Like the US court case in Cincinnati 20 years ago, when Dennis Barrie and the Contemporary Arts Center were indicted for pandering obscenity just hours after the opening of the photography exhibit, Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment, this case can have a serious ripple effect on not only the art world in Russia but throughout the world.
How many curators and artist with now take a risk and show work that could land them in jail and be forced to endure a trial and public scorn and ridicule?
Leonid Bazhanov, director of the National Contemporary Art Center, said a guilty verdict would make Russia less competitive in the world art market. Foreign artists would be wary of bringing their works to Russia, while more Russian artists would leave the country, he said. Maybe this is what the church wants.
This censorship battle maybe taking place in Russia, but as an artist I feel the heat right here in our country. What is happening in Russia is actually happening in the US today. The right-winged Christian conservatives are pushing their morality on the judicial system. They are using their voice and power to dictate their small minded agenda on the art world, persecuting artists who show work that in their eye is obscene.
In all the advertising hype over us being in a war they always talk about the soldiers are fighting for our freedoms,but this type of censorship slaps the face of those freedoms. We have soldiers dying every day to protect our way of life but the conservative cancer is eating it away from the inside.
Sometimes when I write this blog I feel like I am waging an unwinnable war with very few people supporting this cause. Show your support, visit an art gallery or chime in on a social networking site or my blog.
(Photo credit and comment - Yury Samodurov gestures as he and other human rights activists gather outside a Moscow courthouse during a court hearing of Samodurov's case. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, file)