Comrades in Art

With Russia's current art boom and the frenzied commercialization of its cultural scene, one haven remains where art is created for art's sake. Almost two decades after it was founded, Pushkin 10 is still a thriving institution, with 40 ateliers for the artists-in-residence (they don't pay rent), six exhibition halls, a publishing house, and a concert pro­duction com­­-pany. Visitors can often be seen passing through, hoping to catch a glimpse of the legendary underground scene that began in the late eighties—when anti-Soviet artists took over this derelict building—and culminated in the founding of the Russian Museum of Nonconformist Art a decade later. Some critics argue that time is passing the collective by, as a young generation appears disinterested in Push­­­-kin. But by providing a showcase for nontraditional performance art, creating an archive of independent work, and organizing festivals around the world, Pushkin 10 continues to push the boundaries. At 10 Pushkinskaya Ulitsa; 7-812/764-4852; —J.V.