Anastasia Karneeva on How to Enjoy Moscow | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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Anastasia Karneeva on How to Enjoy Moscow

Anastasia Karneeva on How to Enjoy Moscow
The historic Bolshoi theatre. It underwent a six-year renovation and re-opened in October 2011.
(© A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons)

At the ongoing Cosmoscow International Contemporary Art Fair, the Collector’s Eye program is taking an unusual turn this year in its efforts to help visitors “overcome their fear of missing out,” as described by the fair’s website.

“Fomo Sapiens,” is a pop-up center that in addition to showing some artistic highlights, provides visitors with some insight on practices such as meditation and mindfulness, because, as the curator of the program, Maria Kramer says, “Such practices are also indispensable in choosing artworks because only a state of complete concentration allows you to make a conscious choice.” 

The pop-up center is representing works of Russian and international Contemporary artists such as Evgeny Antufiev, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Cyprien Gaillard, Anastasia Potemkina, Alexander Povzner, Richard Prince and Sergey Sapozhnikov. 

Smart Art, a Moscow-based art consultancy, is behind the program. The organizers, Anastasia Karneeva and Ekaterina Vinokurova of Smart Art, say, “Let art lovers from all over the world know how rapidly collecting is developing in Russia and how diverse the interests of Russian collectors are.”

BLOUIN ARTINFO spoke with Anastasia Karneeva about how to best go beyond the fair and enjoy the city of Moscow as well this time of the year. Excerpts:

What are you most excited about this edition of Cosmoscow International Contemporary Art Fair?

I am excited about meeting new collectors and seeing lots of great art.

How long have you been living in Moscow and what do you like best about it?

I’ve been living in Moscow my whole life, and I like its vibes, the fact that it’s energetic and cozy at the same time. 

What is your favorite time of the year to enjoy Moscow and why? 

The city looks best in winter when it’s white. But June and September are the best months in terms of the weather and the variety of interesting events — most of the openings, great shows and premieres take place during this time. 

What are the places/venues in Moscow that you would recommend all visitors to not miss, even if they are coming for a short trip?

Garage Museum of Contemporary Art and the Gorky Park, where it is located, is a perfect choice for a relaxed walk with some light lunch at the museum’s cafe. I also love the newly restored MMOMA’s space at the Ermolaevsky Lane, and a great walking area around it.

What are the best places that serve international cuisine in Moscow for the palate of the global traveler?

I’m quite conservative in my food choices, but my top three are: Semifreddo- Mulinazzo, Remy Kitchen Bakery, and Rico.

What are the best restaurants serving local cuisine?

The best ones are the Cafe Pushkin, Uzbekistan, Mari Vanna, Dr. Zhivago.

Where would you dash off to for a quick coffee and/or snack?

I’d go for Coffeemania.

What are the best bars in Moscow to hang out at after a day at the fair?

The best ones are Why Not Wine, Severyane, Pinch.

What are the best streets to hang out at to get an idea of the city’s night life?

Stoleshnikov Lane and the Patriarch Ponds area are very beautiful in the night.

What are the best theaters to check out new plays and other live performances?

I’m particularly fond of the Gogol Center, the Theatre of Nations, and the Bolshoi is still on top.

Moscow has always been an integral part of the Russian literature. Who, among present-day writers, do you think describes Moscow best in his/her works? 

Victor Pelevin’s Generation “П” (known in English as “Homo Zapiens”) is a perfect description of the post-Soviet era and Moscow in the Yeltsin years, but at the same time it gives you a great feeling of what’s coming.

Any local activity that one must participate in to get the feel like a local?

Going to the bath-house would be a perfect choice for that.

What are the places a little outside of Moscow that one could check out in a day’s trip?

Arkhangelskoye Country Estate is nice with an annual Jazz festival taking place there each summer. It is also rather popular today to go to farms outside Moscow; you can even book a room there to spend a couple of days in the countryside.

What would you do if you had a free morning or afternoon in the city?

In the morning I’d like to eat something healthy like a cereal cooked with coconut milk and would go to an exhibition.

Where in the city would you go to catch up on a book or to catch up with a friend?

It would be nice to go to the MMOMA and to the Hermitage Garden nearby.

Where would you advise visitors to go shopping? Any place you recommend shopping for ethnic Russian wear?

I’d recommend going to the flea market.

What’s the best souvenir to take away from Moscow? And what are the best places to buy it?

Some caviar bought at the Usachevsky Market would make a nice souvenir.

What museums or galleries you would recommend one must definitely visit in the city, even if short on time?

I’d recommend going to the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts and to the new Tretyakov gallery.

Any walking trail you would recommend visitors to check out the city and/or the surrounding areas?

Gorky Park and the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.

Anything unusual or any hidden surprises about Moscow that guide books do not mention?

You’d be surprised how tasty the cuisine is, and how friendly people are, unless you know it already. 

Do you have any message for the visitors, about something that they should do or not do when in Moscow?

You should definitely go and eat some blini with caviar at Dr. Zhivago.

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