Russia’s Hermitage Museum holds more than three million works of art, and is the largest museum in the world. It’s also, likely the only museum with its own staff of stray cat security guards. The 65 badass, mice-killing cats to roam its grounds at night, killing vermin and protecting the museum’s precious works from harm. The felines have been there almost as long as the museum itself, and are taken care of by donations from museum workers and have a dedicated caregiver.
Recently, a series of portraits commemorating the cats was commissioned and produced by Uzbek artist Eldar Zakirov. The series, “Cats of Hermitage,” places the fancy felines in traditional Russian garb. The portraits will be featured in an upcoming issue of Hermitage Magazine. Check out a few others after the jump. [ArtInfo] Keep reading »
In Russia, you don’t have period, period has YOU! In all seriousness, this Russian Tampax commercial (very graphic, by the way, so if you’re squeamish, skip), shows the imagined terror of mixing periods and open water swimming. Any truth to the notion that periods attract sharks? According to Vancouver Aquarium spokesperson Ann Dreoloni, “Honestly, I think the jury is still out on this question. According to what I have read so far, there are people who believe the chance of a shark attack is greater while menstruating … and others who think this has absolutely no impact on shark attacks at all.” And shark behavior expert Ralph S. Collier says, adorably uncomfortably, “If it’s a young lady for whom it’s that time of the month, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Better to wait till everything is back to normal to go into the ocean.” Ha! Normal. How antiquated. In any case, two shark experts is enough to convince me — I’m staying on the shore when sharks are in the water. [LiveLeak]
According to a Russian bill that passed by a unanimous vote, it would be illegal to tell children that gay people exist or that homosexuality is socially equal to heterosexuality. The bill has passed Russia’s lower house of parliament and now heads to its upper house, where it is expected to pass. President Vladimir Putin supports signing the bill into law.
Don’t worry, Russia! If you pretend things don’t exist, they just disappear on their own! Keep reading »
Have you ever got a pizza craving so intense that you’re like, “I would totally take four people hostage for several hours in order to get my hands on some pizza right now”? Me too, obviously, but I’ve never acted on it. Yesterday, a man in southern Russia did just that, bursting into a college and barricading himself in a classroom with two students, a teacher, and a janitor. According to a police spokesman, “His only demand was a pizza and Sprite.” Police evacuated the area and delivered the man’s desired meal, at which point he released his hostages unharmed. Just one more piece of evidence that pizza is the most powerful drug of all. [Raw Story]
We couldn’t even make this up if we tried: Russian president Vladimir Putin has brought in the big guns to get Russia’s population on the upswing, and has hired Boyz II Men — yes, of “I’ll Make Love To You” fame — to play in the country on February 6. According to the Moscow Times, “President Vladimir Putin’s crusade to raise the country’s birth rate is set to get the support of three powerful voices on its behalf.” You see, Putin believes that the key to regaining Russian super power status is to get the birthrate up. He wants everybody in Russia to make at least three babies, and in 2007 he declared an official “Day of Conception” (which will be preettttty awkward at the hospital nine months later). And clearly Boyz II Men sings the perfect baby-making music. Keep reading »
A who’s-who list of indie musicians and artists are contributing to a new e-book of essays published to help raise money for the Pussy Riot legal defense team. Three members of the Russian feminist punk band were sentenced to two years in prison for “hooliganism” last month after they staged a protest inside a church and spoke out publicly against Russian president Vladmir Putin. Yoko Ono, Le Tigre’s JD Samson and Johanna Fateman, Justin Vivian Bond, and others will contribute essays to the $2.99 Pussy Riot! A Punk Prayer For Freedom, which is out September 21. [Gallerist NY]
Dear Sergey Pakhomov aka The Pasta Artist,
Six years ago you were working on an ad campaign for a Russian macaroni company and were struck by divine inspiration: what if you built models of various objects using macaroni? So you did, and the ad campaign fizzled, but your life was forever changed. Now you build all kinds of things using all different kinds of pasta: spaghetti motorcycles with rotelle wheels, bi-planes with lasagna wings, and a whole pasta town complete with a linguini windmill and penne playground.
So why am I contacting you today? Well, I’m something of an amateur pasta artist myself. A beautiful pan of cheesy rigatoni speaks to my heart and soul in a much more profound way than the Sistine Chapel ever could. I don’t care for oil paintings unless the oil is olive and the canvas is cannelloni. Your work truly moves me. What do you say we collaborate sometime?