Momentous events in Ukraine from late 2013 to the present provide the backdrop to this article. The Maidan (Independence Square) in Ukraine’s capital of Kiev was center stage for the “revolution.” Because the protests at the Maidan demanded Ukraine’s integration into the European Union (EU), the revolt became known as the “Euromaidan.” President Yanukovych tried to suppress the movement, but government violence was met with resistance; dissent moved from peaceful protest to violent revolution, the collapse of the Yanukovych regime and the creation of a pro-Western interim government. The Russian-speaking population of south and east Ukraine opposes the new regime; Crimea was annexed into the Russian Federation, and the U.S. And EU slammed Russia with sanctions. At the time of this writing, with a civil war unfolding, a new oligarch was elected by western Ukrainians, but voting in the south and east of the country was disrupted or boycotted. A day after the election, Kiev launched jet attacks against pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, likely killing up to 100. All of this and more is driving the region towards war.
Stepping into the quagmire stoked by super power geo-strategic interests, are a number of artists, arts organizations, and arts publications, some of which I will criticize in this article. Oddly enough, none of the artists or artworks mentioned in this article present a cogent reason for exactly why Ukraine’s integration into the EU would result in a more prosperous and democratic Ukraine. This is especially interesting since millions of people from Spain to Greece have been demonstrating in opposition to the tough austerity measures of the EU.
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The influential publication ARTnews, ran a March 2014 article titled, describing the role artists played in the uprising that overthrew President Yanukovych. Written by Ukrainian arts professionals Konstantin Akinsha (contributing editor for ARTnews), and Alisa Lozhkina (an art historian and curator in Kiev), the two touched upon a number of artistic interventions carried out during the uprising. One was the claim that “anarchist artists” built a makeshift gallery near Kiev’s barricades during the revolt. From there the anarchists “exhibited works in the revolutionary spirit, such as, the legendary Ukrainian anarchist leader of the civil war period (1918–1921), along with anarchist slogans - ‘Freedom or Death’ - in combination with expletives. It was a popular spot with both artists and protesters.”.
Jungle Movie Video Songs Download more. During the Maidan protests, a Jan. 1, 2014 torchlight march in Kiev was held to honor Ukraine's WWII era ultranationalist, Stepan Bandera (1909-1959).
15,000 extremists carried Svoboda party banners and the red and black battle flag of Bandera's paramilitary, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. (AP Photo by Efrem Lukatsky). ARTnews might point to a lone painting of the anarchist Nestor Makhno (1919-1921) glimpsed in an improvised street gallery, but the portrait most often seen during the Euromaidan protests was that of WWII-era Ukrainian (1909-1959). It is not likely that the authors of the article were unaware of that fact. Knowing Bandera’s history and legacy is key to understanding Ukraine’s present-day ultranationalists. In the 1930s Bandera and his followers wanted to create a state based on “pure” Ukrainian ethnicity; the “Banderists” regarded Poles, Jews, and Russians as oppressors to be purged from the motherland. Bandera and his Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) formed an active alliance with the Third Reich in order to establish an “independent” Ukraine.
1941 the Nazis created two military units comprised of Ukrainian volunteers, the. Armed, trained, and financed by the Nazis, the battalions were under the command of Nazi special forces but operated under the orders of Stepan Bandera. By 1943 Bandera’s UPA soldiers were conducting a vicious pogrom against Jewish, Polish, and Russian minorities in Ukraine,. In 1959 Bandera was assassinated by the Soviet KGB.
A handful of anarchists might have presented artworks on the street during the unrest, but ARTnews failed to report that groups on the left were forcefully disallowed a political role in the uprising by rightist thugs who repeatedly and violently attacked them during the rebellion. That is discussed in a conducted by photographer Timothy Eastman with members of the anarchist group, AntiFascist Union Ukraine.
There were no black anarchist flags flying over Maidan, but there were plenty of banners from rightwing groups, including the red and black pennants of Bandera’s UPA. To Ukrainian ultra-rightists, red and black symbolize the people’s “blood and soil.” That concept to students of history. ARTnews also wrote that “when the demonstrations began, a statue of Lenin on Shevchenko Boulevard was toppled by protesters,” an act described in the article as overthrowing “the symbol of a vanished ideology.” ARTnews did not report that was actually pulled down and destroyed by members of the extreme right Svoboda party, or that the pedestal where the statue once stood was spray painted with the slogan, “Bandera - 105,” a reference to 2014 being the 105th birthday anniversary of Stepan Bandera.
