The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Russian feminist punk rock group Pussy Riot rattles elites in age of YouTube
Two members of the Russian feminist punk-rock collective Pussy Riot hold their trophy after they were awarded the 1Live Krone 2012 music prize on December 6, 2012 in Cologne, western Germany. They were given the prize in the category "special award". AFP PHOTO / HENNING KAISER.

By: Stuart Williams

MOSCOW (AFP).- Within the space of less than a year a group of young Russian women in 2012 went from being almost unknown provocateurs to global superstars and a symbol of change in their country.

The Russian feminist punk rock group Pussy Riot have only a half dozen songs to their name, no recording contract, have never held a conventional concert let alone sold an album.

Yet now they are garlanded worldwide as symbols of a battle for liberty and freedom of speech under Vladimir Putin, praised by personalities ranging from Madonna to Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi.

Their extraordinary rise would have been unimaginable in an age before social media and video-sharing, which helped turn fringe anarchists into celebrities whose trademark multi-coloured balaclavas are now instantly recognisable.

Internet media has allowed artists to try and break censorship at home and spread their message far beyond frontiers, be it Pussy Riot or the equally prominent Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

The most detailed examination of the Russian protest movement to emerge so far is not a book or a traditional documentary but a sequence of dozens of short Internet films called “Srok” (The Term) posted on YouTube and elsewhere.

The scrutiny of the protest leaders is by no means always sympathetic but the project was sufficiently explosive for investigators to last week raid the home of its director, the filmmaker Pavel Kostomarov who has now suspended the project.

--- Putin got scared? --

Pussy Riot first emerged in the autumn of 2011, initially an offshoot of the Russian street art group Voina (War) which had already won a name with subversive stunts.

Members of Pussy Riot had been involved in some of Voina’s most notorious actions that have included the mock hanging of immigrants in a supermarket and a group sex session in a Moscow zoological museum.

In their first major stunt in October 2011 they showered Moscow metro passengers with pillow feathers as they sang for an equivalent of Egypt's Tahrir Square in Russia.

They took to the roof of a prison building to serenade detainees arrested in an anti-Putin protest and then in January 2012 managed to perform on Red Square singing “Rebellion in Russia, Putin’s Got Scared” and letting off pink flares.

Only a handful of people saw the protests live but the group astutely mixed footage of the performances with studio-recorded sound to create a compulsive Internet video.

Even then the combination of aggressive rap-style lyrics in Russian to a base track of thrash rock was hardly to everybody's taste.

But what happened on February 21, 2012 made them impossible to ignore.

Four members of the group, kitted out in coloured balaclavas, tights and vests managed to perform a “punk prayer” in the altar area of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow imploring the Virgin Mary to “rid us of Putin”.

The action itself was chaotic and the girls were rapidly apprehended by security. But all was recorded, the performance was edited that night with a new soundtrack and that video has now been viewed 2.5 million times on YouTube.

In a trial denounced as a throwback to Soviet show trials, three of the girls were condemned to two years in a prison camp for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.

Images of them peering through the defendants’ cage in court created yet another indelible image while the trio were nominated for the EU's Sakharov prize.

One was freed on appeal but two remain in prison camps –- celebrated throughout the world and a painful thorn under Putin's skin.

-- Gangnam Chinese-Style ---

A few years back, the chances of a contemporary Chinese artist becoming a global freedom icon would have been about the same as Russian punk anarchists with a taste for thrash metal.

But as global perceptions of Putin’s Russia have been shaped by Pussy Riot, many ideas about China are now seen through the prism of its most internationally prominent cultural figure Ai Weiwei.

Ai’s exuberant parody of the video Gangnam Style by South Korean rapper PSY –- the most viewed YouTube video of all time –- on the surface appears charming but was deemed provocative enough for it to be blocked by the Chinese authorities.

The video shows the bearded artist in a bright pink T-shirt imitating PSY’s famous horse dance along with a cohort of assistants.

