Erarta's superb hoard of 2800 pieces of Russian contemporary art trumps its somewhat far-flung location. Housed in an ingeniously converted neoclassical Stalinist building, the museum is spread over five floors, with the main galleries focused on the permanent collection. There are also installation spaces, plenty of temporary exhibitions, occasional shows, plus a good restaurant and gift shop.
The permanent collection is an excellent survey of the past half-century of Russian art, and is particularly strong on late-Soviet underground art. One nice curatorial touch is the frequent inclusion of objects depicted in paintings – a bowl of apples will sit, for example, in front of a painting entitled Apple Picking. It’s all terribly sleek, beautifully presented and the best place in St Petersburg to get a feel for contemporary Russian art.
From Vasileostrovskaya metro station, catch bus 6 or 7, or trolleybus 10 or 11 from the opposite side of the road.