Tuesday, October 24, 2006

READERS PLEASE TAKE NOTE...

...of a powerful and moving piece of writing by Kevin Tillman, the brother of Pat Tillman--the former football player who sacrificed a professional career and whose death in action in Iraq was mischaracterized for months by the military for propaganda purposes. You'll find it posted by a fellow reader in today's (Oct. 24) "Comments."

1 comment:

denn said...

NATIONALISM V. ART IN RUSSIA
from artnet.com

Creeping repression in Russia has once again reached into the contemporary art world, targeting the satirical artworks of the Blue Noses (Vyacheslav Mizin and Alexander Shaburov). On Friday, Oct. 20, 2006, English dealer Matthew Bown was stopped at the Moscow airport and detained after he attempted to take a series of 11 photographs by the Blue Noses with him for an exhibition at his London gallery, scheduled to open Nov. 9-Dec. 2, 2006. The works in question show men in their underwear lounging on a couch -- apparently wearing cutout paper masks of Russian president Vladimir Putin, Osama Bin Laden and George W. Bush. Bown was released after being questioned for approximately nine hours, and allowed to return to London -- though without the Blue Noses photographs.

The customs agents reportedly said that the photos violate a Russian law prohibiting offensive depictions of public officials. They were also concerned about the inflammatory nature of another work, which shows a female suicide bomber wearing a burka that is lifted up, in the style of Marilyn Monroe on the subway grating, to reveal elaborate black nylons and high heels. For more details, see http://matthewbrown.com

The following day, Oct. 21, 2006, a group of young men dressed in black broke into the Guelman Gallery in downtown Moscow, vandalized the exhibition of works by Georgian artist Alexander Djikia and assaulted dealer Marat Guelman – who had supplied the Blue Noses prints to Bown -- breaking his nose and giving him a concussion. Guelman told the online Russian daily Kommersant that the incident at the airport was the result of a "misunderstanding," and said he expected to have the Blue Noses’ photos returned to his gallery. As for the attack, it was ascribed to "nationalists," though Guelman said he did not think it had anything to do with the fact that his current show featured a Georgian artist.

Blue Nose artist Alexander Shaburov told Kommersant that he did not consider the "Masks Show" photos, as they are called, to be insulting to Putin. "It's about how the media substitutes for our private lives," he said, "how in Russia, as in all information societies, figures from television become closer than our real neighbors and acquaintances. It is simply the citation of a fact."