Erarta is the largest private museum of contemporary art in Russia, located in Saint Petersburg.
The overall objective of the project is to collect, exhibit, and popularize most ingenious and skillful works by contemporary artists. The main part of the project is the museum of contemporary art "Erarta", located in Saint Petersburg. Besides the museum, the project also includes commercial galleries, a workshop, publishing and educational programs, as well as various cultural events and activities. Erarta was established with the idea of an ultimately open project not only to serve various categories of artists and visitors, but also encouraging cooperation with everyone who wishes to realize their ideas, both professionally and as an amateur. This means that Erarta project is under continuous development.
For the opening of Erarta Museum Dmitry Zhukov created two five-meter high figures – ‘Dawn’ and ‘Art’, they were installed on the stylobate of the museum building.
The museum aims to provide every visitor with an opportunity to discover the best works of contemporary art. The Erarta collection counts about 2,300 works by more than 250 artists who represent various regions of Russia. But for painting that is the majority of the collection, it includes graphics, sculpture, installations, and other types of modern fine arts.
When choosing works for the museum collection, staff assess them in accordance with the criterion of talent, not the artist’s popularity or adherence to a particular art movement. Erarta does not refer to prestigious authorities and does not offer ready-made viewpoints to its visitors, thus giving them an opportunity to make their own choice towards something that is most interesting and close to them.
The museum collection is exhibited in the museum wing of the building, as well as on the fourth and fifth floors of the gallery wing. The Erarta collection is much larger than the exhibited exposition and is going to be replenished in the future; parts of the museum exposition will be renewed. The big hall on the 5th floor houses temporary exhibitions of both artists represented in the Erarta collection, and of guest artists from Russia and abroad.
Self-portraits of artists in the museum collection are exhibited on five floors of the staircase in the gallery wing. Video interviews with Erarta artists are to be found on touch-screens in the gallery café on the third floor.
In the museum, visitors are welcome to book guided tours, individual or group ones. They may also rent an audio-guide at the registration desk on first floor. There are special themes and gaming excursions for schoolchildren.
Information about Erarta and its mission is to be found in the third floor hall. What is more, the electronic images collection is displayed there, which outnumbers the museum collection considerably. Visitors may order copies of images in the art shop or on the website.
On 30 June 2015, the collection of Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art became digitally available via the Google Cultural Institute’s Art Project.
In eight museum halls, there are experimental "U-spaces". Each of them is an independent art-object and may become a temporary private living space. The idea of U-spaces was conceived by Erarta. The projects themselves were created by the artists whose name are indicated together with the information on each of the halls. Every such space should evoke a set of associations in the visitor's mind and make him / her experience deeply private emotions. According to the artists’ conception, at first, these emotions might be closely related to name of the hall; further on, however, their development will depend on the visitor’s wish. Tickets to these halls have a time limit.
One of the cinema halls is equipped with another Erarta innovation – art-animation. These are short-length animated movies developed especially for Erarta that somehow continue certain paintings from the museum collection.
Often art-animation makes visitors develop a different understanding of a painting by either developing its idea in an unexpected way or anticipating it. DVDs with art-animations are available in the gift shop on the first floor. In the second cinema-hall author’s video-art is displayed. Both cinema-halls are open to visitors in the museum working hours. No extra fee is charged.
In Erarta, galleries located in the northern wing of the building display original works by artists who may not be represented in Erarta museum, which are for sale. The gallery on the first floor houses monthly personal exhibitions or artistic projects. Other Erarta galleries offer exhibitions by numerous artists. the exposition is regularly renewed and the cast of artists represented there is changed.
Erarta publishes a series of "Erarta" catalogues where art literature has prevailing importance. These texts are not done in the form of an article by an art critic. Rather, these are essays where the author expresses his/her personal associations evoked by a certain piece of art. On the Erarta website regular contests are held for the most interesting texts to accompany works from the collection.
Erarta publishes a magazine called "Non-StadArt". This edition is targeted at a wide audience including those who have no background in art perception but are inclined to discussions. Half of each issue is devoted to a vivid story about one of the artists represented in the museum collection and contains publications of his both famous and unknown works that do not necessarily belong to the field of painting.
Catalogues and magazines are available in the reference library next to the art shop in the lobby on the first floor. They are also available for sale in the gift shop or on the website.
The workshop and art shop
In the art shop on the first floor visitors may buy products of Erarta workshop: e.g., ready-made prints (copies of paintings on paper or canvas) and giclees (copies of paintings with final hand-made improvements), as well as order copies of any painting of the museum or electronic collection. Giclees and prints are sold in a tube or on a stretcher, as well as decorated with framework chosen by the customer from the wide range on offer.
In the art shop, customers may submit orders to have their interior decorated in wall-art technique. The image looks a part of the wall and not as an application. Examples of wall art can be seen in the lobby on the first floor, the café gallery on the third floor, as well as in enclosed offices.
The gift shop is on the first floor. There a wide range of designer souvenirs is presented, including author’s works in a single copy. Erarta bran-name products are especially remarkable. Here it also possible to buy Erarta printed editions. Any item sold in the shop is available for order and purchase on the web-site.
The Erarta Café restaurant is located in the basement floor, offering Russian and European cuisine. The Coffee Rooms is located in the central part of the third floor.