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Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:37 PM

Controversy over Adolf Hitler statue in Warsaw ghetto

Source: guardian

A statue of Adolf Hitler praying on his knees has sparked controversy after going on display in the former Warsaw ghetto.

The artwork by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, titled Him, has been installed in the Polish capital where thousands of Jews were killed or sent to their deaths by the Nazi regime.

The statue has attracted large numbers of visitors since its installation last month, but some organisations have criticised the decision to erect it in such a sensitive area.

One Jewish advocacy group, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, described the statue's placement as "a senseless provocation which insults the memory of the Nazis' Jewish victims".

Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/28/adolf-hitler-statue-warsaw-ghetto

29 replies, 4222 views

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Arrow 29 replies Author Time Post
Reply Controversy over Adolf Hitler statue in Warsaw ghetto (Original post)
alp227 Dec 2012 OP
Deep13 Dec 2012 #1
MicaelS Dec 2012 #2
Eleanors38 Dec 2012 #3
MicaelS Dec 2012 #4
Eleanors38 Dec 2012 #16
daleo Dec 2012 #21
Eleanors38 Dec 2012 #24
marshall Dec 2012 #7
jwirr Dec 2012 #5
WinkyDink Dec 2012 #6
zellie Dec 2012 #8
obamanut2012 Dec 2012 #9
Wolf Frankula Dec 2012 #10
Buzz505 Dec 2012 #11
lunatica Dec 2012 #12
Xithras Dec 2012 #20
Adsos Letter Dec 2012 #23
LiberalAndProud Dec 2012 #13
UTUSN Dec 2012 #14
devilgrrl Dec 2012 #17
UTUSN Dec 2012 #19
alfredo Dec 2012 #15
smirkymonkey Dec 2012 #18
Zoeisright Dec 2012 #22
Wolf Frankula Dec 2012 #25
Skittles Dec 2012 #26
Third Doctor Dec 2012 #27
Douglas Carpenter Dec 2012 #28
wordpix Dec 2012 #29

Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:39 PM

1. Controversy? Do yah think?

Wow.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:50 PM

2. I can't fathom the mindset of anyone

Making a statue of Hitler, but one as a work of "art"?

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Response to MicaelS (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:55 PM

3. The old adage applies: 3/4 of "F-A-R-T" is art.

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Response to Eleanors38 (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:58 PM

4. Never heard that one before.

First thing I thought of was Serrano's "Piss Christ". That, now this? What next?

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Response to MicaelS (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 03:46 AM

16. 30+ yrs ago there was a punk band called The Perverted Popes. Same lineage.

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Response to Eleanors38 (Reply #16)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 03:41 PM

21. 300+ years ago there were plenty of perverted popes

Actual history is much more shocking than art.

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Response to daleo (Reply #21)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 07:01 PM

24. Indeed it is. Today's shock value can be best summed up as:

A fart joke and a little vaudeville. Works every time.

Some of my more boring moments are relieved from rating the names of bands: Toxic Shock, Jesus Christ Superfly, The Raunch Hands, Exploding Pintos, etc. Once, here in Austin, three local punk bands sent in and had published in the daily their bill at a local club:

The Big Boys'

Dicks'

Stains

The daily was confronted by a fresh challenge shortly thereafter by how to publish a 1" ad for The Shitty Beatles.

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Response to MicaelS (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:26 PM

7. The bar for shock value is lower every day

Crucifixes smeared in feces and floating in mayonnaise jars full of artist urine is commonplace now. Folks have to try really hard to be offensive now.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:59 PM

5. Insult is a understatement.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:20 PM

6. Unfathomable.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:37 PM

8. How incredibly disgusting.

 

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Response to zellie (Reply #8)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:47 PM

9. I hope it gets pissed on a thousand times a day

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:47 PM

10. The Artist did not finish it

Where is the graffiti, the pigeon feces, the dog urine the splash of paint?

Wolf

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:02 PM

11. Horrible

How could this have been installed?

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:13 PM

12. Not all art is good nor all artists noble or decent

Throw it in the garbage dump and let it live there. That's where it belongs.

And may the artist become a pariah. I'm an artists and this is the first time in my life that I've reacted this way. Usually there is some sort of redeeming factor in controvertial art and I can appreciate it, even if for it's intended purpose of shocking the public. This is just pure garbage. There is not a single redeeming thing about it. Not one. Not even for it's shock value.

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Response to lunatica (Reply #12)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 03:19 PM

20. I can't agree. This is a poor writeup.

The artist's intention wasn't to shock, but to make a point. From the back, the piece looks like a praying schoolboy. As you come around it, you slowly realize that it's Hitler. The artist himself said that the point of the work was to illustrate the fact that every evil man was once an innocent child. People aren't BORN monsters, but BECOME monsters. Adolph Hitler, like so many other evil people throughout history, was once an innocent child, and was transformed into a monster by his life experiences, his interactions with others, and the influences of the society around him.

