Russian election mocked in Moscow's art galleries

0 Posted by - March 3, 2008 - Blog

While I was milking a free litchi cocktail at the Canadian Centre for Architecture late Saturday night during Montreal's infamous Nuit Blanche, vodka connoisseurs on the opposite side of the Arctic Ocean were busy rubber stamping Vladimir Putin's choice of successor.

As president-elect, Dmitry Medvedev's first order of business was publicly promising a “direct continuation” of Putin's policies. Perhaps the only news less surprising was back in Montreal as our bartender announced that the pro-bono booze had run dry.

While some Russians were filing through the polls, however, others were hitting the art scene, as several galleries boasted election-themed collections. In an ArtInfo article, Valentin Diaconov discusses the artistic climate during the elections, focusing on five Moscow exhibitions that were directly related to the vote. Since Moscow has only fifteen or so contemporary art galleries, this feat is even more impressive.

From the article:

There is a long tradition here of a philosophic, almost good-humored approach to political power, and these political shows are steeped in irony, not activism. The Soviet habit of telling political jokes among close friends—jokes never published in the official press—survives in contemporary art. But perhaps this represents a positive development. Four years ago, when Putin ran for reelection, there were no election-themed art exhibitions in Moscow.

(Image: Konstantin Latyshev's “Medvedev”.)

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