Provocative, hellish artist bro-duo Jake and Dinos Chapman were criminally investigated in Russia this week after the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia received several nearly identical letters complaining that the Chapman’s minor show piece of crucified Ronald McDonald was offensive to their religious views. The letters demanded that the Hermitage Director Mikhail Piotrovsky be criminally liable for the blasphemous “No Fun” exhibition. Piotrovsky, in turn, called such statements ”culturally degrading to our society.”
Getting those Pussy Riot shivers, are you?
No worries. A public persecutor examined the letters and sided with the bros. But don’t cheer yet. Meanwhile, two Pussy Riot activists convicted for “hooliganism with the intent to incite religious hatred” aka dancing in a church for 40 seconds are still serving hard gulag time and the YouTube video of their performance has been banned. Oh, and that cutesy Mickey Mouse as Jesus painting that almost landed two of Russia’s most notable curators in jail under the tricky anti-alleged religious hate speech Article 282? Still illegal.
We are thinking about a conference aiming at a focused analysis of the issues regarding provocation and blasphemy in the art world. We won’t book some marginal personalities; on the contrary, the invited speakers will feature noble historians, theologians, lawyers and intellectuals. I believe that such a discussion is desperately needed in the Russian society.
The Chapman Brothers, last year at White Cube:
(Photo: Klaas Anton Mulder)