As we mentioned earlier, while certainly caught up in the usual rush of Art Basel, we’re still very troubled by the reports we hear on the ongoing events in Istanbul (We should add that there have also been a few moments of light. A few days after the Taksim-tangent Collectorspace was graffitied over by protesters, founder Haro Cumbusyan showed us pictures of the space, “fixed” by the police. “They completely painted over our building, windows and all,” he said, grinning. “But now you can still read all the graffiti from the inside.”)
It’s hard to find the lighter points of other recent matters, however – in particular, the legislation just passed in Moscow. While the ban on “homosexual propaganda” – any information or material that presents homosexuality as on par with heterosexuality – passed in Petersburg two years ago made us sick and sad, this law is now only a few formalities away from going national. While legislators amended the law to be against “non-traditional relations,” the homophobic intent was clear (and if anything, the idea of a national law against “non-traditional” sexual acts may have even broader repercussions.)
Also alarming was a second law, aimed at paving the way to punish those who would dare to offend the Orthodox believers. Basically a trumped up blasphemy charge, the law seeks to prevent future PR disasters like Pussy Riot, by making such actions a clear crime.
We realize that this is not necessarily an “art world” news brief, but we feel it’s important to spread the word, as this kind of gross abuse of power affects our entire community. With the Moscow Biennale on the rise, it will be a wonder if Russia will be able to recuperate its international public image in time.