Friday, March 5, 2010

Controversy in Satire

Satire can be controversial, irreverent and easily misunderstood. In this picture, Professor Ottmar Hoerl presents "Dance with the Devil" an exhibition which ran from October 15-19, 2009. The exhibition was displayed in an open market place in the town of Straubing in southeastern Germany. This open space was once the site of Nazi parades, a site in which the local synagogue was once sacked by Nazis and the town's 42 Jews were deported to concentration camps.

Professor Hoerl of the Nuremberg Academy of Fine Art is installing 1,250 garden gnomes with their arms outstretched in the stiff-armed Hitler salute in an exhibition that addresses the lingering fascist tendencies in German society.

Most of the gnomes are black plastic, but about 20 are painted shiny gold.

The display of Nazi symbols is illegal in Germany but a court ruled in 2009 that the exhibition was clearly satire and thus allowed. Hoerl says: "the fascist idea, the striving to manipulate people or dictate to people ... is latently dangerous and remains present in our society."
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