Photo: Hermitage Museum

Palace Square is the heart of imperial Russia,” says Mikhail Piotrovsky, the director of the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. The heart of its immense collection is housed in the Winter Palace, the official residence of the Russian czars…

The current annual budget is close to $30 million and approaches $40 million when taking into account the Greater Hermitage Project. Partially funded by the World Bank, this expansion is transforming the East Wing of the General Staff Building into a showcase for contemporary art. Piotrovsky’s goal is to encourage a dialogue between classical and contemporary art, an exhibition strategy, dubbed Hermitage 20/21, that was launched in 2007 with “USA Today,” a show of contemporary American art from London’s Saatchi Gallery.

Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas is overseeing the reinstallation of the museum’s Islamic and Chinese galleries and working with the museum to conceptualize ways of incorporating the history that took place within the palace walls into exhibitions and to shape the museum for the 21st century. Everything is scheduled for completion in 2014, the museum’s 250th anniversary. The construction of the Staraya Derevnya Restoration and Storage Center, a state-of-the-art repository on the edge of town, will also be completed by then.


Sophia Kishkovsky
Art News