Russia backs down over anti-Putin painting loan ban: Louvre

1st October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russia has agreed to loan to the Louvre in Paris paintings by a controversial artist which attack Prime Minister Vladimir Putin having initially refused to export them, the French museum said Friday.

The exhibition will take place "with all the artists and works that we were proposing to invite to this event," the Louvre said in a statement following talks with Russian authorities.

Russia's deputy culture minister Andrei Busygin said on Wednesday that the abstract works by artist Avdei Ter-Oganyan "could be seen as calls for a coup d'etat, or inciting national or religious hatred."

The series of works consist of geometric patterns with provocative captions such as "This work urges you to commit an attack on statesman V.V. Putin in order to end his state and political activities."

Several major artists due to take part in the exhibition announced a boycott last week in support of Ter-Oganyan.

"Counterpoint: Russian Contemporary Art" is to open at the Louvre on October 14 and run through to January 31, 2011. It is organised by two Moscow galleries, including the state-owned National Centre for Contemporary Art.

Ter-Oganyan fled Russia for Prague after criminal proceedings for inciting religious hatred were opened against him for chopping Russian Orthodox icons with an axe during an art performance in 1998.

In 2007 the culture ministry refused to allow works including a photograph of two kissing policemen by art group the Blue Noses to be sent to an exhibition in Paris, calling them "pornography."

© 2010 AFP

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