international intrigue

See the Putin-in-Lingerie Painting the Russian Government Would Rather You Didn’t [Updated]

Photo: BBC

In a wonderful, geopolitical version of the Streisand effect, the Russian police’s seizure of a painting depicting Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev in women’s underwear has only resulted in its international spread. It’s a beauty.

Museum of Power, the St. Petersburg gallery displaying the work, also had art featuring members of parliament who supported the country’s anti-gay (and “gay propaganda”) laws, along with the head of the Russian Orthodox church, and was closed after the confiscation.

This is an [illegal] seizure,” said Alexander Donskoy, the gallery owner. “We have been given no formal documents banning us from operating and no receipt confirming our petty cash was seized.”

A local politician said the paintings were “of a distinctly pornographic character.” That’s one interpretation, but we see in art what we want to see.

Update: Bloomberg reports that the artist, Konstantin Altunin, “flew to Paris yesterday and plans to seek political asylum, Tatiana Titova, the director of the Museum of Power, said by phone from Putin’s hometown.”

Putin Wears Lingerie in Banned Russian Painting