Wednesday 13 October 2010

Graffiti hits the streets ... of Moscow

Graffiti as an urban art form has now reached Moscow, which is good news for artists. It was once good news for enforcement agencies too. According to a NY Times feature,
“It is especially tough to be a graffiti artist in Russia,” said Oxana Bondarenko, a curator who specializes in street art and lives in Paris and Moscow. “The state invests millions of rubles in hunting down graffiti artists and painting over the works.”
According to Sergey Glandin, a lawyer in Moscow, there is no law specifically regulating street art, but those caught making graffiti can be penalized under the criminal code. In most cases, this means an arrest and a warning ...

Wall of Tsoi, Arbat St, Moscow (fom
Make, an old-school graffiti artist who in 2000 created the first Russian graffiti crew, RUS, says that street art is important because it can show the local population’s own, uncensored voice, and it can push artists to express their own vision. RUS made a name for itself by being especially daring, he said, painting regional trains with illustrative, pictorial tales and American-inspired graffiti. “We were caught by the police several times,” he said with a hint of pride. (They were arrested but released soon after).
Today, Make has evolved into a respected artist, has had solo exhibitions in Moscow and abroad, and last year was a finalist for the national Kandinsky art prize. Some of his recent work is reminiscent of Russian constructivist art and, provocatively, Communist propaganda ....”
Source: "Graffiti Art Earns New Respect in Moscow", Alice Pfeiffer, NY Times, 13 October 2010, here

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