where the truth lies: what is “the real thing” ?

We are often convinced we are looking at a seamless and accurate depiction of reality and the shock involved is the realization that it is not quite so obvious as we thought…

What are the boundaries of artistic representation and the limits, if any, of cultural criticism? This past week marked the forty-forth anniversary of the Six Day War, which was in a sense established by Jabotinsky, a fulfillment of Jewish Revisionism of land based on historical biblical claims. Running parallel to the notion of Israel, haunting like a furtive shadow has been the holocaust, the subtext for national identity and a symbol of existential threat. the genocide which has been institutionalized in the collective consciousness and represented artistically as a taboo subject. The question is whether Holocaust manipulation is fair game for art and can it ever be separated from the political.

---However, he had difficulties finding a sponsor, as his planned installation of haunted children’s faces was unlike the muted, conceptualist Holocaust memorials usually commissioned by City Councils in Germany. The city of Cologne refused Helnwein permission to exhibit on city property In the end, he managed to get permission to use a site privately owned by the railway and had to realize the project at his own expense. Despite initial difficulties Helnwein was pleased with the result. ‘I thought, this is great because now having them along the railway it makes even more sense. It was the railways that deported them to the concentration camps. Read More:http://www.gottfried-helnwein-essays.com/Dissertation.htm

Does critical art of the holocaust diminish and banalize the magnitude of the genocide or does it function to re-energize debate over a subject that has attained ad nauseum status and after everyone has pulled moral profit and consensual illusion from it, has simply stopped shocking. Obviously, its an unstable process of reinterpretation and re-contexting “authenticity” and it opens the door to artists such as Gottfried Helnwein to become authoritative and slip in some questionable subtexts that appear to aesthetize neo-nazism. Borrowing from Walter Benjamin, “Fascism introduces aesthetics into political life as a way of giving the masses “a chance to express themselves” -Richard Kazis

Prada Death Camp. Tom Sachs. 1998.---The museum expected criticism from Holocaust Survivors. Some protested to the press and the museum before the exhibition opened. Others picketed for one hour on the opening day. Elie Weisel, Auschwitz and Buchenwald survivor and Nobel Laureate, called the exhibition ''a betrayal''. Menachem Z. Rosensaft, head of the International Network of Children of Holocaust Survivors, labelled it ''trivializing'' and ''a desecration''...Daring to suggest not all people image or imagine the Holocaust as a narrative of victimhood or a forum for mourning was deemed unacceptable. One explanation for their dissension is that Mirroring Evil offered a different set of images than those already familiar from Holocaust museums and memorials, Jewish museums, and previous art exhibitions in North America about the Holocaust. For many Holocaust Survivors, the questions and concerns raised in a number of studies and in Mirroring Evil about ''Shoah business'', the commodification of the Holocaust, the eroticism of fascism, and the construction of Jewish identity as inextricable from the Holocaust simply were not relevant . Read More:http://www.yorku.ca/reerden/Projects/mirroring_evil.html#Anchor-49575 image:http://modiya.nyu.edu/handle/1964/321

…Following the publication of the Mirroring Evil exhibition catalogue in January 2002, newspapers, Jewish organizations as well as other groups singled out Schechner’s image for criticism and leveled accusations of ‘obscenity’, Holocaust manipulation and moral indignation. The Real Thing is a digital photomontage in which Schechner inserted an image of himself into a photo by Margaret Bourke-White (1945) of emaciated survivors of the Buchenwald concentration camp. Schechner looks like a well-fed fashion model as he holds a can of Diet Coke with a sparkling highlight lens flare:

---Responses to Schechner's work in the Mirroring Evil exhibition raised issues concerning Realism and the politically coded reading of images in terms of signs as sites of social conflicts. The Real Thing is one example of how history, politics and art intersect in terms of the artist, gallery, audience and the media. Schechner's artwork makes references to consumerism and media imagery and these are formally associated with the spread of modern corporations and the expansion of the spectacle of capital. Schechner's work, although indirectly, also raises questions concerning the place of Israel in the political and economic New World Order, as well as drawing out some of the similarities between corporate advertising and Nazi propaganda. Many of his works involve complex and challenging messages and raise issues concerning the Holocaust, Nazi Germany as well as late-Capitalist society. Read More:http://www.drainmag.com/contentFEBRUARY/RELATED_ESSAYS/boundaries.htm

The holocaust has almost developed its own aesthetic through incremental moves away from its original context. In this sense it has been culturally repackaged to serve different ends which often ultimately serve commercial purposes within a broader consumerist culture. It has become a mass critique of society, which in a misguided but by no means random effort, has only served to reinforce the forces which brought it about.

