The Most Controversial Artworks of 2012

This has been quite a controversial year for art, and we’re not talking Jeffrey Deitch making a mess at the MoCA or that work selling for this many millions or some blue chip gallery doing whatever, wherever… Well, I’m not going to talk about that. Not that it’s not relevant — sure it is! — but it’s pretty inside baseball. Instead, why don’t we just take a look at the art that, for better or for worse, caused international controversy, cocked the heads of the masses, and made the art world ponder its relationship with society?

Image credit: Pussy Riot’s Livejournal

When the members of the performance art troupe/self-proclaimed “feminist punk band” Pussy Riot were dancing to their anti-Putin anthem at a Moscow church altar, they knew they’d run afoul of Russia’s despotic and incestuous church-n-state powers. They weren’t counting on being convicted to two years in a hard labor colony for “hooliganism with the intent to incite religious hatred,” nearly starting a revolution, and alerting the entire world that hey, in Russia, shit’s fucked up and bullshit. By the way, the performance video of the action has been banned in Russia as “extremist,” so I’m just going to put this right here. Go nuts.