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Marina Abramovic and Pussy Riot

Pussy Riot and Marina Abramović are doing a talk in New York

Nadya Tolokonnikova of the punk collective and the pioneering performance artist get together for a rare discussion

Both Marina Abramović and Pussy Riot’s works are expansive and fearless. The Serbian performance artist pushed for her art form to be taken seriously across her decades-spanning career, with brave pieces that saw her reflect on her own struggle as well as the outer world, from Rhythm 0 to Lips of Thomas and The Artist is Present. Pussy Riot are the famed, ferocious Russian punk band and collective that rail against censorship, police brutality, and political tensions in their music, art, and protest. 

Now, Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot and Abramović will get together for a rare public discussion. The talk, hosted by the New York Times, will take place in New York May 14, at the Florence Gould Hall. The discussion will surely expand across creating protest art in the modern age, and the political and social systems both Tolokonnikova and Abramović have moved within while crafting their work.

Tolokonnikova and other Pussy Riot members will tour the United States across May, revealing new audiovisual and performance art pieces, on everything from the prison system, to dandruff, and big pharma.

“Our duty is try to see what punk will look and sound like in 2028, times of digital resistance, rise against financial inequality and mass people's movements for saving the planet,” Cocky, a member of Pussy Riot, said in a statement. 

According to Tolokonnikova, 12 members of Pussy Riot will be arriving in the states for the first time. Others on the tour will remain anonymous. “They prefer to enjoy their anonymity, a thing that has to be valued in the modern world, where everybody, governments and big corporations, are trying to steal and collect every piece of your personal data. Unfortunately for me, my identity was revealed during my court case, but may others still choose to act anonymously,” she said in the release.

The group’s most recent audiovisual piece, “Elections”, was made in collaboration with political prisoner Oleg Navalny, who is serving a 3.5-year-sentence for embezzlement charges that are widely considered fabricated. Navalny is the brother of Alexei, who was Putin’s presidential opponent. The piece reflects on Putin’s newly won presidency as a prison sentence for Russia. 

It was recently announced that Abramović will debut a new art piece where she will be electrocuted with one million volts, extinguishing a candle just by pointing at it. The performance will take place at the Royal Academy of Arts, London in 2020 – the first time a woman has taken over the galleries space with a major show. 

Buy tickets to the Times Talks event with Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova and Marina Abramović here.