The parallels between Soviet-era repression and Mr. Putin’s authoritarian rule are at the heart of ‘Lest We Forget: Masters of Soviet Dissent’ a new exhibition of paintings and drawings by Mr. Lapin and the late Mr. Zhdanov at Charles Krause/Reporting Fine Art gallery in Washington, USA.
In May 2012, the Washington Times published an article about the art exhibition which explains about the artistic censorship in the late Soviet days as well as in today’s Russia under Putin. The following is an excerpt from the article in The Washington Times which talks about the current conditions in the country:
“Five years ago, the Russian government prevented about 20 of 240 works destined for a major art exhibition at a Paris museum from leaving the country. The culture minister at the time, Alexander Sokolov, declared them a “disgrace” to his nation.
More recently, two Moscow museum curators were found guilty by a Russian court of “inciting national and religious hatred” and fined about $11,000 for displaying some of the same works at the Sakharov Museum, named after Soviet dissident and 1975 Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov. The works in question included a painting of Jesus with a Mickey Mouse head, a photo of two uniformed policemen kissing and an image of a Russian general raping a soldier with the caption “Glory to Russia.”
In 2010, two members of a Russian anarchist art collective were jailed and reportedly beaten after a public performance in which they overturned police cars in protest of abusive authority. Three female punk rockers who mocked Mr. Putin during a surprise protest inside Moscow’s main Orthodox cathedral remain jailed after their March arrest and face up to seven years of imprisonment on charges of hooliganism — leading Amnesty International to dub them “prisoners of conscience.”
Alexey Semyonov, president of the Andrei Sakharov Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes democracy and human rights in the former Soviet Union, said the crackdown on artistic expression is part of a larger pattern of the Russian government placing restrictions on political speech.”
The Washington Times – 9 May 2012:
Art behind the Iron Curtain
Exhibit showcases the works of two who defied Soviet control
Charles Krause / Reporting Fine Art – gallery home page: