Burger King Creates Tribute Menu for Controversial Artist Pyotr Pavlensky

There are four varieties, each inspired by one of Pavlenksy’s performances.

Pyotr Pavlensky at a court in Moscow on February 26, 2016. Photo: DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV/AFP/Getty Images.

It turns out nailing your scrotum to the red square will make you all sorts of famous. In a tribute to some of dissident artist Pyotr Pavlensky’s most shocking stunts, Burger King restaurants in Russia—who seem to find protest performance art appetizing, and profitable—has a new menu item coming to St. Petersburg branches, the “Pavlensky Burger.”

Burger King hopes to pay tribute to the artist, as well as “bring culture to the masses,” on the occasion of the St. Petersburg branch’s sixth anniversary. Russian news outlets Afisha Daily and Kommersant reported the story on August 29, explaining that the burger will apparently come in four varieties, each inspired by one of Pavlenksy’s performances. No photos of the burgers seem to be yet available, but the descriptions imply that they’ll only be edible to those with strong stomachs.

For a 2012 performance called “Seam,” the artist sewed his lips shut to protest the incarceration of two members of the dissident punk collective Pussy Riot. Outside of St. Petersburg’s Kazan Cathedral, he held a sign comparing Pussy Riot to martyrs on the scale of Jesus. Now, Burger King will memorialize this action with a burger featuring two buns sewn shut.

Pyotr Pavlensky in front of the headquarters of the FSB security service in Moscow, shortly after setting it on fire. Photo courtesy NIGINA BEROEVA/AFP/Getty Images.

Pyotr Pavlensky in front of the headquarters of the FSB security service in Moscow, shortly after setting it on fire. Photo courtesy NIGINA BEROEVA/AFP/Getty Images.

Another burger will be wrapped in edible barbed wire, alluding to the 2013 performance “Carcass,” where Pavlensky laid inside a cocoon of barbed wire, naked and unresponsive, in front of the Legislative Assembly building in St. Petersburg as a statement against repressive legislation.

In November 2015, Pavlensky set fire to Russia’s security headquarters (FSB) in Moscow, an act against the FSB’s “method of unending terror.” He was arrested and put on trial. Burger King is cashing in on the publicity potential of this action by creating a burger with one burnt bun.

Perhaps Pavlensky’s most gruesome act of all was “Fixation,” the 2013 action where he nailed his scrotum to the red square in Moscow. The artist told the Guardian that he was inspired by the protests of a similar flesh-and-nail variety undertaken by prisoners in Gulags. The “Fixation” burger will be served on a plastic platform, with an egg on top, and nailed down with a plastic nail.


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