Magazine article Art Monthly

Blue Noses

Magazine article Art Monthly

Blue Noses

Article excerpt

In October London gallerist Matthew Bown and Moscow gallerist Marat Gelman both met opposition to their support of the work of the Blue Noses, from a worrying combination of state and non-state actors. Bown, who was exporting works by the group to the UK for an exhibition in his Savile Row gallery, was removed from a flight bound for London by the Russian authorities and held for questioning over a period of about nine hours about photographic images from 2002. The images in question depict Putin and Bush cavorting with Osama bin Laden (figures wearing simple paper masks, not Photo-shopped), and of a suicide bomber in a burqa flashing her underwear. Eleven works were retained at the airport with the peculiar reasoning that they 'contain representations of heads of state and this could not pass unnoticed', and because of concerns about the possibly inflammatory nature of the image of the suicide bomber, which is entitled The Girl Has No Date. Whatever attempt was being made to preserve the perceived slight to Putin's dignity, it backfired by attracting widespread attention from radio and press in Russia and around the world. …

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