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Pussy Riot Members Will Speak at Frieze Art Fair New York

by Jillian Steinhauer on April 24, 2014

Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alekhina visit inmates on Rikers Island.  (photo by Erik Lohr for The Voice Project)

Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alekhina visit inmates on Rikers Island. (photo by City Hall photographer, courtesy Department of Corrections)

Q: When you’re a human rights activist recently released from prison in Russia and advocating for reform there, where’s the best place to speak to get your message across?

A: An art fair!

Yes, that’s right — jailed Pussy Riot members Masha Alekhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova will be featured at this year’s Frieze New York talks, in conversation with The New Yorker editor David Remnick. The press release from Frieze is brief, saying only that the women will discuss “their membership in the feminist art collective Pussy Riot and the recently launched Zona Prava, their NGO advocating for prison reform.” And why not? The art world has followed the Pussy Riot story and rallied for Alekhina and Tolokonnikova since their trial in 2012. And as everyone knows, the art world is now concentrated around art fairs.

In addition to hosting the Pussy Riot duo, Frieze is bringing in Joshua Oppenheimer, the filmmaker behind The Act of Killing, the much-discussed documentary about a political massacre in Indonesia. The two conversations seem to give Frieze Talks a kind of human-rights, help-the-people bent, which is, you know, special, given that Frieze is a high-end art fair for high-end humans who don’t experience petty problems like violations of their human rights. Which I suppose makes it a great place to discuss human rights. Alekhina and Tolokonnikova will surely find some oligarchs to talk to there.

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  • votejoel

    Maybe Obama will release the film maker jailed in the U.S. to join them.

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