to the public. It is mostly a collection of 20th century and contemporary American and British art that focuses on consumer culture, starting with Andy Warhol.