But in a symbol of Beijing’s efforts to silence him he pulls out a pair of handcuffs which are then used to dance a strange pas-de-deux with a fellow activist.

Ai, 55, has worked in numerous artistic media, including photography, sculpture, painting and architecture, but has become famous for a brand of performance art linked to political activism.

It has included a campaign to identify the children killed in school collapses during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, which cast a broad light on poorly constructed buildings and used video of officials and police trying to silence him.

Ai disappeared into police custody for 81 days last year as activists were rounded up amid online calls for Arab Spring-style protests in China and was then fined $2.4 million in a tax evasion case.

-- Full Circle --

At a time of uprising in the Middle East and economic crisis across much of the world, art and politics mixed more uneasily than ever as artists emerged as champions of rights causes.

At the end of Iranian director Jafar Panahi’s 2000 film "The Circle" about the daily lives of women in Iran, a prison door slams shut on a cell containing all the main female protagonists of the movie.

The Venice Golden Lion and Berlin Silver Bear-winning filmmaker was feted across the world as one of the most original voices of the Iranian new wave.

But he was given a six-year prison term and 20-year ban on making films for "making propaganda" against Iran’s Islamic regime. He is now under house arrest, awaiting the final verdict in his case.

Along with jailed rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh who is serving an 11-year sentence, Panahi was the co-winner of the EU’s Sakharov prize this year in what the organisers said was a message of “solidarity and recognition”.

Panahi nonetheless still managed to make a picture –-subversively entitled “This is Not a Film” -- about his daily secluded live which was smuggled out of the country on nothing more than a USB stick.


© 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse

Pussy Riot | YouTube | Moscow |

Last Week News

December 16, 2012

Napoleon's abandoned palace in Venice shines again after $3.2 million restoration

Exhibition at the Groninger Museum is tribute to the peoples and cultures of the Nordic countries

Royal Academy celebrates Diamond Jubilee with gift of 97 works on paper for The Queen

Staatsgalerie Stuttgart offers a journey through two hundred years of art history

Paris's Notre Dame, the iconic cathedral at the heart of the French capital, turns 850

Galerie Lelong announced the completion of a major new work by Andy Goldsworthy: Stone Sea

Spain's cultural treasures on exclusive U.S. tour from the Prado, Madrid, to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

A chamber orchestra of 20 children from Paraguay play Mozart with violins made from garbage

Iconic film car, 'Rain Man' 1949 Buick Roadmaster Convertible, brings $170,500 at Heritage Auctions

New installation by Morgan Fisher reflects on aspect of new Aspen Art Museum design by Shigeru Ban

Marklin 'Chicago' glides to $264,500 at Bertoia's $1.6M sale of Dick Claus collection, Part II

Solo exhibition of new work by Kathryn Andrews opens at David Kordansky Gallery

FACT's final exhibition for 2012 is Winter Sparks, an interactive programme of works

First survey exhibition of Goshka Macuga opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

Visionary women launch ambitious endowment campaign with $15M in gifts

Mexico's Mayas face Dec. 21 with ancestral calm

The Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga presents recent works by British sculptor Richard Deacon

Recent ceramic works by Elisa D'Arrigo on view at The Elizabeth Harris Gallery

First major solo exhibition in Europe of Yin Xiuzhen's work opens at Kunsthalle Dusseldorf

December 15, 2012

Video art pioneer Nam June Paik stars in Smithsonian American Art Museum exhibition

Yoko Ono picks up German human rights prize at Berlin's Checkpoint Charlie Museum

Exhibition of works from the D.Daskalopoulos Collection opens in Edinburgh

A masterpiece by Sandro Botticelli previously owned by the Rockefeller family will be exhibited in Russia

Norwegian artist Matias Faldbakken opens exhibition at Wiels Contemporary art centre in Brussels

Buhl Collection brings $12.3M - Highest ever total for a private collection of photos sold at auction

Smithsonian exhibition parallels the 1863 emancipation of slaves with the 1963 March on Washington