Igor Miroshnichenko of Svoboda that his group was responsible for destroying the Lenin statue. This is that had himself filmed as the top executive of a Kiev TV station. Miroshnichenko forced the CEO to sign a resignation letter because Svoboda did not like the station’s reporting. Now a Member of Parliament representing Svoboda, Miroshnichenko sits on the new government’s “committee on freedom of speech.” Svoboda (”Freedom”) is one of Ukraine’s largest far-right political parties. During the Maidan protests the group’s flag was highly visible; the banner displays the national colors of blue and yellow and is emblazoned with a hand giving a three fingered salute approximating a trident, the national symbol of Ukraine. The organization is currently led by Oleh Tyahnybok. In an article titled,, the BBC reported that in 2004 Tyahnybok gave a televised speech in which he exhorted Ukrainians to combat the “Muscovite-Jewish mafia that runs Ukraine today.” In 2005 he signed an open letter calling upon the Ukraine government to fight the “criminal activities of organized Jewry.” In 2013 the World Jewish Congress asked European governments to.
(Left) 'Wolfsangel' or 'Wolf-hook' heraldic symbol used by the Nazi Waffen-SS during World War II. (Middle) The Nazi inspired logo of the Social-National Party of Ukraine. (Right) In 2004 the Social-National Party of Ukraine changed its name to Svoboda ('Freedom'), replacing its neo-Nazi flag with a blue and yellow banner. But Svoboda sprang from an earlier party, the Social-National Party of Ukraine (SNPU). Founded in 1991 by Andriy Parubiy and Oleh Tyahnybok, the SNPU modeled itself after Hitler’s “National Socialist” party, taking the Nazi “Wolfsangel” heraldic symbol as their logo. In 1998 the SNPU formed a paramilitary, the, led by Parubiy. In 2004 the SNPU reformed its image by phasing out its Nazi inspired logo and changing its name to Svoboda. Chopin Performance.
Mariyan Mitsik. As mentioned in the ARTnews article 'Icons on the Barricades,' Mitsik performed in the streets at a piano painted in the colors of the Ukrainian flag. The ARTnews article went on to mention that “the most popular artworks inspired by Maidan were the performances,” and pointed to musician Mariyan Mitsik as a prime example. Mitsik performed in the streets at a piano he painted in yellow and blue, the colors of the EU and Ukrainian flags.
He performed Chopin, was well as Imagine by John Lennon. According to ARTnews, he performed “in front of the line of police guarding the presidential administration building,” and that his playing Chopin in front of “helmeted policemen in anti-riot gear became an icon of the protests.”. Svoboda Performance. Not mentioned in ARTnews, a piano solo performed in the streets, filmed and performed by fascist Svoboda militants. In an interview with the BBC, Mitsik stated that the performance demonstrated “the spirit of the revolution, that it’s actually peaceful, and it’s cultural, we are actually trying to change the situation in a peaceful way.” But there were other painted pianos in the streets for people to play, and a black-clad Svoboda party street fighter wearing a ski-mask and body armor took to entertaining the crowds with his piano virtuosity. One could just as easily say the fascist street fighter’s performances were “an icon of the protests.” As of this writing, there are certainly more videos of the Svoboda pianist on YouTube than there are of Mitsik and they have more viewers as well. The Svoboda party on the street!
Before the Maidan protests, the European Parliament passed a resolution on Dec. 13, 2012 regarding the situation in Ukraine. Members of the fascist 'Patriots of Ukraine' organization gather for battle on the streets of Kiev, 2014. The yellow armbands display the group's symbol, a repurposed Nazi rune known as the 'Wolfsangel.'
Photographer unknown. Revolutionary chic is not the issue the exhibit should be scrutinizing. The question should be, who were the street fighters and what were they fighting for? (”Right Sector”) was the organization that spear-headed the fighting; they served as an umbrella group for a number of like-minded organizations like the,, and the Patriots of Ukraine (who have an interesting ). Trained, well organized, and ready to spark a right-wing “nationalist revolution,” these were the groups that conducted the fighting at Maidan.
Dmitry Yarosh is the leader of Right Sector, and he that details what the group fights for. The arts community should be especially interested to know that Right Sector boasts of fighting “Against degeneration and totalitarian liberalism.” On March 12, 2014,, where he admitted that Right Sector militants “supported the first Chechen war against the Russian empire. We sent a delegation to Chechnya.”. In this screen-shot from a Right Sector video, militants in the streets of Kiev hold shields decorated with the 'Black Sun' symbol. Originally designed for the Nazi SS-leader Heinrich Himmler, the Black Sun emblem was incorporated into the mosaic floor the Wewelsburg Castle in Germany, where Himmler wanted to develop a school for SS leaders. The symbol has since been adopted by the international neo-Nazi movement.