The Hitler piece is only part of a larger collection currently on display called AMEN. It's the only piece that deals with Hitler, but the entire point of the display is to provoke discussion into the relationship between society, religion, good, and evil. This piece was intended to provike its own questions. Would Hitler have been evil if his father had been less abusive and more supportive? If his mother had been more loving? If he hadn't grown up surrounded by ethnic nationalists? How much responsibility does society bear for what he became?

While it's unquestionably controversial, and while I DO disagree with it's placement on the site of the former ghetto, I can see the artists goals and disagree with the idea that it has no redeeming qualities.

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Response to Xithras (Reply #20)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 05:32 PM

23. "the point of the work was to illustrate the fact that every evil man was once an innocent child."

Ron Rosenbaum used somewhat the same approach in his 1998 book Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil.

This was the photo he used on the frontispiece to that work:




The publisher also chose to use it on the cover in a split photo, the other half of which is Hitler haranguing a crowd somewhere. I thought it would have been more effective had the baby photo been limited to the frontispiece, with the typical Hitler photo on the cover, thus preparing the mind with the usual Hitler-type shot then surprising with the baby shot. In any case, the publisher didn't consult me...

I also disagree with the placement of Cattelan's Hitler sculpture, and agree with you about the artist's intent and the poor quality of the writeup. Other articles were much clearer on his intent, including his (challenge?) to a predominantly Roman Catholic nation of the Christian idea of forgiveness, as well as what he apparently believes is a Polish "forgetting."

Returning to the off-topic of Rosenbaum's book: He interviewed many of the major historians who have written extensively on Hitler for their ideas on what made the man what he became. It's certainly worth a read, if you haven't done so already.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 09:05 PM

13. HIM

HIM (2001): a sculpture resembling a schoolboy kneeling in prayer, except that the head has been replaced with the realistic likeness of Adolf Hitler. The sculpture was frequently displayed at the end of a long hallway or at the opposite end of a white room, turned away from the viewer so that they wouldn't be able to recognize the individual until they advanced close enough.


I think I prefer ...

L.O.V.E (2011), a 36-foot white marble sculpture middle finger sticking straight up from an otherwise fingerless hand, pointing away from Milan's stock market
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurizio_Cattelan




Cattelan’s personal art practice has led to him gaining a reputation as an art scene’s joker. In 1995 he began his line of taxidermied horses, donkeys, mice and dogs; in 1999 he started making life-size wax effigies of various people, including himself. One of his best known sculptures, ‘La Nona Ora’ consists of an effigy of Pope John Paul II in full ceremonial dress being crushed by a meteor and is a good example of his typically humorous approach to work. Another of Cattelan’s quirks is his use of a ‘stand-in’ in media interviews equipped with a stock of evasive answers and non-sensical explanations.



The artist does not shrink from controversy. It's been a lucrative field for him.

One of his most famous artworks is a sculpture of Pope John Paul II hit by a meteorite, titled La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour), made in 1999. It was exhibited at the Royal Academy in London as part of the prestigious Apocalypse show, and was sold at Christie's for $886,000.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 09:32 PM

14. What is *WRONG* with Italians. There really REALLY *is* something WRONG!1 N/T

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Response to UTUSN (Reply #14)


Response to devilgrrl (Reply #17)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 12:20 PM

19. Haha!1 Would most people read it literally as "all," much less take it seriously?!1

Otoh, skipping past all the examples available (MUSSOLINI, one of the prominent wings of the Mob being the Italian Mafia --there are also Russian and Jewish Mobs -- I would rest my case on just ONE example of the national defects of self-deception and arrogance: SCALIA.

That said, (a rhetorical question, not an invitation for discussion) what is the point of going personal and literal to fling the "silly" word. (Note, no question mark.)

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:53 PM

15. A cross was erected at Auschwitz.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 11:25 AM

18. I can appreciate controversial, but that is just SICK. WTF?

How was that even allowed?

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 04:08 PM

22. WHAT THE HELL??

That's the most disgusting thing I have ever heard of.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 08:18 PM

25. The Artist also forgot the Polish Jew with a Pistol

standing behind him pointing it at Schicklgruber's head.

Wolf

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 08:31 PM

26. I.....what??

WTF

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 08:36 PM

27. Wait a minute..

Didn't the Nazis level Warsaw after the ghetto uprising? Why the hell would someone put a statue of him there in that area? I guess the artist wanted some notoriety. I bet his work will have a umm. accident in the not too distant future.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 09:21 PM

28. "Poland’s chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, says it could have some educational value."

http://www.salon.com/2012/12/28/praying_hitler_in_warsaw_ghetto_sparks_emotion/singleton/

Poland's chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, said he was consulted on the installation's placement but did not oppose it because it conveyed a strong moral question by provoking the audience.

He said he was reassured by the organisers who told him the statue did not aim to rehabilitate Hitler but instead show that evil can present itself in the guise of a "sweet praying child"."

I felt there could be educational value to it," Schudrich added.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/28/adolf-hitler-statue-warsaw-ghetto

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 09:53 PM

29. knowing what went on in the Warsaw ghetto, I think this "art" is sick

This is just stupid to put praying Hitler in the Warsaw ghetto. And my guess is not many think of "innocent child" when seeing Hitler on his knees. Piss on it, that's what it deserves.

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