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Dasha Zhukova: art lady for an oligarch


Secular girl No. 1 in Russia, Abramovich's girlfriend, model Dasha Zhukova opens the Center for Contemporary Art in Moscow.

The Center for Contemporary Culture Moscow (CCCM) will be housed in a former Soviet bus garage. The first high-profile exhibition is scheduled for September, however, the unofficial start of the project will be given on June 12 at a private party. 

Dasha Zhukova is 25, and she has everything that is customary to dream of in Russia: dad is an oil magnate, a house on Rublyovka, her own penthouse in London, Abramovich in love and the opportunity to try herself in any business - from a pop star to a State Duma deputy . Not so long ago, Dasha and her childhood friend, the daughter of a London millionaire Christina Tang, founded the fashionable and, as it turned out, successful brand Kova&T. Now the clothes of this brand are worn with pleasure by almost the entire Moscow beau monde and a little Western. For example, actress Drew Barrymore, singer Rihanna, model Kate Moss are big fans of the brand. 

In recent months, Dasha and her other friend, Polina Deripaska, could often be seen at Moscow exhibitions of contemporary art. And just the other day, the financial world was shocked by a sensation: at the New York auction at Christie's, an anonymous person bought two paintings by contemporary artists for fabulous money - "The Sleeping Social Worker" ($ 33.6 million) by Lucian Freud (grandson of the founder of psychoanalysis) and "Triptych" by the British bohemian star Francis Bacon ($86.3 million). Cunning foreign journalists quickly deciphered the buyer - it turned out to be Roman Abramovich, who until now preferred football and yachts to art. Of course, a picture immediately emerged: Dasha became interested in art, Roman has money, a new and, it seems, already doomed to become the most important cultural center appears in Moscow. The infamous British singer Amy Winehouse was invited to the opening of CCCM (her performance will cost $2 million). And the first, September, exhibition in the new center will be the exposition of Ilya and Emilia Kabakov - the only world-famous contemporary Russian artists. By the way, very picky about the choice of venues - the Tretyakov Gallery, almost on its knees begging the Kabakovs for an exhibition, was politely rejected.

Here it should be added that eminent artists go, as it were, not “to Abramovich”. In September, a grandiose retrospective exhibition of the famous couple will take place at five Moscow venues. Its organizer is the Moscow Biennale Art Foundation, which has decided to hold exhibitions of contemporary art classics in even-numbered years when there is no biennale.

The first, of course, was the long-cherished Kabakov. In Russia, his exhibitions have not yet been shown, only individual works were shown. Now, partly thanks to Dasha Zhukova, we will be able to see enough of the legendary works, from which the whole world is delighted (although there are other rumors in Moscow that another star oligarch, Mikhail Prokhorov, allegedly finances the arrival of artists).

Girls prefer in garages

For reference: the bus garage, the so-called "Bakhmetevsky", was built in 1927 by the genius of constructivism Konstantin Melnikov. It is located at 19 Obraztsova Street. It has the shape of a parallelogram (this shape is the most convenient for parking buses). There are no partitions inside the garage - the building is made in the form of a huge indoor arena, and therefore it is suitable for gigantic installations. Like those exhibited in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Gallery, London's most fashionable venue. “This is a fantastic place,” says Dasha about “her” garage, “when I was there for the first time, I immediately realized that it was intended for art.” The most interesting thing here is this. The garage, an architectural monument, was leased by the Federation of Jewish Communities for 49 years. The head of the Board of Trustees of the Federation is the boyfriend of our heroine, Roman Abramovich. Thus, we have the second picture.

It-girls (that is, young, sexy girls from very wealthy families who love shopping and parties) seem to be seriously interested in modern art. The same, Ksenia Sobchak, for example, was recently noted in the Pobeda gallery at the Winzavod with an exhibition-clownery: 450 pairs of her own shoes, which were cut into pieces and squeezed in juicers. This means that soon their powerful male friends will also catch up with the girls. And this, in turn, means that in the next five years, contemporary art will be the most fashionable topic of high-society conversations. Well, football, of course.

Get out of Santa Barbara

In September 1983, a daughter, Daria, was born in the Zhukov family. Like most Soviet families, the Zhukovs at that time did not live much in a simple way. Elena was a microbiologist, Alexander (real name Radkin) - a graduate of Moscow State University - worked as a projectionist. No one imagined future millions and billionaire fiancés then. Twenty-something years later, Dasha will say, “Many people think that I got everything on a silver platter, and only I know how much work it all cost me.”

Of course, Dasha at first did not have to be as sweet as it is now. When she was two years old, her parents divorced. Mom and daughter left for Santa Barbara (USA): Elena was offered a job there. Dad, like everyone else, stayed in Russia to make money. First - through the computer business, then, of course, the flair led the future tycoon to oil. About how the future elite of the country was forged from ordinary Soviet engineers, books have been written and films made. Therefore, we will not delve into the topic. We only note that, while getting rich, Dasha's dad managed to sit in prison (for allegedly smuggling weapons), was acquitted, received British citizenship and in 1999, as the head of the English representative office of the Sintez oil company, moved permanently to London.

