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Why there’s no such thing as a free show

On the 99th anniversary of the October Revolution on 7 November, the brains behind Moscow’s Garage Museum of Contemporary Art held a panel at MoMA to discuss the museum’s latest initiatives, such as its inaugural triennial this spring. The Garage director Anton Belov sounded out founder Dasha Zhukova on advice about drawing in a millennial crowd, since the 35-year-old Zhukova may qualify as one. And the chief curator Kate Fowle probed some of the difficulties of introducing contemporary art to an audience that isn’t even that used to museum-going. “To begin with, we were not charging for any of it,” Fowle said of the Garage’s early days of free admission, “and what we found was people spent like one second inside. They would poke their head up and walk away again because they weren’t thinking, ‘This is special, I’m making a commitment.’” Now the Garage charges for exhibitions, although families can go for free.