Russian art group Voina "dicks" a St. Petersburg Bridge

 Wp-Content Uploads 2010 06 52

Animal New York reports on the latest project by Russian art renegades Voina (War): dicking a bridge.

Over the years, Voina staged many actions: police station take-overs, anti-homophobic faux-lynchings in malls, stray cat throwing into swanky restaurants, anti-Medvedev public orgies and all kinds of ruckus. Their most recent target: the headquarters of FSB, the offices of Russia's KGB incarnate Federal Security Service. Our source: Voina themselves.

In the early morn of Che Guevara's birthday, the group psyched out bascule bridge guards and made their way to the center of Liteiny Bridge. In 23 seconds flat, Voina painted a 213-feet-tall, 89-feet-wide phallus dubbed "Giant Galactic Space Dick."

Russian art group Voina "dicks" a St. Petersburg Bridge

Previous Boing Boing post about Voina here. (Thanks, Marina!)


  1. I’ve seen the work of those “art renegades” in many public lavatories.

    1. Don’t those crazy Russians know that there’s supposed to be a poem that goes with the lavatory art?

      “Here I sit all broken hearted…”

  2. All Russians are the same – they invent Chatroulette, then dickbridge, what’s next?

  3. hahahaha and it gets erect each time the bridge is raised. it shouldnt be that funny, but it is, its like im back in 6th grade

  4. So, grade school style vandalism is cool if done on a large scale? Sorry, I don’t get it.

    1. Thank you, #10.

      Concept and execution is way sucky here. (Unless you’re 11.)

      Another website referred to it as ” a great work of art”

      Weepin’ Christ! We gotta’ raise the bar here, kids.

    2. “So, grade school style vandalism is cool if done on a large scale?”

      Yeah! It is!

      “Sorry, I don’t get it.”

      Oh well, life goes on.

  5. How is this art, or even interesting? Because they “stuck it to the man” with some vandalism? This is nothing but the kind of humor that makes ten-year-olds (and not the bright ones) laugh, writ large. (Throwing cats into restaurants is art? Seriously? Is this The Jerk?) Amen, 10 and 11.

  6. So really Robulus, what makes this so great? In comedy, the “dick joke” is the lowest form of humor, a throwaway of forgettable cheap laughter. Are we now just going to lower the bar to the point where any seven year old should be praised for drawing a large penis somewhere?

    What exactly is wrong with our society that such lowbrow trash has become worthy of praise? I fear that “Idiocracy” is beginning to resemble a documentary.

    1. Who cares if it means anything or even if it’s funny? They painted the single largest painting of a dick I’ve ever seen faster than I can get my own out of my pants.

      1. Anon. Get your art terms down first, OK?

        It’s NOT a painting.

        It’s barely a scribble.

        It’s a stretch to even call it any anatomical part.

        I think simply because someone shot it and posted it online, it gained some kind of weird net credulity.

  7. When I was growing up, some kids enjoyed playing something called “the penis game.” One person would whisper the word “penis,” the next person would say it louder, and the cycle would continue until everyone was yelling “PENIS!!!!1” at the top of their lungs. If you find yourself thinking that these kids were real dim-bulbs, you’re correct.

    But fortunately, nobody has to deal with that ever again, because these guys have won the penis game, forever.

    (Captcha: “bolshoi leg”. As “bolshoi” is Russian for “great,” “grand,” or “large,” I find that somewhat appropriate.)

    1. Re: the penis game – I wonder if we have some mutual friends. Some of mine also did this in their teen years.

  8. stray cat throwing into swanky restaurants

    How lovely it must be to have no heart, no mind, and plenty of time. Scum.

    1. Yes, that sounds like a pretty good description of the clientele of a swanky restaurant in Russia.

  9. Oh c’mon this is as much art as Duchamp’s Readymades. I mean that as a compliment.

    It’s art because of the lift bridge elevating the dick, because they had limited time to do it, and because it plays on a cultural item (drawing cocks) and takes it to what pretty much has to be a peak. It also dares you to hate it, which is fine.

    As with the readymades, spiral jetty earthworks, voice of fire etc, it’s who does it first and messes with culture and reactions who gets the “art” tag.

  10. It would have been funnier if they had affixed a huge, open tub of white paint right at the top.

    1. Okay, that would have been incredible. Now I want them to do it again with the tub of paint. Drip – drip – drip.

  11. I disagree Adralien.

    1) I don’t think that the medium defines something as art. Merely putting a drawing of a penis on a bridge doesn’t make it art.

