June 18, 2004

You know you've made it when an Warhol-ish homage is done for you

The artsy types have glommed onto Abu Ghraib as post-modern art.

Of all the images to have come out of Iraq's notorious Abu Ghraib Prison over these past few weeks, the one that has apparently captured the imagination of the masses is the picture of the shrouded figure standing on a box, wired to God-knows-what.

The picture has shown up across the globe, from a gallery in San Francisco (where the curator was punched solidly in the face by someone who objected, as evidenced by her black eye), to the New York subway Warholesque poster pictured here.

Why this image above all the rest? It is far from the most violent, but easily the most graphic. You need less than a second's glance to know exactly what it is. The triangle of the hood silhouettes sharply against the hot pink or chartreuse background of a fake iPod ad. Andy Warhol himself could not have done better. It holds its own on murals meant to be read from far away. It plays well against the Statue of Liberty. It suggests Christ on the cross. And, best yet, the hooded figure in the photograph is on a pedestal. It is already an icon.

As a symbolic shape, the hood is almost as strong as a cross. The difference is that the hood has generally been the sign of the persecutor, not of the victim. It is the uniform of the executioner, the sheet of the Klansman, the mask of Death. Until now.

Anyone want to take bets on how soon the image will show up on t-shirts as the newest fashion icon across America?
(Courtesy The Politburo)

Posted by mhking at June 18, 2004 10:21 AM

Someone should probably alert Steve Jobs to this phenomenon of appropriating their advertising ideas ... it just wouldn't do to associate the glorious iPod with this . . .

Posted by: Lola at June 18, 2004 02:03 PM

This is why americans are becoming increasingly hated in the world are becoming targets in a turkey shoot. Their cold and callous attitudes pertaining to the suffering of others only makes beheadings of Americans a more frequent occurance.

Posted by: scott at June 18, 2004 08:04 PM

With all due respect, Scott, that's bullshit.

If you're telling me the rest of the world is so damn shallow that stuff like this causes them to behead Americans for the hell of it, you're full of used food.

Posted by: mhking at June 18, 2004 08:28 PM
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