Home Museum institution Hermitage Museum’s head of contemporary art resigns over Russian war in Ukraine

Hermitage Museum’s head of contemporary art resigns over Russian war in Ukraine


Dimitri Ozerkov, who since 2007 has headed the contemporary art department at the Hermitage Museum in Moscow, resigned from his post there in protest against Russia’s continued violent invasion of Ukraine. Ozerkov announced his departure on October 2 Instagram postfeaturing a manipulated image of an illuminated airplane emergency exit sign, in which he claimed he was leaving because “I don’t intend to have anything in common with the Russia today”.

Ozerkov revealed he made the decision to leave in March, shortly after Russia began its aggressive foray into Ukraine, and in the immediate wake of a story in the government-run Russian newspaper. Rossiiskaya Gazeta in which Hermitage director Mikhail Piotrovsky accused the West of trying to nullify Russia because of the country’s warmongering.

“After Russia sent its troops to Ukraine,” Ozerkov wrote, “dialogue and respect ceased to mean anything in Russia, news was replaced by propaganda that says nothing about the armed forces Russians accused of many crimes against the civilian population. As a Russian citizen, I also considered this shame as my own fault and I shared this opinion. Then my choice was to stop doing anything in and for today’s Russia.

Ozerkov, a specialist in 18th century and contemporary art, arrived at the Hermitage in 1999 as curator of 15th and 18th century French prints. During his time at the institution, he organized more than forty exhibitions, including those featuring works by Chuck Close, Jan Fabre, Antony Gormley, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, and Anselm Kiefer. In 2011 and 2015, he oversaw the Hermitage Museum’s projects for the Venice Biennale, showcasing the work of Dmitry Prigov and the 2015 Glasstress Gothika exhibition, respectively.

Ozerkov also left the St. Petersburg City Council of Culture. “I greet all those for whom the Greek word Exodus, used by the authors of the Septuagint, has become the only possible way out of the current situation,” he wrote, concluding: “Russia has ousted us all those who wanted nothing but good. his culture “.