You can build anything with LEGO. Even a concentration camp. And it’s that one piece of art that set off one curator’s imagination at New York’s Jewish Museum. The sculpture is now part of a new and controversial exhibition that opened this week. “Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery/Recent Art” asks the viewer to identify not with the victims, but with the villains, the Nazis. It suggests that the building blocks, those plastic, interchangeable Lego bricks, can just as easily be used, by any of us, for evil or for good.
Taking ownership of horror is unnerving, and the show has set off a furious debate over Holocaust imagery, over how far you can stretch an artistic representation of this history before it becomes evil itself.
James Young, advisor to the exhibition and professor of English and Judaic Studies at UMass Amherst
Alan Schechner, artist whose work is featured in “Mirroring Evil”
Yael Danieli, psychologist and founder of the Group Project for Holocaust Survivors and Their Children.