The Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art was established in 2003 as part of a federal program entitled “Culture of Russia. 2001-2006,” one of the most important cultural events organized under the aegis of the Russian government.
The First Moscow Biennale (January 28 – February 28, 2005) generated critical acclaim, both in Russia and abroad, and made important headway in becoming an international event. The main exhibition, “Dialectics of Hope,” presented projects by 41 artists from 22 countries. The idea behind the project was in defining the 21st century visual-arts movement. There was also a number of projects introducing trends in Russian contemporary art. The Biennale’s special projects and parallel programs included over 50 exhibitions, providing an unprecedented showcase for Russian art, as well as European, American, and Asian visual artists.
The Second Moscow Biennale (March 1 – April 1, 2007) solidified the international renown of this event. The main project, entitled “FOOTNOTES on Geopolitics, Market and Amnesia,” showed the works of 115 artists from 20 countries. Five exhibitions, which were part of the main project, were united by one theme and realized by different curators and curatorial teams. This Biennale was organized through 40 venues, including the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow Contemporary Art Center Winzavod, and the Moscow Museum of Modern Art.
The Third Biennale (September 24 – October 25, 2009) took place at the Garage Center of Contemporary Culture. The commissioner of the Biennale was Joseph Backstein, and the main project curator was Jean Hubert Martin (France). The organizing committee comprised the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Moscow Government, the State Museum and Exhibition Centre ROSIZO, and the Moscow Biennale Art Foundation. This Biennale’s exhibition program included the main project, which presented 80 artists from Europe, the United States, Asia, South America, Africa, and Oceania, as well as more than 39 special projects and seven special guest shows.