Vandals Paint Giant Penis on Major St. Petersburg Bridge

06.15.10 Marina Galperina

bridge_piter_02 St. Petersburg’s historic bascule bridge has just been hilariously vandalized. The Liteiny Bridge rose its usual 67° to allow ships to pass and revealed a towering phallus to the waiting traffic. Political motive pending. [UPDATE: How Russian art-group Voina “dicked” the bridge.]

This was a community effort from beginning to end: On the night of June 14th, 40 collaborators painted the 1870’s draw bridge within minutes. One was caught and arrested. In the morning, the city sent in two firefighter brigades to wash the bridge clean.

Aside from web-wide delight of Russian-speaking perpetual adolescents, ru-bloggers’ response is the usual polarized squabble: “This is a digraceful! And in the cultural capital of Russia! I’m going to go to wash it off myself!” and “Naw, it’s contemporary art. I’m going to go draw five more.”

Whether or not this is some sort of political commentary remains to be seen. Pranks like this are kind of our thing. When the Chess Grandmaster Gary Kasparov gave a political speech a few years ago, his opponents flew in a radio-controlled penis-copter into the conference room. The Russian renegade art-group Voina (War) often stages x-rated public stunts for the sake of political dissent. A giant, group “Fuck You!” to St. Petersburg officials via bridge vandalism is unlikely to have been motive-less.