YBAs Russian Debut Cancelled Due to Lack of Funds

Damien Hirst at Gagosian Gallery opening, Beverly Hills, February 22, 2007. Copyright © 2014 Patrick McMullan.

An exhibition on the Young British Artists (YBAs) due to open in September in Moscow has been canceled, the British Council announced. The exhibition, London Calling: Breakthroughs in British Art 1986-98, would have been the first major show of YBA artists in the country and was planned as a highlight of the UK-Russia Year of Culture. The exhibition was to include works by Marc Quinn, Damien Hirst, and Sam Taylor-Johnson.

In a statement to the BBC, the council said, “Our partner and host venue, the Ekaterina Foundation, for reasons outside its control, has reluctantly had to withdraw due to not being able to raise the sponsorship funding they had originally been confident of achieving.”

Vladimir and Ekaterina Semenikhin, who finance the Ekaterina Foundation, had promised to support the exhibition.  However, they recently pulled that funding due to criticism waged by westerners and western governments, including the UK, over Russia’s involvement in the Ukrainian conflict, according to The Art Newspaper.

Though the exhibition will not be opening this September, the British Council hopes that it will eventually take place. “We’ve worked together to investigate a possible alternative venue—but this has proved problematic at this late stage. We have therefore agreed to postpone the exhibition, with a view to mounting it at the Ekaterina Foundation in 2016, and we hope that this will be possible,” it told the BBC.

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