To the evidence available, the holocaust does not seem to be “indigenous” to any of these aesthetics that have arisen, but individuals and organizations seem to have skillfully learned them and incorporated them into new personas and are able to invoke the appropriate emotional responses when necessary. Nonetheless, such appropriations are emotionally volatile and become charged with lost meanings, partial-meanings, selective misinterpretations, misuse, and supplemental risks of expropriating elements of an aesthetic, which is unspeakable, from its original context.

Wounded Egyptian soldiers captured by Israeli forces during the Six-Day War. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Getty Images). 1967 Jennifer Peto:My main argument is that one of the effects of hegemonic Holocaust education that universalizes the Holocaust is the production of white Jewish subjects that see themselves as moral actors whose intimate relationship with oppression and genocide gives them a moral obligation to teach others about the dangers of intolerance, and also makes them into the ultimate authority on these issues....the implications of these white Jewish moral actors educating people of colour about racism, genocide and human rights. I will argue that when it is aimed at people of colour, Holocaust education can become a civilizing project, intended to reinforce binaries between non-white people – who are seen to be ignorant about the Holocaust and human rights, and therefore prone to anti-Semitism, terrorism and genocide – and civilized white people who know about the Holocaust and have therefore transcended hatred, racism and violence through their support for human rights regimes. Read More:https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/bitstream/1807/24619/1/Peto_Jennifer_201006_MA_thesis.pdf image:http://avaxnews.com/educative/1967_Six_Day_War.html

Because of an unfamiliarity with these original contexts, most in the mainstream audience will not recognize these risks. They will just simply marvel at a multicontextual “phenomenon” of appearance and sound. Its “sad” but its only Schindler’s List, and Auschwitz is open to the public and yes, you can get a shake and a burger. In the same sense that the Weimar of an Otto Dix can be Disneyfied in Cabaret, so goes the Holocaust as it is time lapsed into the derivative and generic. However, for those whose cultural practices are still rooted in these original contexts, they will recognize the lapses and the gaps created by the expropriation. In this sense we are right to criticizes a partial appropriation of an element of Jewish culture while ignoring or omitting other parts that are are just as crucial. The result is a kind of “Jew kicks” and superficial cultural slumming, while mentally, we can return home for our “regular

21; lives. Ultimately what happens is the use of oppositional elements of the Jewish cultural aesthetic are used to figuratively represent dissent within a broader social context and contributing to the consumerist project, of which Israel’s militarism and racism reflects these western values to which it has been so deeply embedded at present.

June 1967. Jennifer Peto:...these civilizing projects have tremendous utility for Western nation-states generally, and the Israeli nation-state in particular. Constructing a binary opposition between anti-Semitic Others and the enlightened post-anti-Semitism, pro-Israel West, is instrumental in obscuring and legitimating the violence of Israeli Apartheid by casting support for Jews/Israel as civilized, and characterizing all resistance to Israeli state violence as anti-Semitism, and therefore the uncivilized actions of terrorists. Read More:https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/bitstream/1807/24619/1/Peto_Jennifer_201006_MA_thesis.pdf image:http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/gallery/2007/jun/04/internationalnews.israel?picture=329969530#/?picture=329969491&index=7

In its most insidious and narcissistic form, Jennifer Peto has termed this the “victimhood of the powerful.” Although there are practical and utilitarian benefits to this approach does it not create a class of deluxe, Jewish “pets”?

Jennifer Peto: I argue that today, Jewish people of European descent enjoy white privilege and are among the most socio-economically advantaged groups in the West. Despite this privilege, the organized Jewish community makes claims about Jewish victimhood that are widely accepted within that community and within popular discourse in the West. I propose that these claims to victimhood are no longer based in a reality of oppression, but continue to be propagated because a victimized Jewish identity can produce certain effects that are beneficial to the organized Jewish community and the Israeli nation-state. I focus on two related Holocaust education projects – the March of the Living and the March of Remembrance and Hope – to show how Jewish victimhood is instrumentalized in ways that obscure Jewish privilege, deny Jewish racism and promote the interests of the Israeli nation-state. Read More:https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/bitstream/1807/24619/1/Peto_Jennifer_201006_MA_thesis.pdf aaa

