The Russian Ministry of Culture reportedly sent a letter to Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery demanding that it change its exhibits to be in line with “spiritual and moral values” after a man complained about several works on display.
The letter, signed by Department of Museums and Foreign Relations deputy director Natalia Chechel, was sent to the gallery’s general director, Zelfira Tregulova.
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According to the Moscow Times, which first reported the news, the letter was prompted by a complaint to the Ministry of Culture that the gallery doesn’t align with the state policy “to preserve and strengthen traditional Russian spiritual and moral values.” The complaint accused the museum of displaying artworks with “signs of a destructive ideology.”
The author of the complaint, Sergei Shadrin, said he felt deep pessimism, emptiness, and hopelessness after viewing the gallery’s contemporary artworks depicting funerals, “drunken alcoholism,” and interpretations of cultural figures.
In particular, Shadrin was upset by Alexander Burganov’s 1978 bronze Pieta statue, calling its absence of a head “a devilish interpretation.”
An employee of the gallery granted anonymity told the Moscow Times, “We are dealing with a typical Soviet way of dealing with objectionable art, allegedly by a letter from the people, which is given official circulation.”
The letter from the Ministry of Culture demands that Tregulova respond to Shadrin’s complaint by February 6.