The curators of the Shchusev Museum of Architecture in Moscow have used the World Cup as a reason to hold an exhibit of the rich art and history of Soviet and Russian stadiums. The first half of the show is dedicated to sketches, drawings and photographs of some of the country’s great Soviet stadiums that varied in style from slightly avant-garde to solidly classical. The show highlights some unusual stadiums, like a U-shaped one, and brings to life the excitement of the first major sporting events held in the country. The second half is about some of the world’s best stadiums and the Russian stadiums built or reconstructed for this year’s matches, illustrated with models, photographs and designs.
For something entirely unrelated, while you’re at the museum check out one of the permanent exhibitions at the Shchusev: “David Sarkisian’s Office.” David Sarkisian was director of the Shchusev Museum from 2000 until his death in 2009, a beloved and colorful fighter for the preservation of Moscow’s architectural heritage. His office was also a legend — an unfathomable, cluttered mess. After his death, colleagues at the museum, relatives and friends preserved his office by recreating it in the Ruined Wing, an exhibition space he created himself. In 2010, a virtual installation of the office was presented at the Venice Architecture Biennale. It’s the ultimate non-sports exhibition.
The Karelia Pavilion at VDNKh is hosting a large exhibition about football in Russia and the Soviet Union. It is divided into three sections: the history of pre-revolutionary and Soviet football, a hall of fame honoring the best players of all time and the modern history of Russian football. This exhibition tells the story through cinematography, fine arts, animation, literature, photography, graphics and computer games. You can see Soviet and Russian football in rare news photos; admire football badges, banners and other fan and player attributes lent by collectors and sports clubs; listen to “the sound of the stadium” recorded in various stadiums over the years; and see photographs and examples of less well-known Russian footballers, like special village and women’s teams. In one area you can even play football on old Soviet slot machines and early computer games — and learn about virtual football promoted by the Russian Federation of Cyber Football. Basically, if you are curious about Russian football, this is the exhibition to see.
Check out these fine exhibitions while they last. And by doing so, extend the fun we’ve had celebrating the World Cup a little longer.