International program

Street as a Museum – Museum as a Street” in Samara



The Central Volga Branch of the National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA) affiliated to ROSIZO

With the support of the company «RUSS OUTDOOR»

urator - Nelya Korzhova


The program “Street as a Museum – Museum as a Street” is aimed to explore new methods of interaction between contemporary art and urban environment. In the framework of the program contemporary artworks are displayed in bus stop shelters and showrooms.

Over the years the program has been put into practice within different festivals as well as group or solo exhibitions with authentic themes.

The project basis is the exhibition of contemporary artworks presented as posters placed in advertising panels in bus stop shelters around Samara city. The exhibition enables to determine and probably eliminate a border between the space of culture and art and the space of street. Everyone who lives in a big modern city has to perceive a never-ending flow of visual messages, mostly of utilitarian nature, calling on to take part in a buyer – seller communication system. That is why generally the street space is not seen as something related to art and culture. It is considered that to join the world of art one must make some special effort, like, for example, going to a museum. The project is meant to contribute an element of unexpectedness in such a conventional situation – a person waiting for a bus suddenly faces something unusual, not belonging to everyday life, and gets a message appealing for contemplation rather than consumption.

At the same time such an experience is of great importance for artists themselves. It allows artists to escape that traditional white cube situation where the audience expect to see the Artwork conveying some sort of a supreme meaning guaranteed by the authority of a cultural institution and a ticket price. At a bus stop the communication between a viewer and an artwork happens directly without any mediation of institutions and rituals involved in a conventional cultural act.

Is it possible to create a continual cultural space? - that is the main question set to be explored within the project.

The program “Street as a Museum – Museum as a Street” originated from the project “Ecology of Perception” that was carried out on a competitive basis in 1998 by the Samara Regional Public Charitable Foundation “Centre for Contemporary Art”. The authors of the project were Roman Korzhov and Nelya Korzhova.

That was the first big contemporary art exhibition at bus stops in Russia. Being a great success, the project lasted for 2 years and gave people who were not in the habit of visiting museums an opportunity to discover new artists right at bus stops.
This new form of communication in social environment was further developed with projects “Ecology of Perception II” (2008-2009) and “ARTNEWS OUTDOOR” (2010-2011) carried out in the Central Volga Region. From 2000 to 2015 various poster exhibitions were held in museums and showrooms of Samara, Tolyatti, Nizhnekamsk, Kirov, St. Petersburg, Stuttgart (Germany), Kalmar (Sweden).

Throughout the existence of the program around 120 works of artists from Russia, Germany, France, the UK, Switzerland, Italy, the USA, Estonia, Belorussia and Kazakhstan have been displayed for the audience. According to the statistics, every poster is viewed by more than 5000 people a day. Therefore it is important to note a significant educational value of the project, contributing to creation of a new concept of open relationship between an individual and cultural initiatives of the present.
In 2011 for the first time the project was carried out as a festival in Ulyanovsk. The main idea of the festival was to simultaneously exhibit contemporary artworks at bus stops and showrooms and to accompany the event with discussion platforms as well as various performances.

The project functions as a generator of aesthetic energy, making an attempt to overcome traditional incompatibility of contemporary art practice and taste in the art of an average “man in the street”. The project considers art as a mechanism for provoking social dynamics, and audience is no longer limited by a conventional museum as the whole public space of a city is seen as an integral exhibition area.
The program “Street as a Museum – Museum as a Street” is a new tradition defining a mechanism of developing contemporary art of the region and attracting Russian and international resources to art activities in Samara.


Project history:

2008 – 2009 project “Ecology of Perception II”

2010 — exhibition “News in Emptiness

2011 October – November – I International Festival of Contemporary Art “Street as a Museum – Museum as a Street”

2011 – catalogue “Street as a Museum – Museum as a Street” (1998-2011)

2012 May – II International Festival of Contemporary Art “Street as a Museum – Museum as a Street”. The Festival's theme – “To See Sound”

2013 May — III International Festival of Contemporary Art “Street as a Museum – Museum as a Street”. The Festival's theme – “Industrial Cyclone”

2014 February – exhibition “The Factory Kitchen in Samara”

2014 MayIV International Festival of Contemporary Art “Street as a Museum – Museum as a Street”. The Festival's theme – “About Silence and Monuments”.

2014 October – exhibition “Everyone Doesn't Eat Meatballs in Sweden”
2015 Novemberexhibition “In the Context of Suspense”

2016 April – project “Codes of Abstract Cosmos”

  [All events and projects in the program] 
© National centre for contemporary arts. Developement [artinfo]. [Andrey Velikanov]'s design