Russian Artists, Curators Under Attack
Source:Artinfo Date: 2009-10-13 Size:
Russian authorities are using trials, harassment, and other forms of intimidation against curators and artists, while young artists all over the country are turning increasingly provocative and political in their creations.

 

Russian authorities are using trials, harassment, and other forms of intimidation against curators and artists, while young artists all over the country are turning increasingly provocative and political in their creations, Artnews reports.

One of the more prominent cases involves Andrei Erofeev, former head of the Tretyakov Gallery’s department of current trends, and Yuri Samodurov, former director of the Andrei Sakharov Museum and Public Center. They are accused of breaking a law passed in 1996 against inciting religious hatred. An exhibition they organized at the Sakharov museum in March 2007, “Forbidden Art— 2006,” assembled about 20 works that had been banned from exhibition that year because they were considered pornographic, anti-religious, or otherwise objectionable.

A case that has sparked protests all over Russia involves Artem Loskutov, a 22-year-old student and artist in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, who was arrested in May by operatives from the Interior Ministry’s Center for the Prevention of Extremism. Charged with marijuana possession and with “organizing a criminal group for mass disturbances," he is awaiting trial. Another highly publicized case is that of German Garik Vinogradov, whom Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov sued for libel in April. Vinogradov had rearranged the letters in Luzhkov’s name to create the anagram “ukluzhii vor,” which means “skillful thief,” but in June a Moscow court found Vinogradov not guilty.

The best-known provocateurs may be a group called Voina, or War, formed by students in the philosophy department of Moscow State University. A recent action by the group, "In Memory of the Decembrists—A Present to Yuri Luzhkov," referred to the killings of Central Asians that have become an everyday reality in Moscow, as well as to the mayor’s openly homophobic politics.

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