This week, Artguide – the leading news portal for the Russian art world – has noted more than a few rejections in the air.
As we reported two days ago, this week sees the openings of both ArtMoscow and VIENNAFAIR (which, having been snapped up by a Russian investor, stages its own Russian invasion, complete with multiple team members poached from ArtMoscow, not the less of which is star forward art director Christina Steinbrecher.)
In addition to Steinbrecher, we reported that the VIENNAFAIR has even attracted top Moscow galleries, who would not deign to participate in ArtMoscow. Chief among them is Regina, the London/Moscow-based outfit that has taken over for XL as “the Russian gallery” at the world’s top art fairs (and who sparked the impetus for ArtMoscow to try and shape up in the first place, when the gallery conceived the 2010 concurrent Cosmoscow Fair.) This morning, Artguide reported that Regina actually pulled out of the VIENNAFAIR, literally at the last moment, citing the need to concentrate their efforts on Frieze.
And on the topic of pulling out, as we also mentioned, there has been some controversy around this year’s Kandinsky Prize – namely that Pussy Riot, the nominee put forth by cornerstone art critic Irina Kulik, did not even make the shortlist.
On Monday, it was announced that the group Electroboutique – who are known for their LED light strip compositions and forays into creative feedback loops (including one that regulated on whether or not its audience was topless), and who recently hosted something like their own wake with “Requiem, Farewell Show” – had politely turned down the nomination. While they did not release a statement, Artguide connects their decision to Pussy Riot by mentioning the particulars.
This morning, photographer Igor Mukhin also withdrew from the competition. Like Electroboutique, he gave no specific reason, just citing “personal reasons.”
Granted, this still leaves 19 names on the list for Project of the Year, but something tells us these won’t be the last artists to withdraw.