You’ll feel like you’ve seen her before, this elegant woman laden with bags.
Not just because Nir Hod’s show at Paul Kasmin, opening Wednesday, features ten near-identical paintings of her, each rendered in a different tone, kind of like Andy Warhol’s Shadows. With her classic style; her dark hair pinned in artful disarray; her wary gaze fixed on something outside the frame, she resembles a Cindy Sherman film still, one of those archetypal females enmeshed in a noirish drama. Or maybe she’s just hailing a cab after a long day of shopping.
Then you examine a small silver plate on a wall. That’s when you realize the woman’s look of timeless chic is really Warsaw, circa 1943. To her left is a small boy wearing a big cap and short pants, wobbly-kneed and vulnerable, hands in the air; behind them are more Jews at gunpoint. The picture, from a Nazi report celebrating the liquidation of the Ghetto, is often described as the most famous Holocaust image in history.
“My plan is they will see the show, then they turn around and see it in a completely different way,” the artist explains. “That will be the twist.” He adds, “Then when you discover where it comes from, you feel like guilty…”
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Nir Hod, Mother, 2011. Courtesy Paul Kasmin gallery.