In April 2016, Ilmira Bolotyan signed up to the dating websites — Mamba and then Tinder — to meet new men and ask them out on a date at contemporary art exhibitions.
Over the year, the project has totaled 417 conversations with the men aged 20 to 53. The chat would mostly start with some greetings and the question ‘Shall we get to know each other?’ Less common was remarks about the artist’s look. Thirty-two men started the conversation with the questions about the museum, while seven people inquired about contemporary art.
In general, twelve dates took place at the art exhibitions in the GARAGE Museum of Contemporary Art, The Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val, Moscow Museum of Modern Art – Ermolaevsky, WINZAVOD Centre for Contemporary Art, Center RED, FABRIKA Centre for Creative Industries.
‘... the project by Bolotyan is based mainly on inversions. The artists asks the men out, but the purpose of the dating is to get them interested in contemporary art that has the stigma of illegitimacy. For the dating web-site users, who are far from being art professionals, the contemporary art is not at all inviting and attractive. An art exhibition date and a follow-up discussion after it may ruin the romantic event. Conversations between the artist and her vis-à-vis disprove these assumptions. The list of dates includes both the men who have never been even to the Tretyakov Gallery and those who have tried or dreamed about trying their hand at contemporary art. Some even feel gratified for being invited to the exhibitions. Contemporary art acts as communication system that encourages exchange and participation. The museum date would probably have been gone differently among the old masters with their privileged cultural status and traditional interpretation’.
Valery Ledenyov, from the ‘Museum Date’ exhibition text.
25.05.2017 - 12.07.2017
Curator: Oxana Polyakova
Fragment gallery, Moscow