Leonid Mikhelson, the CEO of the Russian natural-gas company Novatek, has devoted a portion of his wealth to bringing Russian contemporary art outside Russia. In 2009, Mikhelson created the V-A-C Foundation, named for his daughter, Victoria. The foundation organizes and presents exhibitions by Russian and international contemporary artists, such as Anatoly Osmolovsky, Arseny Zhilyaev, Sergey Sapozhnikov, Mark Dion, Paweł Althamer, Mike Nelson, Fiona Banner, James Richards, Lynette Yiadom-Boayke, and Tino Sehgal. The foundation has also partnered with various cultural institutions, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitechapel Gallery in London, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp, and co-produced the New Museum’s 2012 exhibition “Ostalgia,” which focused on Eastern European contemporary art. Mikhelson has also funded Ilya and Emilia Kabokov’s 2014 installation at the Grand Palais, as well as their 2017 retrospective at Tate Modern in London and Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. In 2017, V-A-C opened a new contemporary art space in Venice, and will open a new exhibition space, at over 215,000 square feet, for contemporary culture in Moscow in 2019, designed by Renzo Piano. Mikhelson’s collection includes works by Francis Bacon, Alighiero e Boetti, Marcel Broodthaers, Bridget Riley, Hito Steyerl, Andreas Gursky, Sigmar Polke, and Thomas Struth, among others.

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Leonid Mikhelson


Source of wealth:
Gas (Novatek)

Collecting area:
Modern and contemporary art

Top 200 appearance:
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Fun fact:

Visitors to Mikhelson’s office will notice a Gerhard Richter “Candle” painting hanging behind his desk.