The world's first gallery in a parking lot relies on young artists

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Sunday, June 16, 2024

The world's first gallery in a parking lot relies on young artists

In a corner of Moscow’s Zaryadye Park, hidden twelve meters beneath its flexible paving system, resides the world's first professional gallery housed within an active parking lot. This unorthodox stage for the arts, known as the Parking Gallery, represents an ambitious symbiosis of utilitarian urban design and contemporary arts, spearheaded by the imaginations of young artists.

Zaryadye Park, an architectural marvel christened in 2017, is the brainchild of the New York-based Diller Scofidio + Renfro and landscape architects Hargreaves Associates. This park, once inscribed in Time magazine's list of the world's 100 greatest locales, lies in the shadow of the mighty Kremlin.

The Parking Gallery is no accidental creation, borne of the park's spacious and lofty subterranean parking facility, which has served as a venue for an array of events since its inception, from fashion shows to music festivals. “It emerged that parking spaces with expansive lanes and high ceilings form an attractive backdrop for varied events,” shares Zaryadye Park's representative, Elena Voitsekhovskaya.

On September 2023, the gallery was opened by Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin with an inaugural exhibition spotlighting Russia's art schools. The event was attended by thousands of visitors. In December the 30,000 square-foot gallery has harbored stages of the international BRICS+ Fashion Summit, turning it into a vibrant educational hub with a youth-centric focus. Drawing in academics from leading fashion establishments including Cape Town College of Fashion Design, Amiti University of India, International College of Fashion in India, and Hubei University's School of Fashion Arts, among others, the gallery played host to a diverse and multicultural course in fashion design, attended by hundreds of Moscow students.

During BRICS+ Fashion Summit, an additional space within the Parking Gallery of Zaryadye Park evolved into a grand showroom, spotlighting the creative oeuvre of 130 young and emerging designers hailing from 25 countries, alongside the whirl of neighboring fashion house shows. Readers wouldn't be mistaken to imagine this underground arena as a pilgrimage site for fashion enthusiasts during the BRICS+ Fashion Summit.

Despite being under international sanctions, Moscow has scored a creative coup with the Parking Gallery. The project is a testament to the city's growing contemporary art scene, masterfully transforming a mundane parking lot into a progressive art platform, giving a run for the money to the capital's renowned galleries and exhibition halls.
While the conversion of abandoned urban spaces into artistic venues isn't new, the rapid success of the Parking Gallery is perhaps a singularity in the art world. Its speedy development within a metropolitan setting underscores a unique renaissance in Russia's domestic market for contemporary art. The amalgamation of art and urban life frames a bold urban vision, underlining the inexorable link between cityscapes and artistic expression.

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