Pussy Riot

Russian punk band/performance artists/activists, two of whom also belong to the anarchic Voina art collective

The sentencing, to two years in prison, of three members of the Russian punk band/ performance artists/activists Pussy Riot (two of whom also belong to the anarchic Voina art collective) for their February performance of ‘punk prayer’ Mother of God, Chase Putin Away! at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour set off furious international debate about freedom of expression.

Not least within the contemporary artworld – in the shape of benefits in New York commercial galleries, the sale of David Shrigley T-shirts in support of Amnesty, and more generally the promotion of debates about artistic freedom to the top of the art agenda. While some of the howling in the West was marked by a level of hypocrisy, Pussy Riot has certainly brought a crucial debate concerning taste, offence and art into the mainstream.