Year founded: 2003
Organiser: Art Foundation Moscow Biennale, the Ministry of Culture of The Russian Federation; the Federal Agency for Culture and Film; State Museum and Exhibition Center ‘ROSIZO’


The Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art is one of the most important Russian cultural events

Moscow Biennale aims to be not only a particular powerful event, but also a new institutional project that strengthens relationships between curators, art historians, managers, federal authorities, sponsors and trustees, mass media and public opinion on contemporary art both in and outside Russia itself. It is the organisers’ intention that the Moscow Biennale will be a reproducible strong structure that finds its place in the network of other major international art forums.

One of the most obvious consequences of political and economical stabilisation in Russia is the growing interest of Russian society in contemporary culture, and more precisely contemporary art. In the last decade a new Russian art infrastructure has emerged through art fairs, galleries, non-profit exhibition spaces, festivals and conferences. For these reasons, 2005 was the right time for Moscow to create a major international art event, the first of its kind in the country.

The first Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, initiated by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, marked an important step forward in the process of reintegrating contemporary Russian art into the international art world. The Moscow Biennale intends to be not only a great event in the artistic life of Moscow and Russia but also to play an important social, cultural and political role internationally.

The first edition (January 28 – February 28, 2005) caused great response both in Russia and abroad. The main exhibition “Dialectics of Hope” included projects by 41 artists from 22 countries and represented art that focuses on one of the most fundamental experiences of a modern human being: hope. The main project was realised at the former Lenin Museum, near the Red Square. The Biennale’s special projects and parallel program numbered over 50 exhibitions of Russian actual art as well as European, American and Asian visual artists. Curators (main project): Joseph Backstein, Daniel Birnbaum, Iara Boubnova, Nicolas Bourriaud, Rosa Martinez and Hans Ulrich Obrist.

The main project of the Second Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (March 1 – April 1, 2007) titled “FOOTNOTES on Geopolitics, Market and Amnesia” showed works of 115 artists from 20 countries. Different curators and curatorial teams realized 5 exhibitions of the main project united by one theme. The project featured the exhibitions organized at various venues including The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow Contemporary Art Center Winzavod, Moscow Museum of Modern Art.

The commissioner of the Biennale was Joseph Backstein. The exhibition program of the Third Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (September 24 – November 1, 2009) featured main project “Against exclusion” and more than 39 special projects and 7 special guests shows.