January 01, 2017

Monument Men

Moscow’s Commission for Monu­mental Culture has gone into overdrive.

Each year, new statues appear in the city center, including some that are very obtrusive, very large, and very controversial (sometimes all three at once). More and more spaces are being redesigned to accommodate large numbers of sculptures: statues have become the most important instrument of culture policy, just as in the days of Lenin’s monumental propaganda.

At the same time, the poor artistic quality of most of the monuments and the problematic nature of some of the historical figures depicted often turn these installations into sources of controversy rather than cultural unity, one of the main purposes of monuments. The latest addition to Moscow’s sculptural landscape, a towering corkscrew-shaped, bronze figure of legendary ballerina Maya Plisetskaya (right), is a case in point.

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