An Inclusive Litany

6/20/02

An exhibit at New York's Jewish Museum, titled "Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery/Recent Art" features the works of thirteen artists who draw "unnerving connections between the imagery of the Third Reich and today's consumer culture," according to the exhibit catalog.

The exhibit includes "Giftgas Giftset," three replicas of Zyklon B gas canisters bearing the logos, of Chanel, Hermes and Tiffany's. Likewise, "Prada Deathcamp" is a model of a concentration camp on cardboard taken from a Prada hatbox.

"LEGO Concentration Camp Set" features boxes of the children's building blocks bearing photographs of models of barracks and crematoria. According to the catalog, this work shows "how such seemingly harmless items may pose serious psychological and philosophical questions about gender, sexuality, and childhood."

"It's the Real Thing--Self-Portrait at Buchenwald," features a famous photograph of emaciated Jews in their bunks shortly after the liberation of Buchenwald, along with an inserted photograph of the artist, holding a Diet Coke. According to the catalog, 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."

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