Film in Space: An exhibition of film and expanded cinema selected by Guy Sherwin opens at Camden Arts Centre

Stedelijk Museum presents first comprehensive Mike Kelley exhibition in two decades

Six weeks after, New York City artists seek help to scrub away superstorm Sandy's stains

Rachel Whiteread's Tree of Life voted best loved work of art of 2012 in a poll of museum goers

The Greensboro Collection, Part II, headlines Heritage's FUN Event, first major U.S. coins auction of 2013

Smithsonian scientists find that for every mammal species, the rainforest holds 300 Arthropod species

Aspen Art Museum announces $2.5 million gift establishing Nancy and Bob Magoon CEO position

Invisible Exports announces the New York solo debut of work and objects by Bob Mizer

Global Philatelic Library celebrates success and expansion

SFMOMA announces 2012 SECA Art Award winners

No bidder found for letters by 'Peanuts' creator

'Casablanca' piano sells in NY for more than $600K

December 14, 2012

Mexican archaeologists discover 1,000 year old cemetery in the State of Sonora

According to scientist from the University of Oregon, fossil find challenges tree of life as we know it

Sotheby's names President and CEO William F. Ruprecht as Chairman of the Board of Directors

Man jailed for two years for defacing Rothko work in London's Tate Modern gallery

Florida won't restore rights to famed American Museum of Natural History jewel thief

Terra Foundation CEO Elizabeth Glassman awarded French Medal of Honor

80-year-old Spanish botched fresco artist sells work on eBay for charity organization

Saffronart announces its Modern Indian Art Winter Online Auction 2012 taking place on 18-19 December

Henrietta Leon Girshman's Carnet de Salon leads Bonhams Russian Literature Auction

Tate announces groundbreaking £5 million arts award for under 25s funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Indianapolis Museum of Art commissions Spencer Finch for Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion

Spectacular British, Islamic collections headline Heritage Auctions event in New York

Beatles rock Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia Sale; Exceptional prices achieved for Beatles items

Hermes rules at largest luxury accessories auction ever: $3.2 Million

New series of works on paper, videos and a mobile sculpture by Roger Andersson at Poppy Sebire

New, purpose-built Vancouver Art Gallery will benefit entire visual arts community

Shaun Odell exhibits at Jack Hanley Gallery in New York

Sweden's ice hotel, a work of art for the here-and-now

Vatican austerity means donated nativity scene

December 13, 2012

Yale University Art Gallery reopens $135 million renovated and reinstalled galleries

Scientists at London's Natural History Museum seek to solve mystery of Piltdown Man

Michelangelo's David-Apollo returns to the National Gallery of Art in Washington

AXA Equitable donates Thomas Hart Benton's epic mural "America Today" to Met Museum

Hans Christian Andersen's first fairy tale found in Denmark's national archives

Mick Jagger love letters written to American singer Marsha Hunt sold at London auction

Dallas Museum of Art's Razor by Gerald Murphy featured in U.S. Postal Services stamp collection

Bowers Museum presents award winning costumes in "Cut! Costume and Cinema"

Fine art, exquisite antiques from Southern Calif. estates highlight Don Presley's New Year's Auction

Bonhams walks on Moon as illuminating space auction reaches the stars

Leading Turkish auction house Antik A.S. to offer Osman Hamdi Bey's "A Girl Arranging a Vase of Flowers"

The IVAM reviews the iconography of the American dream in the exhibition 'America, America'

Michael Winner sale makes £1.1 million and new record for EH Shepard at Sotheby's

RM Auctions secures upcoming sale of Texas' distinguished Don Davis Collection

The Wolfsonian-FIU receives $5 million to increase access to collection

Musical clock once owned by Egypt's King Farouk sells for £385,250

Dictionaries define success at Bonhams

Sotheby's announces first ever selling exhibition of contemporary art from central Asia and the Caucasus

Top results for Dali, Signac and Anker at Koller Zurich

Far from the Shire, a Hobbit house in Pennsylvania country

December 12, 2012

Johannes Vermeer's masterpiece "Woman in Blue Reading a Letter" travels to Sao Paulo

