Naked Joke

Nazi Mickey Poster
Causes Stir in Poland

It’s not the first time Italian artist Max Papeschi takes an elaborated, albeit cheap, shot at the Disney iconography. What never ceases to surprise anyone paying attention is how he always prompts the same outraged reaction.
All it took, this time, was for him to slap Mickey Mouse’s head on a naked female body with a swastika next to it, for good measure, and voilà, another eruption of enraged comments popped up all over the European press.
The gigantic outdoor poster with the image is at the entrance of the artist’s new show in Poland, where predictably strong feelings about nazi horrors are still raw. But a quick search on the Internet shows that Disney and the nazi iconography are familiar themes in his work and have often provoked controversy in the past.
From an artistic point of view, his work is generally not very successful at what it seems to aim for. For one, its lack of subtleness short-changes its critical intentions, and deems what could be a meditation on the cross section of political despotism and popular culture into a shallow exercise of graphic craftsmanship.
What transpires in the end is an absolute hunger for shock value, not thought provoking aspirations, wrapped up into a Photoshop 101 package. So what’s not short of amazement is that such a rehash of interchangeable themes of visual culture still cause such a stir.
We should all be glad that Roy Lichtenstein, to name but one of the few great ones, is no longer with us; he’d be deeply offended about this whole “Bam!””Boom!”, no question about it.

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