An American performance artist has announced his intent to buy Vladimir Lenin’s embalmed corpse from Russia and move it to the United States.
Georgian-born David Datuna shocked the art world after he ate Maruizio Cattelan’s $120,000 work titled “Comedian” — which consisted of a banana taped to a wall — at Art Basel in Miami last December.
On Thursday, Datuna said on social media that he wants to build a replica of Lenin’s Red Square mausoleum in Washington and move the communist leader’s embalmed body there.
The artist argued that the U.S. was growing closer to socialist ideals while Russia, where the 70-year Soviet experiment ended in 1991, was moving in the opposite direction.
“Russia has long been an empire with its emperor. The U.S., meanwhile, is moving towards communism and socialist ideas,” Datuna wrote on Instagram.
“Today, the attributes of the mausoleum and Lenin are more needed by the United States than Russia,” he said.
Russian Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov criticized Datuna’s proposal, calling the mausoleum and other Soviet relics “sacred.”
“[The Americans] should cherish their own values. We’ve protected and looked after ours and will continue to do so,” Zyuganov said.
“They are sacred to us, whereas [the Americans] are destroying their own statues, even barbarically decapitating Columbus,” Zyuganov said, referring to this year's wave of Black Lives Matter protesters toppling monuments linked to colonialism and slavery.
Datuna’s mausoleum replica plans are the second controversy surrounding Lenin’s resting place this week. On Monday, the Russian Union of Architects abruptly canceled a contest to redevelop the Moscow landmark after a barrage of criticism from the Soviet founder’s admirers.