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Exposition RUSSIA!, which is to Open in Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on September 16, 2005, was Presented to Journalists at a Press Conference at ITAR-TASS Headquarters.

Exposition RUSSIA is a joint project of the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography, V. Potanin Charity Fund and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. It will be the most comprehensive exhibition of Russian art ever sent abroad. With more than 250 objects, this innovative exhibition will feature the greatest masterworks of Russian art from XIIth century to the present. The works will be on loan from Russias greatest museums the State Russian Museum, the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Hermitage Museum and the Kremlin Museum, as well as regional museums. The exhibition will also feature a selection of first-class Western European paintings and sculptures from the imperial and merchants Sergei Shchukin and Ivan Morozov art collections.

The press conference was attended by: Mikhail Shwydkoi, Head of Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography; Larissa Zelkova, Director General, V. Potanin Charity Fund; Pavel Khoroshilov, Deputy Head, Department of Mass Communication, Culture and Education of the Government the Russian Federation; Nic Iljine, Director Corporate Development — Europe & Middle East, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Mikhail Piotrovski, Director, the State Hermitage Museum; Elena Gagarina, Director, Moscow Kremlin State Historical-Cultural Museum-Preserve; Valentin Rodionov. Director, the State Tretyakov Gallery. The exhibitions curators are: Lidia Iovleva, First Deputy General Director for Scientific Work, State Tretyakov Gallery; Evgenia Petrova, Deputy Director for Academic Research, State Russian Museum; Zelfira Tregulova, Deputy Director for Exhibitions and International Exchange, Moscow Kremlin State Historical-Cultural Museum-Preserve.

Mikhail Shwydkoi said he was confident that those, who would come to see RUSSIA!, would be dazed: a whole layer of Russian art from XII to XXI centuries would be exposed in a laconic exposition space. He also stressed, that the goal of the exposition is a difficult, ambitious and interesting one: that is to show the contribution of Russia to the world culture, to demonstrate the diversity of spiritual and esthetic quests of Russian artists. According to Mr. Shwydkoi, the upcoming event will be a cultural and political one, as it is dedicated to the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of UN.

Mikhail Piotrovski believes that the exposition should demonstrate a Russian approach to the understanding of the national art history and at the same time it should be comprehensive to American people. It should be a ceremonial event at a state level, but at the same time it should have an interesting scientific concept. The choice of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum as the exposition place was not a random one: Russian State Hermitage and the famous American museum maintain close relations and cooperate with each other. Moreover, Vladimir Potanin, President of Interros company, is a member of Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Board of Trustees, where he represents the State Hermitage interests.

Nic Iljine told the journalists, that 6,000 copies of a 460-pages exposition catalogue RUSSIA! will be printed in the USA.

The exposition will be displayed in New-York only. The works from Tretyakov Gallery, which represent the biggest part of the exposition, had to return to their home museum before May 2006, when one of the most famous national galleries will celebrate its 150 Anniversary.