Prosecutors Summon Art Curator

The head of the contemporary art department of the Tretyakov Gallery has been called in for questioning over a 2007 art exhibit, accused of inciting religious hatred, Moscow city prosecutors said Tuesday.

Andrei Yerofeyev will appear before the Tagansky District Prosecutor's Office on Wednesday in connection with his role as curator of the "Forbidden Art" exhibit, a collection of paintings and other visual works banned at various exhibits across Russia last year, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors opened an investigation into the exhibit, which featured paintings of Jesus Christ with the head of Mickey Mouse, fornicating soldiers and Lenin's image on a crucifix, after Russian Orthodox leaders objected when it was shown at the Sakharov Museum.

Prosecutors want to speak to Yerofeyev as "a person of interest" in the case, according to a copy of the summons obtained by The Moscow Times.

Yarofeyev dismissed the summons as political theater on Tuesday. He said he was confident that the exhibit was protected speech under the Constitution.

"What you have to understand is that it's just another act of deception by the authorities," he said.

Last week, Yury Samodurov, the director of the Sakharov Museum, was charged with inciting religious hatred with the exhibit. If brought on trial and convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.