Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Prada deathcamp, etc.

Pieces at the 2002 show at the Jewish Museum, "Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery/Recent Art":

[] "Giftgas Giftset," three replicas of Zyklon B gas canisters in the colors, and bearing the logos, of Chanel, Hermes and Tiffany's.

[] "Prada Deathcamp" is a model of a concentration camp on cardboard from a Prada hatbox. The exhibit catalog on this: the artist "dares to observe Holocaust museums and their visitors from the position of a critique of consumption."

[] "LEGO Concentration Camp Set" consists of replicas of boxes of the children's building blocks, but the boxes bear photographs of models of barracks and crematoria. The catalog: this work shows "how such seemingly harmless items may pose serious psychological and philosophical questions about gender, sexuality, and childhood."

[] In "It's the Real Thing -- Self-Portrait at Buchenwald," the artist digitally inserts a photograph of himself, holding a Diet Coke, into the foreground of a famous photograph of emaciated Jews in their bunks shortly after the liberation of Buchenwald. The catalogue: this work "draws parallels between brainwashing tactics of the Nazis and commodification. Just as much of Europe succumbed to Nazi culture because it was the dominant paradigm, so does our contemporary culture succumb to consumerism."

Conservative columnist-pundit George Will was among those who hated this show, and in his column called "Exploiting the Holocaust, intellectually" he wrote: "A wit once said that everything changes except the avant-garde. But it does change. It gets worse." Be sure to read the rest of his essay.