Dasha at that time turned 16. She grew up in the greenhouse conditions of Santa Barbara, went to a private boarding school, swam in the ocean and slowly forgot her native language (by the way, she still speaks Russian with a slight American accent). Like any parents, they wanted their daughter to have everything, not like people, but better. And therefore, in the same 1999, the girl, by mutual decision of the ex-spouses, moved to live with her father, in England (fortunately, at that time, Zhukov was already considered a full-fledged oil oligarch and, according to rumors, even had some business with Abramovich) . Settles in the penthouse of his father's mansion in Kensington and fulfills his old dream - he enters the London Institute of Naturopathy (College of Naturopathic Medicine) to study as a homeopathic doctor.

Naturally, the matter is not limited to studies. Dasha travels a lot around the world, hangs out, as befits a “golden daughter”, in the highest Parisian-London society, makes friends with Paris Hilton, friendship with the former editor of the Russian Harper's Bazaar Shakhri Amirkhanova and a chaotic romance with betrayals and scenes of jealousy with a handsome tennis player Marat Safin. Works as a model. Along the way, he understands that homeopathy is a rather boring occupation. And it is much more fun, say, to invent jeans. Starts designing jeans.

When a man is over 40

Finest hour Dasha Zhukova happened in February 2005. At the party after the Barcelona-Chelsea football match (it was held at the Barcelona Hilton Hotel), she - at that time Safin's 21-year-old official bride - was introduced to 38-year-old Abramovich. Chelsea then won and the governor of Chukotka was in high spirits. They say that for some reason he decided that it was Dasha who brought luck to the team ....

Be that as it may, for another year their romance was not obvious even to secular gossips. They say that at that time Abramovich was actively having fun in clubs, which, given his then marital status (wife Irina, plus five children), looked strange. Sometimes Dasha could be seen next to him. The yellow world press periodically exaggerated this topic, but not too actively.

The scandal erupted in the autumn of 2006. When the first timid notes about Abramovich's alleged divorce from his wife, former flight attendant Irina Malandina, began to appear, it almost went to the courts. The oligarch's lawyers said that there was no divorce, the Abramovichs were all right and, they say, if you don’t stop interfering in the personal life of the richest man in Russia, you yourself will regret it later. Then the official, somewhat hysterical version appeared: yes, everything is true. He leaves his wife, with whom he lived for 15 years, and five minor children. For the young. In short, he acts in much the same way as most men in view of the approaching 40th birthday ...

Abramovich is happy

The latest gossip about the scandalous romance: they are going to get married and even looked after a place for a future ceremony. Perhaps it will happen in the Italian church Nostra Signora di Bonaria in the village of Liscia di Vacca. The village is located next to Porto Cervo, the most fashionable resort town in Sardinia.

Abramovich is frankly happy and, wanting to spend more time with his young lover, slowly forgets even about his favorite Chelsea team. The last public appearance of the couple happened on May 21, during the Chelsea - Manchester United match at Luzhniki - Abramovich and Dasha sat together in the VIP box and looked equally saddened. Clearly, their team lost.

But on June 12, at a party in the bus garage, if, of course, Abramovich visits it, there will be a minimum of reasons for sadness. According to the plans, the party will take place at night. It will be a private party with all the major socialites, collectors and a performance by Amy Winehouse. The unusual voice of the singer will perfectly "fit" into the booming space of a giant garage. Especially for the guests, Dasha came up with the idea of ​​arranging a one-day (more precisely, one-night) installation by the bright Mexican artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and a small exhibition of the "authors" of the garage - Konstantin Melnikov and Vladimir Shukhov. After the party, the garage will be closed until September.

First lady

In general, by Moscow secular standards, Dasha Zhukova is a rather modest girl. When a paparazzi camera is aimed at her, she is visibly shy, despite her modeling background. He dresses simply - jeans, T-shirt, cashmere sweater. Flat shoes. He does not like heels, wears them only for special events. Likes, as befits it-girls, shopping. In one sitting, she can buy about 15 bags, as happened, for example, last summer in the London store Trussardi, where Dasha spent 118 thousand pounds. He has a negative attitude towards Vertu mobile phones, especially those with precious inlays, and an abundance of brands on one person. Dasha is also not indifferent to the old bookstores in London and driving a sports car on the highways near Los Angeles. Knows how to cook. Best of all, she comes out with a cake "Napoleon". Gets up early. Charming. He often uses English expressions in his speech. Not punctual. She reacts unequivocally to any attempts by journalists to find out anything about her personal life: "It is not discussed ...".

Perhaps in the future Dasha will indeed turn into a major specialist in contemporary art. Perhaps she will marry Abramovich. Her clothing brand Kova&T is sure to prosper. Most likely, Dasha will come up with some other pleasant activity for herself. Take, for example, politics. In at least one of the interviews, she admitted that she was interested in the topic. In any case, the fact that today Dasha Zhukova is perhaps the only Russian girl to whom the attention of the whole world is riveted is difficult to dispute.

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