    2) Limited time has nothing to do with art. Plenty of artists work until they are done, there is nothing intrinsic to art that says it must be rushed or hurried.

    3) It doesn’t “play upon” the cultural item of “drawing cocks” it merely is that cultural item.

    4) Taking something to absurd lengths doesn’t make it art, it just makes it large and/or absurd.

    Simply doing something first doesn’t make it “art.” I could see referring to this bit of crassness as a “prank” or “vandalism” but art?

    No, this is not art. This is not early man in caves drawing a fertility idol. This is a bunch of classless buffoons who throw cats into restaurants and call that art too.

    Being a jackass doesn’t mean that you are an artist (though one CAN be both).

    Finally, there was no grand social message here. The article points out, they just wanted to wave a big dick at a Federal building. That isn’t art, it is merely a grand attempt at mooning.

    1. Fair enough, however if waving a big dick at a federal building isn’t a social message I don’t know what is…

      Slightly unrelated, but I think with Duchamp he was basically daring people to argue that what he was doing was art. He was messing with a group who were being exclusive and challenged them to disqualify what he produced from being art. They did, but art history nerds tell us that what he did was art.

      It’s probably art, but I’m not arguing your jackass tag either.

    2. Taking something to absurd lengths doesn’t make it art, it just makes it large and/or absurd.

      Considering the subject matter, forgive me for snerking at that. *snerk*

  12. As with the readymades, spiral jetty earthworks,

    Ugh. You defile the Spiral Jetty, which is a thing of sublime beauty and wonder, with this comparison.

    A chimpanzee can shock by throwing its poo; is that art?

    1. I’m sure construction workers have made very pretty patterns in the foundations of buildings and destroyed them just for fun, but we never called those art.

      “we” (the Western We who have textbooks on this stuff) define Spiral Jetty as art because the artist explained it to us and we found that explanation interesting. The Jetty has been alternately under/above water for many years which we are told is Meaningful to the original artwork.

      Let me add that I’m not opposed to calling the bridge-cock or spiral jetty art/not art, it doesn’t really matter… what does matter is how we discuss it and how it affects us. Apparently that classifies some things as art…

    2. “A chimpanzee can shock by throwing its poo; is that art?”

      No, because the chimp does not intend to shock. It’s a normal expression of opinion within chimp society.

      Now, if a -human- artist decides to “challenge our concepts” of whether poo-flinging is art, better start wearing a raincoat every time your path takes you past a gallery door.

  13. This little tale of “art” reminds me of a Calvin & Hobbes strip in which Calvin describes pushing someone into a puddle, and how funny it was. Thereupon, Hobbes pushes Calvin into a puddle and comments, “I don’t know. That kind of humor is so subjective.”

    One man’s “art” is another man’s vandalism. Would the “artists” be OK, I wonder, if I spray painted a giant penis on their car? Or their apartment? Or their faces?

    Am I allowed to throw stray cats into swanky cars? how about swanky hospitals delivering children?

    Before you claim that I’ve reduced the argument to the absurd, I’d like to point out that these people painted a giant penis on a drawbridge. We’ve already reached the point of absurdity, and sped on by, straight to the realm of Dadaist… in a perfect world, it would be art because these people would be parodying the sort of chaps who damage stuff and call it “art” ~ but I’ll bet they’re not. They’re just ignorant hacks who mistake being transgressive for insightful commentary.

    gawd. The pseudo-intellectualism makes me want to barf.



    1. ‘Would the “artists” be OK, I wonder, if I spray painted a giant penis on their car?’

      Probably not. They’d be provoked, and forced to reflect on why someone would take such action.

      You should totally do it.

    1. I would certainly agree that it could be called a prank. There isn’t anything WRONG with it being a prank. Overall, it isn’t even a BAD prank. It just isn’t art. Nor is throwing stray cats into restaurants.

      1. You draw a nice line under this thread – it’s all been said.

        “Throwing” animals into stressful situations isn’t cool, it’s just cruel. Doing it to disrupt “the wealthy” is counter-culture silliness at it’s peak. It’s not performance art. It’s just mean, animal cruelty with no great message.

        A prank.

