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Moscow’s Garage Museum Is Reportedly Searched by Police

Various Russian publications reported on Friday that Moscow’s Garage Museum of Contemporary Art was being searched by local police, potentially in connection to LGBTQ+ literature that is thought to be housed at the institution.

On the social media platform Telegram, Ostorozhno Novosti, a local news channel, said that police officers were at a building that holds the Garage Museum’s archives. The museum’s leaders and curators were reportedly being kept from using their phones and were being held until the search ended.

The reasons for the search were not clear, but Ostorozhno Novosti speculated that it was related to the LGBTQ+ literature archived by the museum. Earlier this month, works put out by the left-wing publishing house Directio Liberia and tomes released by Moloko Plus, an alternative publisher that promises to provide “journalism that no longer exists,” were removed from Garage Museum’s bookstore, according to Ostorozhno Novosti.

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A man and a woman pose behind a couch inside a white living room.

Adding further confusion to the mix was a Telegram post from Podyom, which reported that employees at the museum denied that the search was still active earlier today.

A spokesperson for the museum did not immediately respond to ARTnews’s request for comment.

The Garage Museum of Contemporary Art was founded in 2008 by collectors Dasha Zhukova and Roman Abramovich, who were previously married; Abramovich is an oligarch that was sanctioned in the UK, the EU, and Switzerland in 2022.

That same year, as Russia invaded Ukraine, the Garage Museum paused its exhibition program, calling the war a “human and political tragedy.” The museum’s exhibition program has not resumed since then, although the institution has remained open, regularly hosting events, film screenings, and more.

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