Maurizio Cattelan, Him, 2001

Don’t Touch My Holocaust: Israeli Artists Challenging the Holocaust Taboo

A paper and lecture for the International Conference: Representing the Holocaust: Practices, Products, Projections, The Berman Center for Jewish Studies, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

In the first conference of its kind, a distinguished gathering of artists, photographers, curators, cultural critics, and historians analyzed the ways in which the Holocaust is represented in and through art, photographs, museums, and monuments. Specialists from the United States, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Israel addressed such questions as: How is memory and awareness of the Holocaust being transmitted and produced through representational practices and cultural forms? What diverse forms of representational practices are being used to represent the Holocaust in the visual arts? What distinctive problems confront artists seeking to represent the Holocaust?  In my lecture I explored the controversy over who has the right or licence to “touch,” that is, artistically engage, the Holocaust in contemporary Israel.


Conference Presenters:
Ariella Azoulay, Michael Berenbaum, Julian Bonder, Alice Lok Cahana, Judy Chicago, Stephen C. Feinstein, Michelle Friedman, Shelley Hornstein, Tami Katz-Freiman, Norman L. Kleeblatt, Andrea Liss, Edward Lucie-Smith, Peter Novick, Art Spiegelman, Oren Baruch Stier, Debbie Teicholz, Ernst van Alphen, Mindy Weisel, Barbie Zelizer.