Exhibitions Controversies News Russian Federation

Moscow cancels YBA show over tensions in Ukraine

Russian sponsor pulls out of British Council-organised exhibition, a planned highlight of UK-Russia year of culture

No chance for "Sensation" style crowds in Moscow

The British Council has confirmed that a show on the Young British Artists (YBAs) in Russia has been cancelled because of international tensions over Ukraine, as we originally reported in our June issue (The Art Newspaper, June 2014, p3).

In a statement, the council explains that the Moscow venue for the exhibition, the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation, has “reluctantly had to withdraw due to not being able to raise the sponsorship funding they had originally been confident of achieving”. The money was promised by Vladimir and Ekaterina Semenikhin, who finance the Ekaterina Foundation. They later decided against sponsoring the YBA show because of Western criticism over Russian intervention in Ukraine.

The British Council and the Russian organisers of the exhibition “London Calling: Breakthroughs in British Art 1986-98” tried to find an alternative venue, but this proved impossible. It has therefore been decided to try to mount the exhibition in 2016, again at the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation. Finding sponsorship is likely to prove difficult while relations between the two countries remain tense. The YBA show had originally been billed as one of the visual arts highlights of the 2014 UK-Russia Year of Culture.

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