Russia: St Petersburg event offers 'art for booze'

A painting from the collection of a bear holding a drink Image copyright VKontakte/Alexey Kiryanov
Image caption Some of the art which will be on display is appropriately themed

Artists in Russia are holding an event where visitors will be able to pay for their art using bottles of alcohol.

The Art for Booze event in St Petersburg will take place on 13 February, the day before Valentine's Day, and is for "those who are in love with art", according to the group's VKontakte social networking page. Anyone attending can leave their cash at home and take along a bottle of wine, or something stronger. "Do you understand alcohol better than art?" the page reads. "Do you spend more money on drinking than our pieces cost? Drop this and exchange precious drinks for priceless paintings." The event is strictly for over 18s, the legal age for buying alcohol in Russia.

Organisers say they're reviving a practice that was common during the 1920s and 1930s. "All well-known painters from Picasso to Ilya Kabakov did this," they tell Ukrainian website Novoye Vremya. "Marc Chagall and Salvador Dali, among others, designed the label for Mouton-Rothschild bottles in exchange for a crate of wine." But there are many critical comments from social media users, some of whom think the event promotes alcohol. "Next they'll start swapping paintings for cigarettes or drugs," user Roman Krestovskiy comments on VKontakte. "They should go to Ukraine or Europe with their 'projects'. In St Petersburg, art should not be equated to a bottle of whiskey."

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