The Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow has been asked by the Russian government to align with state ‘values’ after a complaint.
The issue began after an alleged written complaint by a person named Sergei Shadrin. In the complaint, Shadrin claims that he felt pessimism and hopelessness after viewing some of the works displayed by the gallery. He pointed out the contemporary artworks at the gallery that, in his words, depict things like funerals and alcoholism. He particularly pointed out the Pieta statue, made by Alexander Burganov in 1978, as a ‘devilish interpretation’ due to the missing head.
The letter was sent to the Russian Ministry of Culture. Soon after, Natalie Chechel (deputy director, Department of Museums and Foreign Relations) sent a letter to the Tretyakov Gallery’s general director, Zelfira Tregulova. The letter highlighted the complaint and its various accusations, with the central idea being that the gallery does not align with the Russian policy “to preserve and strengthen traditional Russian spiritual and moral values.” The letter has sought a response from the gallery by the 6th of February.
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An anonymous employee at the Tretyakov Gallery, however, showed disdain towards the letter, saying: “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 Tretyakov Gallery is one of the oldest galleries in Russia and one of the most-visited galleries in the world.