EXILE

Pussy Riot and others are showing protest art in London because they can’t in Russia

In Russia, political protest and art are often inextricable. Members of the punk rock band Pussy Riot were arrested for their criticism of Putin while performing in a Moscow cathedral. The performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky once sat naked in front of Lenin’s Mausoleum, and nailed his scrotum to the stone pavement. He was later taken away by the police. The art duo Blue Noses is famous for a photograph of two Russian policemen kissing and embracing each other while in uniform.

They are all, along with other protest artists who work in Russia, part of an exhibit at London’s Saatchi Gallery. “Art Riot: Post-Soviet Actionism” opened this week (Nov. 16), coinciding with the 100th anniversary of Russia’s October Revolution, which presaged the rise of the Soviet Union. The artwork is explicitly provocative and critical of Russian government censorship.

Watch our video to see some of the artwork.

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