Bown was held in connection with his attempt to export artworks by the Russian art collective Blue Noses. The artworks in question include photographic images depicting presidents Putin and Bush cavorting with Osama Bin Laden, and of a suicide bomber in a burqa flashing her (or his?) underwear. The works in question are intended for exhibition at the Matthew Bown gallery from 9th November 2006.
Matthew Bown Gallery – Richard Wilson:
Not all censorship issues are based in the US. Russia has a long history of censorship and repression but I wonder if the key issue is the politics, the nudity, or the fact that the politicians collaged bodies were all too realistic..
There has been a dearth of political artworks surrounding the current war. I wonder why? art is a classic way to voice opinions about war, “incursions”, “police actions”, and all political issues. It’s a central subject for artistic expression and it strikes me as healthy to explore these things through art. it’s a freedom, an opportunity for pure emotion, one of those subjects for art that can change the world. The fact that there has been little artwork exploring the current political issues really worries me. It’s as if we have lost the will to shake it up, to challenge the way political bodies want us to think.
Have we lost the freedom and basic liberties to express ourselves through art?