The Russia-based V-A-C Foundation, a contemporary art nonprofit with exhibition spaces in Moscow and Venice, announced on Tuesday that its longtime director general, Teresa Iarocci Mavica, will step down from her position after more than a decade to focus on the foundation’s location in Venice. Mavica will be replaced by Artem Bondarevsky, who is deputy general director for administrative issues and will serve as interim director general.
The news of Mavica’s departure from her position in Moscow comes at a critical time for the private non-profit foundation, following the inauguration of its new Renzo Piano–designed venue GES-2 House of Culture, a former power plant in Moscow that opened earlier this month. (The space’s opening was delayed from its planned 2019 opening twice: first, until September 2020 due to revisions of the project’s plan and costs, and then until December 2021 because of the pandemic.)
V-A-C, which has shored up ties with museums around the world and was a main sponsor for the 2013 Venice Biennale, was founded by Russian billionaire and contemporary art collector Leonid Mikhelson together with Mavica in 2009, after she critiqued his collection at the time and encouraged him to support contemporary art. Prior to cofounding V-A-C, Mavica ran the Moscow nonprofit Stella Art Foundation and worked as an art dealer.
According to a report by Moscow Times, the foundation said the decision is part of a move to promote Russian art abroad, which requires changes to its current leadership. Mavica will serve as the director general of foundation’s venue in Venice, V-A-C Zattere, and will remain on the foundation’s board of directors. She will continue to work with Mikhelson, the board’s chairman, as an adviser on international projects. In 2019, Mavica was appointed by the Russian Ministry of Culture to serve as commissioner of the Russian Pavilion for next year’s Venice Biennale.
In a statement, the foundation said, “Teresa is leaving the position of the director general of the V-A-C foundation, which demands daily involvement with the work of the GES-2 House of Culture, and will concentrate on Venice.”