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Penis Art Makes State Award Shortlist

The controversial art group Voina, two members of which are currently in pretrial detention, was nominated for a prestigious state award for drawing a gigantic penis on a drawbridge facing a Federal Security Service building.

The June performance, dubbed "Penis in FSB Captivity," made the shortlist of six of the annual innovation award in the main visual art category, the State Center of Contemporary Arts said Friday.

Activists said the performance, staged ahead of the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, was a protest against the FSB's unchecked powers.

Voina got away with a small fine for leading member Leonid Nikolayev, but he was arrested last fall along with fellow activist Oleg Vorotnikov for another St. Petersburg performance that saw them flipping over police cars, some with officers in them. They face up to seven years in prison on hooliganism charges.

The innovation award was founded jointly by the State Center of Contemporary Art and the Culture Ministry in 2005. The shortlist is compiled by an expert council comprising Russian and foreign artists, curators and critics.

The winners will be announced in April.

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