Moscow’s Garage Museum of Contemporary Art has linked up with Rutgers University’s Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick, New Jersey, to digitize the Moscow Archive of New Art (MANI), a collection of materials related to poetry, theory, and artworks produced in the Soviet Union between 1980 and 1982. Included are photographs, manifestos, and materials pertaining to exhibitions.
Garage’s decision to digitize MANI is part of its larger Russian Art Archive Network (RAAN) project, an online catalogue of materials related to Russian contemporary art that can be browsed in both English and Russian. Since 2017, Garage has uploaded all kinds of documents, from theoretical writings by the critic Boris Groys to press releases from the archives of the Art Projects Foundation (an archive containing materials related to galleries around Russia), in hopes of telling a more complete history of Russian contemporary art.
RAAN previously joined forces with the Research Centre for East European Studies in Berlin to digitize more than 600 archives in its holdings. In the future, Garage will partner with other museums throughout Russia. (The names of those museums won’t be announced until the spring of next year.)
“The history of Russian art is very tricky,” Sasha Obukhova, the head of Garage’s research department, told ARTnews. “For many years, Russian contemporary art was forbidden, and documents were kept in another country. We thought it would be a good thing to put them together for researchers looking for historical documents, many of which are held in university archives around the world, in Europe and the United States. On our platform, all the documents are visible and united, so you can find the whole story.”