The BBC’s flagship Newsnight program produced a short documentary titled,, in which BBC reporter Gabriel Gatehouse interviewed militants from the Right Sector. One young fanatic said the following when asked about the group’s political beliefs: “I want there to be one nation, one people, one country. A clean nation. Not like under Hitler, but in our own way a little bit like that.” The BBC film would have made an excellent video installation in the I Am A Drop In The Ocean exhibit, provided that curator Konstantin Akinsha had any honesty. Untitled - Fred Tomaselli.
Collage using a cover of the New York Times. Tomaselli contributed the use of the collage to the Artists Support Ukraine website. American artist Fred Tomaselli is amongst those who have lent their names and reputations to the cause championed by the Artists Support Ukraine website. In his collage uploaded to the website, Tomaselli painted Russian President Vladimir Putin and his bodyguards as members of the Russian Pussy Riot protest group. The central figure, Putin was painted as a naked female wearing a red mask.
The collage was uploaded with the following artist’s statement: “The world would be a better place if Putin wasn’t always trying to prove his ‘manliness.’ Of course, the USA had the same problem with Bush and look where that got him and us! I hope Ukraine can eventually achieve the ethical, open and equitable society it deserves. And I hope Putin gets his just desserts.” While it is popular, and safe, for Americans to criticize Mr. Putin for “trying to prove his ‘manliness’” by way of his Ukraine policy, we should all know by now that wars are not fought to satiate the egos of national figureheads. Wars are fought for geo-political, economic, and strategic reasons, they are waged to secure resources and markets.
This is true for Moscow as much as it is for Washington. I wonder what Tomaselli thinks of President Obama’s global mass surveillance and operations? Critical expressions regarding those offenses are not found in Tomaselli’s works.
So much for the world being “a better place.” A great deal of effort has gone into transforming Kiev into the “cultural heart of Ukraine.” It certainly has become a center for postmodern art. A 2012 article in the Financial Times titled, reported that the billionaire steel magnate, Victor Pinchuk, opened Kiev’s in 2006, where Ukrainians have been exposed to postmodern “greats” like Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami. Forbes pegged Pinchuk as “Ukraine’s second-richest man, worth an estimated $3.2 billion.” The Financial Times also wrote about “Ukraine’s first biennale of contemporary art,” which was held in 2012 before President Yanukovich was driven from office. FT reported that funding for the biennale, which cost some 4 million euros, came from government as well as the private sector. In addition FT reported that U.S. Billionaire George Soros (who according to Forbes is the 27th richest person in the world with assets of $23 billion), funded Kiev’s Center for Contemporary Art (SCCA), which opened in 1993. This mix of postmodernist artists and oligarchs is not a formula that leads to art and culture worthy of a new democracy.
The same old postmodern art establishment, enamored with irony and disdainful of universal truths, sustained by extremely wealthy businessmen, and featuring the usual annoying international art stars, groans on in Kiev. Some of these charlatans now pretend to understand activist art. From at the PinchukArtCenter, it can be deduced that the country did not just undergo a revolution.
Just outside of Kiev, the home of president elect, Petro Poroshenko. During the Maidan uprising, Ukrainians demonstrated against the rule of oligarchs; they demanded democratic governance and an end to corruption. They ended up electing an oligarch as president, with their nation not only divided, but spinning into the orbit of the EU, NATO, and the asset-stripping International Monetary Fund (IMF). The unlikely new president, Mr. Poroshenko, is the owner of the Ukraine-based Roshen Confectionary Corporation, one of the largest candy makers in the world.
Hailed by the press as the “Chocolate King,” Poroshenko is worth around $1.3 billion. Somewhere in this ongoing drama there are millions of decent Ukrainians who want neither a neo-Fascist state, nor a phony liberal one run by oligarchs. The question now, is whether they can make their presence felt. – // – UPDATE: Jan. 2, 2015: On the evening of January 1, 2015, up to 5,000 neo-fascists held a torchlight march in Kiev to honor Stepan Bandera on what would have been his 106th birthday.
It must be remembered that on June 30, 1941, Nazi soldiers occupied Ukraine, and Bandera took the occasion to declare an Independent Ukrainian state. Seu Jorge Download Cd 2013 on this page.