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The Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow.
The Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow.

Former Stedelijk Museum Director Beatrix Ruf to Join Moscow’s Garage Museum

Beatrix Ruf, the embattled former director of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, is joining the team of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow. The institution revealed that its director, Anton Belov, will work with Ruf on a long-term development plan for the museum in an announcement about its upcoming programs and exhibitions on Friday, November 1. Ruf will also help Garage develop exhibitions, educational initiatives, and partnership projects for 2020.

The veteran museum leader, who previously directed the Kunsthalle Zurich, became embroiled in a controversy ignited by Dutch media reports which accused Ruf of mismanaging the Stedelijk in 2017. She stepped down from the helm of the institution while defending her decision to continue running a consultancy business after accepting the directorship. The move caused critics to question whether her activities outside of the Stedelijk created conflicts of interest for the museum.

The allegations against Ruf were eventually overturned by a team of independent researchers that was hired by the Municipality of Amsterdam to investigate the events leading up to Ruf’s resignation. In a 120-page report, the researchers concluded that Ruf had been “wrongly accused.” She later told the New York Times that the whole affair was a “misunderstanding.” The controversy eventually led to the resignation of several members of the Stedelijk’s supervisory board. The museum appointed Truze Lodder as interim chair of the board and tasked her with filling its vacant spots.

At the Garage Museum, Ruf will assume some of the responsibilities that were previously held by its ex-chief curator, Kate Fowle, who left the institution to head MoMA PS1 in New York in September. “We started working with Beatrix Ruf a number of years ago, when she became a member of the museum’s advisory council,” Garage director Anton Belov said. “It is clear that her vision for the development of Garage aligns with ours, and expands it. We’re very excited to bring her on board.”

Next year the institution will offer a year-long concert series, new lecture courses on Russian contemporary art, and its first issue of the publication The Garage Journal. The museum will also present Garage Live performance projects; host the eighth Garage International Conference, which will explore the relationship between art and technology; and expand its work with the migrant community through docent training programs and other initiatives.