When a Performance Artist Crashes the Met Gala

Performance artist Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich had himself encased, naked, in a transparent box and left on the red carpet of the Met Gala on Monday night. He was swiftly removed, arrested by police, and is now facing possible charges of public lewdness, obstructing governmental administration, criminal trespassing, and disorderly conduct.

In a video posted on his Facebook, the Russian-Brazilian artist is shown being bolted into the clear case, lifted out of the back of an SUV and left at the entrance to the museum, while well-dressed guests looked on. Guards quickly covered the box with a white sheet and dragged it away, while firefighters later arrived to cut Pavlov-Andreevich out of the crate.

The piece was the fifth in a series of performances called Foundling, which the artist previously realized during high-profile art events, including the Venice Biennale, the São Paulo Bienal, a Christie’s Vanity Fair party in London, and the opening of Garage Museum of Contemporary Art’s new building in Moscow. Some of those performances also resulted in arrest.

According to friends posting on the artist’s Facebook page, Pavlov-Andreevich wanted to “see how the institution reacts to the passive harmless box with an artist inside. Even though the security and policeman who were interacting with him directly found it funny, it did not stop them from…treating him as a real criminal due to the top scale of the event and high-alert situation in the country in general.”

Pavlov-Andreevich was released from prison 22 hours after he was arrested, and will soon face charges. Which is a shame as we’re pretty sure Rei Kawakubo, an advocate of guerrilla art, would have found the whole thing exquisitely hilarious.

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