In Moscow there are several “Central Someone’s Houses”. I already mentioned “The Central Composer’s House”. There’s also “The Central Artist’s House”. It’s a big gallery outside Gorky Park. Yet again i felt how small Moscow became when i grew up: Gorky Park is on the Circle Line of the Metro, which is, like, really far away from the center – but that’s what i thought as a kid. Apparently the Kremlin and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior can be seen from Gorky Park and if one is not in a hurry, it is within walking distance.
So, back to The Central Artist’s House – we didn’t go in. We are stupid Israelis without any patience for serious art, museums, galleries and all that crap that those old boring European cities like Paris and Moscow are so full of, so we had more than enough art in the underground pedestrian crossing, where private dwellers tried to sell pretty paintings of dachshunds, horses, babies, churches and Putin. Some even had character. Hadar is not so much into modern avant-garde and all that silly stuff that they put in the fancy bohème galleries, so the realism of these peddlers’ merchandise was perfect for her.
The goal of the trip was the “Salon” – in Russia by “Salon” they usually mean a large shop dedicated to something, in this case – art, of course. Hadar bought herself colours, brushes and stuff. Nice selection.
Outside the Salon i saw a disassembled Moskvich.
Than we moved on to a garden of sculptures on the Moskva embankment on the way to the Kremlin. More art, but in a quiet green setting. Some old statues from the communist era were brought there. I liked the impressive thoughtful Stalin with a pipe. Whoever put the plaque there felt obliged to say that the statue has an artistic and historical importance. It’s like an apology; Like, otherwise they’d simply demolish it just like they erased all memory of Stalin from everywhere else. I don’t like this. He was a dictator, an antisemite and a war-monger, but he did some good things for Russia. And he beat the crap out of Hitler (and yes, if he was smarter and more moderate, he could have prevent the war altogether, but nevermind). They could, for instance, keep the name of the city of Stalingrad – now it just remained as a name of a famous battle and nobody knows where Stalingrad is. OK, ’nuff said about that.
In that park there was also a cute modern statue of Einstein and Bohr with pipes. Do you see a pattern?
Then we heard bells. We thought that they’re coming from Christ the Saviour’s, but then we found that it was a show. A guy on a long green gown played on hung metal plates. It was nice, but i could play them just as well.
We’ve seen the world famous “Red October” chocolate factory on the other side of the river. It smelled good.
On the way to Christ the Saviour’s Cathedral there’s a Soviet office building, with a name that Hadar really liked: Моспромстройматериалы. Whether by coincidence or not, this organization was one of the contractors that built the cathedral; No wonder the cathedral’s so fucking huge. Outside of it there’s brand new statue of Alexander II. The engraving on the statue says: “Murdered in a terror act”. I’m not sure they called it terror back in 1881. And the funniest part about Alexander II is that the modern Russian liberals and not the monarchists are his greatest fans that supported building the statue. Weird, weird country.
All that time we didn’t eat. We talked to Roma, and decided to meet in the famous “Filippov” bakery on Tverskaja street. It took me too long to realize that it was not longer a bakery, but just a “Coffee Bean” place. What a disappointment. We ate too much sweet things there. Hadar and Roma spoke about black and white analog photography. I was happy about one subtle thing, though: Most of the coffee shops in Moscow are called кофейня (kofeynja) and not кафе (kafe) as they used to be in Soviet times. Кофейня has an older aroma – pun intended.
Then Roma drived us around the city, but Hadar was already tired and hardly noticed anything. Roma told us about the Moscow bikers – apparently many of them are wealthy businessmen, “New Russians”, who are so bored they drive around the city, holding dangerous races on the not-so-empty streets. We actually saw some of them, too.
Good night. Let’s hope for better bread tomorrow.