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© RIA Novosti. Tatyana Kuznetsova

Art exposition draws Orthodox ire in Krasnodar

by Alina Lobzina at 17/05/2012 16:05

Bomb hoax and a set of outraged Cossacks, Orthodox Church members and patriots failed to sabotage a modern arts exhibition being held in Krasnodar.

The exposition Icons, organized by prominent modern art collector and gallery owner Marat Guelman, saw its first visitors on Wednesday, after Tuesday’s gala opening was disrupted.

The protests, however, are set to continue as another exhibition organized by Guelman is opening later today. “Oh wow, today they promise 4,000 [protesters] against the exhibition, it’s complete madness,” the director of the Modern Art Museum in Perm wrote in his blog yesterday.

 

Bomb scare

Self-proclaimed Cossacks, monarchist, human rights center Presumtsiya and activists from patriotic movement Sut Vremeni gathered to block the entrance to the controversial art show. 

Fifteen people were later arrested by police, Gazeta.ru reported. The total number of the protesters was about 100, according to the publication.

Police managed to drive the crowd back only when they cleared the area to check an anonymous bomb report, which proved false.

Guelman himself was attacked by a group of activists near the backdoor of the gallery.

 

Icons as art

The exhibition displays works of contemporary artists who “in different ways conceptualize icons as pieces of art, and not as religious objects,” Guelman told Gazeta.ru.

One of the exposition’s first visitors, journalist Andrei Pomidorrov noticed no religious provocations on display. “Some of the works I couldn’t understand myself, but even they pose no threat to the Orthodox faith and especially to the culture of the Kuban region,” he wrote.

The governor of the Krasnodar region Alexander Tkachyov also saw nothing offensive in the exhibition, which he checked as soon as the first claim over its offensive nature was voiced by the Orthodox clergy, Guelman said.

 

Exiled art

Guelman’s second exhibition is to open today as Tkachyov invited the famed modern art collector to promote contemporary art in the region. “Kuban is to resound on the cultural front” he tweeted.

But the southern region was not the only place where Guelman’s exhibition was frowned upon by the local residents.

One week earlier, the exhibition Rodina, which Guelman was the curator of, was exiled from the Siberian city of Novosibirsk by the local authorities. 

The exhibition has been moved to Tomsk, where the local history museum agreed to put it on display minus one of the works, Interfax reported. 

 

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