Museum of Everythings Russian roadshow

Museum of Everythings Russian roadshow

All the time in the world is not enough to see everything at the Museum of Everything. It is everything in every way. You can actually get lost in it. It is packed full of stuff. Passageways lead off rooms and up and down stairs to other cave-like rooms full of little wonders, found objects, collections of matchboxes and broken dolls. Large-scale oils sit alongside intricate sketches. Taxidermied squirrels box in a glass cabinet. Freak shows in miniature spring to life on the hour.

It is all-embracing, all-inclusive, welcoming art from amateurs and accomplished artists, from the homeless and the insane, the young and the very old. And now the nomadic museum – a charity which started life in a former dairy down a back street in Primrose Hill in 2009, and has since visited the Tate and the basement of Selfridges – is setting off on a tour of Russia.

The Large Red Mobile Museum of Everything, made of two containers painted red, will travel across the country to see what art and artists it can discover along the way. Nothing is arranged, other than the route. The idea is that self-taught artists will turn up with their work for consideration – as with the MoE’s residency at the Tate – and possibly be invited to loan their work to the museum’s various exhibitions en route.

‘We really just want to see who and what turns up,’ says the museum’s founder James Brett. ‘People can come and tell us about their art. The people who came to the Tate were so interesting. There was an old lady who painted from memory the landcapes she had visited, when she lived in Canada as a teenager with the Native Americans; there was a guy who worked in a call centre who doodled every day, with seven years’ worth of doodles that were just intricate and phenomenal works of art.’

Art will be hung in and around the containers, like travelling galleries, as the truck stops off at towns and cities, including Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, St Petersburg and Moscow. Brett chose Russia, he says, for its rich history of artists, thinkers, philosophers – which is sometimes forgotten today, in its more capitalist, consumerist culture. He wanted to discover that traditional creativity in the local people.

‘We’re open to whoever,’ says Brett. ‘Everyone from the dispossessed to activists. I’m hoping for an old lady with a giant quilt depicting, you know, the works of Karl Marx or something. It will all be quite jolly.’

The art tour’s final destination is Moscow, for a collaborative exhibition with Dasha Zhukova’s Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, of a selection of the art it has found along the way, plus works from the past three years. Exhibition #5, as it is called, will be housed in a temporary pavilion, designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and made of recycled cardboard, in Gorky Park during September and October.

The tour sets of on 2 August and ends in Moscow mid-September. For more information about the Museum of Everything or the tour, visit

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