$6 million vase once owned by First Lady Lou Henry Hoover sells at Bonhams in San Francisco

Corcoran Trustees vote they will focus on approaches that keep the museum in the 17th Street building

Four letters by Tsar Nicholas II sold for record price of CHF 120,000 at Hôtel des Ventes de Genève

Van Gogh dazzles at Netherlands' Kroeller-Mueller; museum announced "Vincent is Back"

First U.S. Viewing of "The Jameel Prize: Art Inspired by Islamic Tradition" opens at Stanford

British artist and Turner Prize winner Simon Starling will create the Tate Britain Commission 2013

Founder of Cirque du Soleil exhibits photos taken on board the International Space Station

The Empty Quarter hosts photographer Steve McCurry's latest exhibition "Unguarded Moments"

Michael Hoppen celebrates 20 years in business with an exhibition from his collection

Zurich misplaces more than 5,000 works of art; expected to find most of the missing artwork

The prodigious son: George Maciunas returns to Cooper Union in a new exhibition

RISD Museum closes year with significant gift to cap Radeke Restoration Project

Renovations at Civil Rights Museum move forward

Design Miami/ reaffirms its position as the world's leading fair for collectible design with strong sales

The jewellery collection of the late Michael Wellby makes three times estimate in £2.8 million sale

New world record set for Howard Schleeter at Clars December 2012 fine art auction

Claudia Kleefeld's "Patterns of Nature: The Spiral and Interconnectedness" on view at LA Artcore

Man strips at Austrian art exhibition of nude men

December 11, 2012

"Cindy Sherman: The Early Works 1975-1977" opens at Centre de la photographie Genève

An aristocratic site in Bassing between independent Gaul and the Roman conquest

Art Basel Miami Beach presented premier quality works and strong programming

Winterthur announces that missing silver snuff box by Barent Ten Eyck has been located

Art auctions still soaring at Ketterer Kunst: High increases and many new customers

Exhibition in Milan explores the synthesis between colour, pictorial act, matter and form

Beauty and the beast: Roman goddesses and court dwarves at Bonhams sale

Russia's Hermitage denounces probe over modern art exhibit by Britain's Jake and Dinos Chapman

A tribute to the late Swiss artist Josephsohn on view at Hauser & Wirth in London

Early impressions by James R. Jackson on view at the Manly Art Gallery & Museum

French courts to rule in Chinese artist family feud between his third wife and his son from a previous marriage

Last King of France's ice buckets re-discovered and red-hot at Bonhams sale

Centre Pompidou Foundation appoints Sylvia Chivaratanond as the first Adjunct Curator of American Art

Sound installation conceived by Hans Tutschku for the rooftop of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts

Christie's New York wraps 2012 with over $163 million in jewelry auction sales

National Portrait Gallery presents 89 sitters in one innovative group video portrait

Painting of epic battle between British and American warships in 1813 for sale at Bonhams

House of Illustration raises 68,750 in "What are they like?" Celebrity Auction at Sotheby's London

Pulse Miami 2012 closes with record attendance, high museum sales and sold-out booths

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Galerie Miranda opens exhibition of works by Marina Berio

2.- Restorers unveil original face of Belgium's 'Mystic Lamb'

3.- Classic Beauties unveils the sensual enchantment of Neoclassicism

4.- Exhibition presents a dramatic survey of five hundred years of Spanish painting

5.- Glasgow blaze guts one of world's top art schools - again

6.- The Prado opens the first major monographic exhibition on Lorenzo Lotto's portraits

7.- Cleveland Museum of Art announces new acquisitions

8.- A record setting necklace, diamonds & gemstones propel $1.9 million in jewelry sales at Rago in June

9.- Czech Art Nouveau painter Mucha's masterpiece finds home after 90 years

10.- Exhibition at The Laing Art Gallery explores the garden as a "stage" for the extraordinary

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful