Born in Moscow, Maria Baibakova holds a BA summa cum laude in Art History from Barnard College, MA from The Courtauld Institute of Art, and MBA from Harvard Business School.
In 2008, Baibakova founded Baibakov Art Projects in Moscow, New York, and London - an organization that is committed to the support of contemporary art. Initially founded as an exhibition platform in Moscow, Baibakov Art Projects organized nine critically acclaimed exhibitions in Moscow. Through a rigorous program spanning over 40,000 sq ft of exhibition space across two venues, Baibakova helped launch the Red October Chocolate Factory district, home of today’s creative hub in Moscow.
Baibakova actively supports women in the creative industries, including via her role as the founder of the Artemis Council for women artists at the New Museum (New York) and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Women in the Arts (London), as well as part role as a trustee of Barnard College where she established scholarship for women pursuing art history.
Baibakova is an active investor in the art and tech sector, previously serving as Strategic Director and on the Board of Directors of Artspace.com. She is currently an investor in ArtBinder and an adviser to ARTA.
Baibakova was named one of the 100 most influential people in the art world by Art+Auction magazine In 2009 and 2014; “30 Most Influential People in the Art World Under 30 Years Old” by ARTINFO in 2012; and "100 Most Powerful Women in the Art World" by Artnet in 2014.
If anyone is to become Russia’s Peggy Guggenheim, it is Baibakova.
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Founded in 2008, Baibakov art projects was originally a private, non-profit art institution that functioned as an organization dedicated to the support and sustained development of cultural production. Originally based in Moscow, the organization’s primary focus was to build a cultural bridge between Russia and the world with a two-fold goal: to foster an understanding of global contemporary art in Russia and to support the presence and infiltration of Russian contemporary art in the rest of the world.
Baibakov Art Projects started as an exhibition platform that expanded to include educational initiatives, a publishing program, a series of commissioned work, and performances. It now functioned as a hybrid organization, on the cusp of a kunsthalle and a production fund, pioneering a new model of patronage to promote experimental art and cultural practice in Russia and abroad.
The organization was the first tenant of the Red October Chocolate Factory, opening its doors in December 2008 to a 3,000 square foot (3,000 square meter) exhibition space located on the 3rd floor of the iconic red brick building. Over a period of 2.5 years, the program featured exhibitions of over 70 artists including three group shows including the inaugural "invasion:evasion" featuring Russian artists, "Natural Wonders: New Art From London," which included works by Idris Khan, Doug White, Conrad Shawcross and Toby Ziegler, and "FIVE" featuring Wade Guyton, Sterling Ruby, Walead Beshty, Matthew Brannon and Kelley Walker. Baibakov Art Projects also presented three solo shows of Luc Tuymans, Olga Chernysheva, and Paul Pfeiffer.
Baibakov Art Projects revived a former House of Culture at Paveletskaya Naberezhnaya, refitting it as the venue for Perpetual Battles, an exhibition which examined the different types of violence underlying contemporary society. The exhibition was curated by Maria Baibakova and Kate Sutton along with guest curator Jean-Max Colard; it featured new and site-specific work by: Adel Abdessemed, Saadane Afif, Wilfrid Almendra, Latifa Echakhch, Claire Fontaine, Cyprien Gaillard, Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Cyprien Gaillard, Thomas Hirschhorn, Oscar Tuazon, Ida Tursic & Wilfried Mille, and Raphael Zarka. Perpetual Battles was presented as part of the Year of France in Russia 2010.