At the Boulevard of Broken Dreams - Turn Right

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March 16th 2018
Published: April 30th 2018
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A captivating diversion from the main sights of Moscow is the open air Muzeon Park of Arts (formerly the Park of the Fallen Heroes or Fallen Monument Park). It is located across the road (Krimsky Val) from Gorky Park. it is around the side and the rear of the Krymsky Val building in Moscow shared by the modern art division of Tretyakov Gallery and Central House of Artists. The park often turns up on dark tourism blogs and it is easy to understand why. It is both incredibly atmospheric and wonderfully photogenic.

The irregular and rather chaotic display is very arresting and provokes a strange range of feelings. The iconography used during the soviet era provides for a sense of nostalgic isolation, the sense of isolation further compounded by the few, fellow lonely tourists rapidly traversing the snow-bound park as if to escape an uncomfortable past and heading towards more accessible attractions. The park itself is impressive with several hundred statues. Many represent various soviet notables and senior apparatchiks. In total the collection comprises more than 700 sculptures, including some notable pieces by artists including Vera Mukhina, Ivan Shadr, Yevgeny Vuchetich, Yevgeny Chubarov.

During our visit in March there was still plenty of snow on the ground. The figures presented a rather forlorn and eerie sight, standing stoically in a a couple of feet of snow; who knows perhaps they are waiting for some form of rehabilitation. Highlights of those evicted from their original homes during their own very unique purge, include a huge steel sculpture of the Soviet crest, so familiar from childhood coin and stamp collections, innumerable giant pedestal-less Lenins, monuments to the Red Army, and a de-nosed Stalin. Many strike classically heroic socialist realism poses that always remind you of someone hailing (or about to hail) a cab, a popped collar on display and a briefcase stuck under one arm.

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