Thursday, September 20, 2007

Seven Days on the Burlington Controversy

Seven Days, a Burlington, Vermont based alternative weekly, has run the most comprehensive story to date on the controversy surrounding the exhibition of Peter Schumann's Independence Paintings that I have been following on this blog.

Read Ken Picard's article, "Over the Wall: Censorship or anti-semitism [sic]? Inside the furor over an Art Hop exhibit" for more.

I have some issues with the article, but I am saving most of them for a letter to the editor, however, I cannot refrain from immediately taking issue with Picard's description of Schumann as someone whose family fled Nazi Germany when he was ten years old. In a 2006 interview he stated that he had been a refugee because the Allied powers had decided to give all of Silesia, which had been part of the Nazi state, to Poland. His family fled from Soviets and Poles further into Germany. His refugee status was an unintended consequence of aggression that his nation initiated, but never in the interview was there an acknowledgement of the Jewish Silesians who were exterminated or the Polish Silesians who had spent the war years in slave labor camps, only the German Silesians who were humiliated by the collapse of the Third Reich were worth mentioning. We must never blame an adult for the crimes committed by the government of their childhood, but when the history is being misrepresented, questions are in order.

Is Schumann changing his story, or did Picard just get the story wrong?

Nota Bene: My response to Ken Picard's article appears here.

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