The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Sunday, September 21, 2014

Ukrainian museum director destroys critical painting ahead of president's visit
Painted over work.

By: Richard Solash

KYIV.- Natalia Zabolotna’s primary job as director of the Mystetskyi Arsenal art museum in Kyiv was to oversee the pieces under her roof.

But on July 25, the night before a visit by President Viktor Yanukovych and the opening of an exhibit meant to celebrate Ukrainian heritage, she took a can of black paint and doused a piece that she deemed “immoral.”

A day later, the destruction of artist Volodymyr Kuznetsov’s “Koliivschina: Judgment Day” has prompted the resignation of the museum’s deputy, helped fuel a street protest, and triggered alarm within the country’s artistic community.

Speaking to RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, Kuznetsov expressed shock at the destruction of his piece.

“I had agreed to come on Thursday night (July 25) to finish the work. In the afternoon, I was not allowed to come inside,” he said. “At first, I did not know that my work had been painted over.”

The painting, a mural measuring 11 meters by 5 meters, showed a flaming nuclear reactor with priests and judges semi-submerged in a vat of red liquid. A car that appeared to be carrying officials was shown plunging into the vat — likely a reference to the numerous traffic accidents caused by officials in the country. A hodgepodge of other figures were grouped alongside, including what appeared to be the image of Iryna Krashkova, the woman who accused two police officers and a civilian of beating and raping her last month. Her case has prompted a wave of protests.

Zabolotna, who has since apologized for destroying the work, cited the nature of the exhibit in explaining her actions. “Great and Grand,” as the exhibit is called, opened to the public this week in commemoration of the 1,025th anniversary of the baptism of Kievan Rus, the medieval kingdom that laid the Orthodox foundation for modern-day Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine.

In comments printed in the publication “Left Bank,” Zabolotna said the exhibit “should inspire pride in the state.”

“You cannot criticize the homeland, just as you cannot criticize your mother. I feel that anything said against the homeland is immoral,” she added. Zabolotna also claimed that Kuznetsov had diverged in his work from the concept that was previously agreed upon.

The same explanation was cited by the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture, which denied any involvement in the incident. Some observers have suggested that Zabolotna was under pressure to get rid of the work ahead of Yanukovych’s visit. Others suggested that she may have feared the state would cut funding to the museum over the painting.

But Kuznetsov said the act was unforgivable.

“No one has the right to destroy somebody’s work, especially to do this without permission,” he said. “Perhaps there is a hierarchy at Arsenal and it is against such a hierarchy — state and religious — that my work is directed.”

Another artwork, “Molotov Cocktail” by Vasyl Tsygalov, was also reportedly removed from the exhibit ahead of its opening.

The controversy helped fuel a small protest that was held outside of the museum on July 26. Eight people were arrested for holding the unsanctioned rally against what they described as the mixing of church and state in Ukraine and official censorship.

The incident has also led to two resignations. Kateryna Stukalova left her position as the editor in chief of the journal “Art Ukraine,” which was founded by Zabolotna. Alexander Solovyov, the deputy director of the Mystetskyi Arsenal museum, also stepped down in protest.

Speaking to RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, he said, “This is not censorship but self-censorship. In the work of Kuznetsov, I see nothing more terrible than our life.”

Written by RFE/RL correspondent Richard Solash based on reporting by RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service.

Today's News

August 3, 2013

Exhibition in Edinburgh sheds new light on Leonardo da Vinci's anatomical drawings

Christie's and The Saatchi Gallery announce auction of contemporary sculpture and installation

Ukrainian museum director destroys critical painting ahead of president's visit

Mostly West: Exhibition transforms Inverleith House into a series of highly distinctive rooms

The National Gallery of Canada mourns the loss of great Canadian artist Alex Colville

Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art Chief Curator named Interim Museum Director

Met Museum reaches one million visitors to new American Wing Galleries

Original vintage studio stills to be offered at Blacksparrow's Auction of Photography and Autographs

"Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg" on view at the Contemporary Jewish Museum

Pablo León de la Barra appointed Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Latin America

Ashmolean Museum announces exhibition partnership with Hall Art Foundation

37 contemporary Chinese artists and artist groups exhibit at Groninger Museum

Museum of London and tv shopping retailer QVC sign license agreement in industry first

University Art Galleries at the University of South Dakota feature 'Dust, Metal, and Stone' exhibition

Australian miner fined for desecrating Aboriginal site

Exhibition of new black and white Abstract Expressionist oil paintings by Lilly Fenichel opens

Exhibition showcases the tremendous aesthetic and material diversity of prayer beads from across Asia

US halfway house ordered for Chinese vandalism suspect

Disputed quotation erased from Martin Luther King monument

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Fever mounts as stunning statues found at Alexander The Great-era tomb

2.- Hi-tech underground scans reveal vast complex of monuments at Britain's Stonehenge

3.- National Geographic Museum opens exhibition featuring shark-munching Spinosaurus

4.- First major New York City exhibition to explore Vienna Actionism opens at Hauser & Wirth

5.- Elizabeth I 'airbrushed' for 18th century make-over and a bug is found in Edward VI

6.- Award winning Swedish director Daniel Fridell to direct Kalliope Films' Vincent Van Gogh biopic

7.- Comprehensive retrospective exhibition of Joan Miró's work opens at the Albertina

8.- Synchrotron radiation technology in art conservation: Science to the rescue of art

9.- Mona Kuhn's first solo exhibition in the US opens at Edwynn Houk Gallery

10.- Sotheby's announces details of its sales series for Property from the Collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon

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 - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

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