This week, the upset over artist Peter Pavlensky‘s extreme recent performance seemed a thing of the past when a tremendous social media uproar followed in the wake of the sudden appearance of an enormous Louis Vuitton suitcase, right in the center of Red Square. In a news clip for Vesti, the reporter asks passers-by what they think may be inside. While she receives some whimsical replies (children’s wonderlands, a fabulous club, “Glamour“), the answer happens to be the less thrilling exhibition of overpriced suitcases. Or, to quote Interfax, “luggage and personal accessories belonging to or inspired by or created for Sophia Coppola, Catherine Deneuve, Greta Garbo, Ernest Hemingway, Sharon Stone and others.” [Since when did Ernest Hemingway keep that kind of company?!]
The giant eyesore has generally been met with outrage, provoked more than one Duma representative to clamor for Red Square to be declared “a sacred zone,” off-limits to further such travesties (though firebrand politician, sometime presidential candidate and noted rascist Vladimir Zhirinovsky wanted to clarify that exceptions be made for an New Year’s tree and an ice-skating pond “for the children.”) While this kind of course of action could set a dire precedent for the future of public art in Moscow, it gives some pretty dismal insight into what’s on Moscow’s mind right now. As curator Andrei Parshikov pointed out in a Facebook post, this week alone, the capital has witnessed some fairly horrific events: from the recent racially-motivated shooting on the subway, to the poison gas attack at one of Moscow’s biggest gay clubs, Central Station, to a couple who delivered their dying baby to the church instead of a hospital, under the impression that saving his soul was more important than healing his injuries (needless to say, the infant passed.) It’s almost just as stomach-turning that in the midst of this, what truly outrages the public is an oversized luxury suitcase.
The exhibition is intended to run from December 2, 2013 – January 19, 2014, though it’s anyone’s guess if it even opens. You can find more pictures here (or in the Instagram feed of anyone currently in Moscow.)
Oh, and just in case Moscovites worried they were alone in the struggle against Louis Vuitton…