Photography in Russia has few friends greater than Olga Sviblova. The former documentary filmmaker created and financed the very first Moscow Photobiennial, in 1996, from her kitchen. Soon after, she founded the Moscow House of Photography, the first Russian museum to specialize in the medium. It’s no surprise that Sviblova, who is still the museum’s director and curator, is credited with having introduced modern artistic photography to post-Soviet Russia.
A champion of homegrown talent, Sviblova was deeply involved in the underground art movement of the eighties. Trained as a psychiatrist, she is equally famous for her days as a street cleaner during the Brezhnev era, a time of state-sanctioned repression of artists. Ironically, the Moscow House’s global critical success has now brought her a great amount of support from the government. At 18 Ulitsa Ostozhenka (temporarily at 1 Manezh Sq. until renovations are completed in early 2008); 7-495/231-3325; mdf.ru.