|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Saturday, February 24, 2018
|Moscow Curators Face 3 Years in Prison for 2007 Exhibition|
The director of Moscow's Andrei Sakharov human rights museum, Yury Samodurov gestures as he and other human rights activists gather outside a Moscow courthouse during a court hearing of Samodurov's case. After a 26-month trial, the two prominent Moscow curators, Andrey Yerofeyev and Yury Samodurov, are facing the prospect of three years in prison when the judge makes her final ruling in a few days, on July 12, 2010. The art work behind Yerofeyevis, formed part of the "Forbidden Art"exhibition put on by Curators Yerofeyev and Samodurov at the Sakharov Museum in 2007 as part of an effort to fight censorship of the arts, but it was considered profane by the Russian Orthodox Church. AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev.
By: Khristina Narizhnaya, Associated Press Writer
MOSCOW (AP).- One painting depicted Jesus Christ as Mickey Mouse, another as Vladimir Lenin. The 2007 exhibit was part of an effort to fight censorship of the arts, but the Russian Orthodox Church was horrified.
Now, after a 14-month trial, the two prominent Moscow art curators who put on the show are facing the prospect of three years in prison.
Artists and rights activists have appealed to the Kremlin to put a stop to the prosecution of Yury Samodurov and Andrei Yerofeyev, warning of a return to Soviet-era cultural censorship with the rules now dictated by a conservative and politically powerful church.
Even Russia's culture minister says the two men did nothing to break the law against inciting religious hatred.
But the prosecutors refuse to back down and have demanded a three-year prison sentence when the judge makes her ruling on July 12.
The exhibit "Forbidden Art" at the Sakharov Museum, a human rights center named after celebrated dissident physicist Andrei Sakharov, featured several paintings with images of Jesus Christ.
In one, Christ appeared to his disciples as Mickey Mouse. In another, of the crucifixion, the head of Christ was replaced by the Order of Lenin medal, the highest award of the Soviet Union.
Samodurov, who was the museum's director from its founding in 1996 until he stepped down in 2008, had already once been convicted of inciting religious hatred and fined the equivalent of $3,600 for an exhibit in 2003 called "Caution: Religion!"
The exhibit was closed a few days after it opened after a group of altar boys defaced many of the contemporary paintings, which used religious allusions to express attitudes toward religion, culture and the state.
But Yerofeyev, former head of contemporary art at the State Tretyakov Gallery, said they were unprepared for the enduring anger generated by the second exhibit.
Religious ultra-nationalist groups won the support of the Russian Orthodox Church in pushing prosecutors to bring charges in 2008 and then kept up their pressure on the two curators throughout the trial.
"In front of us opened a pagan wilderness," Yerofeyev said. "Old women shook with anger, they spat in my face."
The trial began in April 2009 and wrapped up last month, with hearings generally held one day a week. "On the one hand I had total freedom of action, I wrote articles, but once a week I visited the insane asylum," said Yerofeyev, whose brother Viktor Yerofeyev is a well-known writer and frequent contributor to The New Yorker.
He said members of Narodny Sobor, or People's Assembly, threatened him in court and told him to remember the fate of "Caution: Religion!" curator Anna Alchuk. After she moved to Berlin, her body was found floating in the Spree River in 2008. German police said Alchuk most likely killed herself, but her husband blamed her death on persecution she faced as a result of the exhibit.
Narodny Sobor director Alexander Lapin denied any threats were made against the defendants. Judge Svetlana Alexandrova told them to take their complaints to the police, Yerofeyev said. Prosecutors refused to discuss the case until after the verdict was issued.
The defendants and their lawyers said the court proceedings were biased in favor of the prosecution and they fully expected to be found guilty.
Yerofeyev said the aim of the "Forbidden Art" exhibit, which comprised works that had been banned from shows at major museums and galleries in 2006, was to show the reality of censorship. Religion was not the intended theme, he said.
The Mickey Mouse as Jesus painting was intended to illustrate the mixing up of facts in a child's mind, he said. A child hears about the Bible from his parents while watching Mickey Mouse cartoons.
In a letter sent last month to Patriarch Kirill, Yerofeyev apologized if the exhibit unintentionally offended Orthodox Christians, but he defended the right of artists to use religious symbols in their work. He also criticized the church for joining forces with extreme nationalists.
The Russian Orthodox Church continues to stand behind the case against the two curators. "They should be punished," The Rev. Vsevolod Chaplin, a church spokesman, said this week.
