The New Mexico Museum of Art partners with the Santa Fe gallery CONTAINER Turner Carroll to host artist and musician Nadya Tolokonnikova. In 2012, Tolokonnikova gained global recognition and attention — and was sentenced to two years in prison — following Punk Prayer, an anti-Vladimir Putin performance piece she and conspirators staged inside a cathedral in Moscow. She started a hunger strike protesting the conditions in which she was being held and was ultimately sent to a Siberian penal colony before being released in December 2013.
Tolokonnikova is a founding member of Pussy Riot, the Russian feminist protest art collective which now counts hundreds of people among its numbers. Pussy Riot was named among Time magazine’s most influential women of the year, and The Guardian ranked Punk Prayer one of the “top five artworks of the 21st Century.” She regards her punk style balaklava, electric guitar, combat boots, and minidress protest performances as artworks rather than musical performances.
A longtime thorn in Putin’s side, Tolokonnikova was declared a “foreign agent” by Russia in 2021 and has lived in exile ever since. She is also a cofounder of the independent news service and media outlet Mediazona and, as cofounder of UnicornDAO, was instrumental in raising more than 7 million dollars via UkraineDAO. She has spoken before the US Congress, British Parliament, and European Parliament. Among her many artistic achievements, she collaborated with Bansky on his Dismaland exhibition and created an immersive experience at the Saatchi Gallery in London. She is the author of Read & Riot: A Pussy Riot Guide to Activism.
Tolokonnikova’s exhibition opens at CONTAINER at 5:00 on June 30. CONTAINER will be transformed into a fully immersive art experience with film, prison artworks, and new original artworks. She will perform at Meow Wolf on June 30 and will be in conversation with artist Judy Chicago at Through the Flower in Belen, NM, moderated by Tonya Turner Carroll on July 1.
Image: Still from Putin’s Ashes, 2023