Stella Art Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 2003 by Stella Kesaeva. The Foundation’s objectives are cultural exchange and support of Russian art and young artists
One of the Stella Art Foundation’s basic objectives is promoting the works of young artists in Russia and abroad by arranging major exhibitions. Many of them are collaborations between the Foundation and governmental, civil society and private cultural institutions. The first result of this kind of partnership was Ilya and Emilia Kabakov’s exhibition “An Incident in the Museum and Other Installations” organised in 2004 by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the State Hermitage Museum in the Hermitage’s General Staff building. That experience confirmed the Foundation’s ambition to promote contemporary Russian art in Russia’s state museums and also abroad. As further examples, a series of exhibitions were held in conjunction with the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna: in 2008 “That Obscure Object of Art” (curator Vladimir Levashov); in 2009 “Igor Makarevich, Elena Elagina. In situ” (curator Boris Manner); and in 2011 an exhibition of works by Boris Orlov called “Circle of Heroes” (curator Evgeny Barabanov). In 2009 and 2011, as part of cultural exchange and in collaboration with the State Museum of Contemporary Art (MOMus) in Thessaloniki, projects to exhibit a broad cross section of the Russian art scene were undertaken. The Foundation curated Moscow’s pavilion at the ninth Shanghai Biennale for contemporary art, was a partner in presenting dOCUMENTA (13) and carried out a joint project with the State Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg. In 2019 together with the Pushkin State Museum, the Foundation arranged the well-received exhibition “There is a Beginning in the End” at the 58th Venice Biennale of contemporary art.
Stella Art Foundation is currently building a collection of its future museum of contemporary art, to feature works of Western and Russian artists. A full catalogue of the Foundation’s collection was published in 2009. The Museum is expected to open within the next ten years.
SUPPORTING YOUNG RUSSIAN ARTISTS
Stella Art Foundation in 2006 established the New Generation award category as part of the Innovation Contemporary Art Competition organised by the National Centre for Contemporary Arts in Moscow. Each year the Foundation devotes itself to mounting exhibitions of young Russian artists both in Russia and abroad.
The Moscow Poetry Club gathered at the Stella Art Foundation in 2008 and 2009. In addition to its regular meetings featuring freewheeling discussions of various texts and current problems in literature and art, the Club also offered Poetry Evenings. In 2009 a programme of the Moscow Poetry Club was included in the 53rd Venice Biennale. From 2010 to 2013 the Foundation offered Evenings in Skarytinsky, a project curated by poet Lev Rubinshtein.
AT THE VENICE BIENNALE
Stella Kesaeva was appointed commissioner of the Russian pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2011, 2013 and 2015 by order of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation dated 29 June 2010. The Stella Art Foundation was in charge of the planning and execution of exhibitions at the 54th, 55th and 56th Venice Biennale. Andrei Monastyrsky’s project and the Collective Action and Empty Zones groups curated by Boris Groys were presented in 2011. Artist Vadim Zakharov in 2013 commissioned an installation with performances entitled “Danaë” curated by Udo Kittelmann. In 2015 Irina Nakhova created the multimedia project “Green Pavilion” curated by Margarita Tupitsyna.
Stella Kesaeva is a philanthropist as well as a collector and patron of the arts. She has brought about a series of major exhibitions covering topics in contemporary culture and the visual arts in Russia and abroad. She was awarded the Innovation Prize in the category of Support for Contemporary Russian Art (2010). She was the commissioner for the Russian pavilion at the Venice Biennale (in 2011, 2013 and 2015) and received the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art (2011). In 2016 she earned the Personal Contribution Prize from The Art Newspaper Russia.