Samodurov said the church was much more involved in this case than it was when charges were brought against him over the 2003 exhibit.
Rights activists see the trial as a sign of the expanding influence of the Russian Orthodox Church.
"The church has become an instrument of censorship like it was during czarist times," said Gleb Yakunin, 76, a priest and Soviet-era dissident who has broken with the church. "It wants to control culture."
Lyudmila Alexeyeva, 82, a veteran rights activist who chairs the Moscow Helsinki Group, said she had little hope the defendants would be cleared, given the power of the church.
"I am very afraid for them," she said. "The church is now younger, more energetic."
Artists, rights activists, journalists and opposition figures have signed several open letters calling for the charges to be dropped. The latest letter, signed by some of the biggest names in Russian art, was sent last Friday to President Dmitry Medvedev.
"We are sure that a guilty verdict for Yerofeyev and Samodurov would be a verdict for all Russian contemporary art and would become one more step in establishing open and secret forms of cultural censorship," the letter said.
Leonid Bazhanov, director of the National Contemporary Art Center, said a guilty verdict would make Russia less competitive in the world art market. Foreign artists would be wary of bringing their works to Russia, while more Russian artists would leave the country, he said.
Marat Gelman, who owns a major Moscow gallery, said if the two curators were convicted, he would mount a new exhibit of works from "Forbidden Art."
"I will try to answer with strong actions in order to be heard," Gelman said.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
July 8, 2010
J. Paul Getty Museum Acquires Turner Masterpiece at Sotheby's for a Record $45.10 Million
Moscow Curators Face 3 Years in Prison for 2007 Exhibition
Researchers Find that Early Humans Ventured Farther North than Thought
Subway System Excavations Important for Archaeology
German Artist Gunter Demnig Revives Names of Holocaust Victims
Scientists Say Prehistoric Man Enjoyed 3D Cinema Too
Pipilotti Rist Presents New Works at Fundación Joan Miró
Paintings by New York Based Artists at Priska C. Juschka Fine Art
Gallery Launches Appeal to Secure First British Portrait of a Black African Muslim
SOFA WEST: Santa Fe 2010 Opens at the Santa Fe Convention Center
Rare Opportunity to View Seminal Event in the History of Chinese Painting
Mika Rottenberg's New Video Installation Debuts at SFMOMA
General Wolfe Triumphs Again, Painting Sells for 400,000 Pounds
Tenby Museum & Art Gallery Acquires Rare and Personal Gwen and Augustus John Material
Kendell Geers Presents an In Situ Production-Action in Murcia, Spain
White Cube Looks at the Pivotal Role of Drawing in Current Practice
"Good Design" in Europe and America, 1850-1950 at the Smart Museum
The Great Kings of India to Hold Court at the Art Gallery of Ontario
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- The Morgan explores the Medieval world's fascinating approach to the passage of time
2.- Experts discover hidden ancient Maya structures in Guatemala
3.- Egyptian archaeologists unveil tomb of Old Kingdom priestess Hetpet
4.- The Speed Art Museum and Italian Ministry reach loan agreement on ancient calyx-krater
5.- Major exhibition features artistic masterpieces from the glorious Church of the Gesù
6.- From Beowulf to Chaucer, the British Library makes 1,000 years of rich literary history freely available online
7.- Truck damages Peru's ancient Nazca lines
8.- Trish Duebber is new Coordinator of Youth Programs at Boca Raton Museum Art School
9.- Exhibition examines the way art, like language, was used to articulate a rhetoric of exclusion
10.- The Dallas Museum of Art announces gift of three major European works
Moscow Design Museum opens with an exhibition of Soviet post-war design
Moscow Museum of Modern Art opens exhibition of works of art from its collection
A masterpiece by Sandro Botticelli previously owned by the Rockefeller family will be exhibited in Russia
Moscow Museum of Modern Art opens Aidan Salakhova's largest-ever exhibition
Moscow Museum of Modern Art Presents a Solo Exhibition of Works by Andrei Monastyrski
Moscow Museum of Modern Art Presents Cultural Exchange Project: VoTH
Moscow Museum of Modern Art Presents Cultural Exchange Project: VoTH
Moscow Museum of Modern Art Presents an Exhibition of the Work of Ivan Chuikov
Two Russian Curators Plan Appeal Against Art Conviction
Russian Curators Convicted Today of Inciting Religious Hatred, but Not Imprisoned
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, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
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 *.