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Tuesday, Oct. 3
The Indiana Daily Student


Many protest Nazi images exhibit

NEW YORK -- Protesters chanted "Don't go in!" and "Shame on you!" as an exhibit on artists' use of Nazi imagery -- including Lego and Prada death camps -- opened Sunday at the Jewish Museum. \n"For a Jewish museum to trivialize the Holocaust is outrageous and unacceptable,'' said Dr. Michael Schulder, a surgeon who joined about 100 protesters behind police barricades across from the museum on Manhattan's Upper East Side. \nThe exhibit, titled "Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery/Recent Art,'' also features a piece in which the artist has inserted a picture of himself with a Diet Coke can into a photo of concentration camp prisoners. \nThe show drew protests from Jewish community leaders for months before it opened. \nAfter meeting with Holocaust survivors who had criticized the exhibit, museum officials decided to post a sign that reads, "Some Holocaust survivors have been disturbed by the works of art shown beyond this point. Visitors may choose to avoid the works by exiting the exhibition through the door to the left.'' \nOther works include a strip of photos of costumed actors who have portrayed Nazis, such as Yul Brenner and Robert Duvall; a computerized image in which a bar code morphs into men in a concentration camp; and collages mixing pictures of nude women with those of Nazi officers. \nExhibit organizers admit the messages are complex and challenging but say the show's 13 artists -- from eight different countries -- raise questions about commercialization and iconic images of the Holocaust. \nThe show's first day drew a steady trickle of visitors. Protesters outside included Holocaust survivor Oscar Ilan, 78, who held up a small slip of paper. \n"This is the list of the camps that I was in,'' Ilan said. "You can count 10. I had to come out just to protect our dignity.'' \nCity Councilman Simcha Felder, who represents a heavily Orthodox Jewish district in Brooklyn, said the exhibit was like "rubbing salt into the wounds of survivors.'' \n"I'm not going to debate whether it's art or not, but it shouldn't be in a Jewish museum,'' he said. \nBabette Albin, a volunteer who was keeping an eye on the protesters on behalf of the museum, said the show "puts the Holocaust on the table for discussion so that we can talk about what happened.'' \n"Art is not a passive act,'' she said. "Sometimes art has to shock to wake the sensitivities of people up.'' \nInside the exhibit, some museum-goers examined the works silently while others murmured disapproval. \nBritt Marie Sundblad, a tourist from Sweden, called Zbigniew Libera's Lego concentration camp set "horrible.'' \n"Imagine children coming in here and seeing this,'' she said. \nBut Diane Simpson, an artist from Chicago, liked the Lego piece. \n"It really gets to you in the pit of your stomach,'' she said. \nSimpson was less enthusiastic about works by Tom Sachs, which included a gun and swastika made from a matzoh box, a cardboard death camp made from a Prada hat box and three poison gas canisters stamped with Chanel, Hermes and Tiffany labels. \nIn an interview with The New York Times Magazine

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