“A sunny industry for shady people”: Inside the world of Oligart

How the art world helped launder the reputations of the kleptocratic classes — and created a modern monster in the process

A magical summer night at Moscow’s Garage Museum, where the champagne flows in rivers and the caviar is stacked in piles big enough to be visible from space. Dasha Zhukova and her husband Roman Abramovich have pulled out all the stops to inaugurate their new gallery and invited the biggest names in art, fashion and Hollywood.

There’s Karlie Kloss, George Lucas, Stella McCartney, Arianna Huffington, Miuccia Prada, Wendi Deng and, this being 2015, also Harvey Weinstein. Tiravanija, the Thai concept artist, gives a performance and the Kuban Cossack Chorus yodel out their hits. The sexy tunes of Michel Gobert, who does Dior’s runway music, float out from the rooftop long past midnight.

The gossip columnists are having the time of their lives: the place is packed with stars who, after several Beluga vodka cocktails, are happy to be papped and pay tribute to their hosts, Zhukova and Abramovich. “You know how people make guest lists for their fantasy dinner parties?” the artist Jeffrey Deitch coos to an interviewer. “Dasha not only did that, but everybody actually came.”

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