Putin Chased Away the Rich Russians, Broke the Art Market

05.04.12 Marina Galperina

In Russia, there’s a mass exodus of the useful rich. Since Putin “won” the elections earlier this year, all the collectors and art patron glitterati skedaddled West. The ones that are left would rather invest in food (because they’re poor) or big yachts (because they’re boring wealthy bureaucrats and don’t want that kind of attention).

Czar Putin back in power puts a damper on Russia’s attempt at a Western-leaning image. It’s “suffocating” and “corrupt.” The interesting art that sprouts out of this environment is that of the opposition, which is quickly stifled by the goverment and the church. Only last year, Russia’s most prestigious state art prize went to Voina for their giant anti-government dick graffiti bridge stunt. This year, the girls from Pussy Riot face seven years in prison for singing anti-Putin punk songs in a church, and it’s only getting worse. It makes the much needed financial state support for the art sector not very cool. (Image: Alexei Sergiyenko)