60-metre phallus wins major Russian art prize

8th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Radical Russian art group Voina, whose members have spent time in jail for some of their stunts, won a major art prize for painting a phallus on a bridge in Saint Petersburg, organizers said Friday.

Voina won in the "Best visual artwork" nomination, one of five in the annual contest Innovation organized by Moscow's National Centre for Contemporary Arts, a representative of the centre confirmed to AFP by phone.

The group will be awarded 400,000 rubles ($14,000) for the winning art piece, "A cock captured by the FSB", a performance by Voina last July. It is not clear if they will accept the cash prize.

They painted an enormous phallus on Liteiny Bridge, a draw bridge that is one of Saint Petersburg's attractions, just before it was raised in full view of the nearby headquarters of the FSB security service.

The artists skipped the award ceremony Thursday evening. "There is nothing to brag about, for us it's secondary," Leonid Nikolayev, one of the organizers of the bridge stunt, told AFP in an email.

Nikolayev along with another Voina member Oleg Vorotnikov spent three months in pre-trial detention earlier this year for another stunt that involved tipping police cars with officers sleeping inside.

They were released after British street artist Banksy contributed $21,000 to cover their bail. The artists still face seven years in prison for 'hooliganism'.

The National Centre for Contemporary Arts was established by the Russian Ministry of Culture in 1994 to support contemporary artists. The jury included art critics, curators, and museum workers.

© 2011 AFP

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