leninProminent Moscow curators Yury Samodurov and Andrei Yerofeyev face 3 years in prison for the 2006 museum exhibit “Forbidden Art” that featured Jesus as Mickey Mouse and Jesus as Lenin and allegedly incited religious hatred. The ruling will be made on July 12th, ending the 14-month trial.

Curator Samodurov was previously convicted of inciting religious hatred and fined $3,600 for his “Caution: Religion!” exhibit in 2003. The show was closed after a group of altar boys raided the museum and defaced much of the work.

Politics is what all the cool kids are doing in Russia now, so even the religious ultra-nationalist groups are “younger and more energetic” than before. They’re the ones accusing the curators, bringing about Soviet-style censorship to modern Russia. That’s ironic since the same sort of censorship prevented religion in the USSR.

This time, the two curators might be sent to three years in an “open prison” (gulag lite?).

The Russian art community thinks that a conviction will have the entire art world turning away from Russia and the Moscow Biannual. The whole affair is stirring up barbaric reactions from “the offended” but is spurring Russian artists to go on the offensive.

Curator Yerofeyev described the trail:

In front of us opened a pagan wilderness. Old women shook with anger, they spat in my face.

Knowing the risks, another prominent Moscow curator, Marat Gelman, is already planning another “Forbidden Art” show:

I will try to answer with strong actions in order to be heard.

Yeah, things are pretty twisted, convoluted and chaotic. Nifty art making climate though, granted you don’t go to jail.

Read why Racist Russian Nationalists Accuse Artist of Racial Hatred and Why Russian Art Group Voina Dicked a St. Petersburg Bridge.

UPDATE: Russian Curators Convicted, Not Gulaged for Mickey Jesus