---Spiegelman's swipe referred to a number of works in the exhibition using Duchamp as a source. One is Rudolf Herz's 1995 Zugzwang, another work dismissed in Kimmelman's review. Herz's title refers to the chess term that means wherever a player moves becomes compromised or dangerous. In Zugzwang, Herz papers a room chessboard style with alternating, seemingly neutral, photographic portraits of Adolf Hitler, murderer of millions of Jews, and Marcel Duchamp, murderer of the traditional art often found in Jewish museums. The very presence of images of Hitler and Duchamp in a Jewish museum provokes questions about what forms of representation are allowed when and where. Both Hitler and Duchamp were photographed twenty years apart by Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitler's official photographer. Herz conceived Zugzwang for the Kunstverein Ruhr in Essen after his well received 1994 Munich Stadtmuseum exhibition, Hitler and Hoffmann, investigating of the role of photography in glamorizing Hitler, was cancelled in Berlin and Saarbrücken....---Read More:http://www.yorku.ca/reerden/Projects/mirroring_evil.html#Anchor-49575 image:http://www.upi.com/News_Photos/view/d6f152561ad85010511a17de7740e13c/Mirroring-Evil-Nazi-Imagery-exhibit-debuts-at-New-York-City-Jewish-Museum/



Jennifer Peto:That Lerner criticizes Israel, but then quickly uses the Holocaust as an excuse for Jewish support of Israeli violence, demonstrates how histories of anti-Semitism can be abused to deflect criticism of Israel. “Jews Are Not White” is replete with examples of how denying that Jews are white and insisting on a never-ending Jewish victimhood can be used to excuse Jewish racism and Israeli violence. It is for these reasons that critical studies of Jews and whiteness are so important for exposing and fighting the violence of Jewish racism and Zionism. Without this analysis, Jews can remain focused on their own victimization, even as they continue to participate in and benefit from the oppression of others. Read More:https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/bitstream/1807/24619/1/Peto_Jennifer_201006_MA_thesis.pdf


---"It changed the nature of questions about the Holocaust," Mr. Kleeblatt said. With the Auschwitz Lego, he added, "we are confronted with something we have great affection for: Lego." People see that "we can take the same building blocks that we can use to make houses, resorts and shopping centers and construct extermination camps with them," he continued. It raises the issue, he observed, "of how the Nazis perverted the most human instincts — for shelter, family and beauty." Soon after the museum acquired the Lego, other works started drifting in. In the late 1990's, Mr. Kleeblatt said, "we noticed similar aesthetic structures" in literature, theater and the movies. There was Bernhard Schlink's novel "The Reader" and Harold Pinter's play "Ashes to Ashes." "Happiness" and "Storytelling," films by Todd Solondz, traversed some of the same territory, Mr. Kleeblatt noted. The viewer, pushed into having all the wrong reactions, is implicated in the work. These works were raising "tough questions about the images that have become icons of the Holocaust," Mr. Kleeblatt said. But having an exhibition on such pieces did not occur to him until after he went to "Icon, Image and Text in Modern Jewish Culture," a conference at Princeton University. Mr. Kleeblatt recalled thinking, "This is really a new way the Holocaust is being discussed." Read More:https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/wash/www/JewishHistory.htm image:http://www.forward.com/articles/111883/

Taking back from society and re-using these fragments is an important principle of the montagist’s strategy. Who owns and controls representations of the world is determined by who is prepared to fight and struggle against the control of dominant representational systems. Texts exist in shared systems of signification and a dispersed inter-textual transaction of culture and history. Attempts to limit this interaction of information whether via the censorship of an exhibition or individual works has consequences for practices involved in critiquing dominant Capitalist media representations of the world in general and interpretations of history and the Holocaust specifically.Read More:http://www.drainmag.com/contentFEBRUARY/RELATED_ESSAYS/boundaries.htm aaa

tom sachs. giftgas giftset. 1998. ---In a glass cabinet sit three tall tin cans of the tomato-juice type. Or the Zyklon-B type. They are painted Hermè orange, Tiffany baby-blue, Chanel black. They are labelled Hermès, Tiffany, Chanel. This is Tom Sachs's Giftgas Giftset (1998). The tins are made of cardboard paper, ink, thermal adhesive and foamcore. They are merry. You want to touch them, own them. And your gut twists. You've been had. --- Read More:http://www.heretical.com/holofun/shoah7.html image:http://www.artnet.com/Magazine/features/jsaltz/saltz3-26-1.asp


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