Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Laura Osterman

Second Advisor

Jillian Porter

Third Advisor

Mark Leiderman


This thesis provides an analysis of the evolution of Russian punk rock performance art group Pussy Riot's works from "Punk Prayer" and the recently released "Make America Great Again" and asks how the change in the group's physical appearance has affected their protest art. The most notable article of their performance costumes, the balaclava mask, acted as an affect generator that incited reactions from their audience. Now that the balaclava is no longer the primary affect generator for the band, the performer’s body has now taken over that role within their recent works. While their original intent was not to show off the member's bodies, the body is now being used as the primary tool to communicate the group’s ideals. By using the body as an affect generator Pussy Riot has lifted both a physical and metaphorical mask and has allowed them to expand their performances and protest messages.