        And this is a prank – calling Che and the KGB dicks, great! – so there is a message, and it’s cool and funny and anti-authoritarian in an adolescent way, but it’s not really art.

        The merits of what is and isn’t art are malleable, infinitely debatable and open to change by anyone’s perception and opinion. You have to concede that, but my opinion and perception just cringes at the notion of this being called art.

        If history judges it as art, hey, whatever. I’m wrong.

  14. Finally… this is an insightful comment:


    Is this “art”? Who cares. That is a freaking sweet prank. The fact that they made a giant dick pointing at the FSB (aka, KGB) is just awesome. Those folks have some serious balls. It would be one thing to do this on its own, but to direct it towards one of the most notorious spy agencies in the world? Seriously… balls. Big bridge sized balls.

    1. That’s a rather flat-headed dick you’ve drawn there, Rindan. Try this one!


      The benefit of this one, in addition to looking more penis-like, is that the tip transforms into a smiling face when done in GoogleChat etc. That’s right: a big dick with a smiley face at the end, laughing at all of you “hmmph, this isn’t art, meh” haters. Just look at it: art, in a word.

      Somehow that these folks are practicing socially transgressive public art in Vladimir fucking Putin’s fucking Russia, for fuck’s sake, got lost on y’all. Shocking! They’re so incredibly brave and brilliant and talented for this. This is so much more art than any comfortable, disposable product made in the happy West could ever be. Life, politics, and making shit all happily, snarkily combined.

  15. I don’t know if I’d call it art, it’s more of a middle school prank and it’s not a particularly well drawn schlong at that but I’ll be darned if the thought of it slowly rising doesn’t make me chuckle a bit.

  16. Everyone, please remember that for almost 70 years any form of public expression that went against the authorities was censored, oppressed and often times punished (with either exile or death) To the Russian youth, this is expression and it is beautiful because it cannot be censored anymore.

  17. “Their most recent target: the headquarters of FSB, the offices of Russia’s KGB incarnate….In the early morn of Che Guevara’s birthday..”

    Suddenly realized that no one may have sussed this.

    If the intention was to convey the idea that Che (an adherent of KGB-style security practices) was a gigantic dick, I can at least agree with their motivation if not their methods.

  18. “artist decides to “challenge our concepts””

    I love this ide of art. Try to make the opposite of art and then call it art.

    What a tired and stupid idea.

    IF throwing cats at poeple is art, than I hate art.

    If they had done this in chalk or milk of somehting that wouldn’t involve a govt worker out there with a can of black paint the next day I might consider it a clever joke. As is, its just dickery. Someone should turn them into the police and call that art.

  19. All of this aesthetic discussion is great, but for the love of Mike, can I please just get a clever Russian Reversal joke out of this event? Pretty please?

    Thanks in advance.

  20. I think the giant penis is hilarious…I agree that it’s vandalism, and hardly art, but it is still hilarious.

  21. And then… I read about the group’s history, and they have actually done something that sits happily somewhere as contemporary art… political art.

    This, uh, ‘piece’ seems more like a footnote to their (sorta unsubtle) work as contemporary artists with a bent to outrageous political commentary / agitation.

    1. Just because a person is an artist does not make their every activity into art. They have certainly built up a well deserved reputation for political agitation.

  22. Why is it that whenever Boing Boing features anyone who calls him or herself an artist, the comments blow up with “This isn’t art!” and a debate ensues?

    Not that I think this is the Mona Lisa or anything, but I think we’re maybe taking this huge dick a little too seriously. It’s funny, and the only harm it caused was making fun of powerful people. Since when are we on the side of the KGB and the Russian government?

  23. reminds of the time i used to draw myself with a big long penis from one sidewalk to the other hahahahaha

  24. Whayt you are all missing is the political angle to this, the bridge in question is directly opposite the FSB (renamed KGB) offices in St Petersburg so each time the bridge is raised it is the equivilent of ‘flipping the bird’ at the state organs of repression.
    Voina’s work is all targeted at corrupt practices in Russia – as when one of their members dressed as a policeman walked into a store and filled his basket with goods then boldly walked out unchallenged by store security at the door.

  25. You don’t know anything about the context of Russian political and social situation and you have no right to judge whether it is an artwork or no. These guys have got a prize of Minister of Culture for this performance as a “best visual artwork of 2010” ! And to understand it, you should have lived in Russia.. among police violence, censorship and total control…..

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