in Jerusalem, which shows two Elvis impersonators, one young, one
old, on opposite sides of a crowded McDonald's, ignored by everyone.
Others explore identity through social context. Julie Dermansky and
video installation addresses our conflicting
emotions as we watch people eat at the
Auschwitz Museum Cafe. Vitaly Komar and
Alexander Melamid eloquently evoke exile
and hope by paralleling their departure
from Russia and the biblical Exodus in the drawings
and model for their Temple for the Third Exodus
from Russia: Remains of the Temple (1997).
Certain works speak about personal faith in a secular world, revealing
the spiritual in ordinary things, as do Judy Jerz's 1999 photos of
her family floating in the Dead Sea, or Madelin Coit's The Big Bamboo
1999) showing lines of a poem on the slats of a
venetian blind, only becoming visible when
the blinds are shut.
Finally, Geoffrey Laurence's painting of
a skeleton wearing a prayer shawl and stand
ing beside a Nazi officer powerfully and directly addresses the Holocaust. Judy
Chicago and her husband, Donald Wood
man, look at it more obliquely in their
painting-and-photographic work The Banality of Evil/Struthof (1989).
In this disarming piece, the artists re-create history,
juxtaposing Germans and peasants drinking
at a local inn as Jews are being beaten and
led to the gas chamber across the
kilometers from the Natzweiller
tion camp in Alsace-Lnffaine. Ironically, it's the pho
tography that looks dreamlike and the painting real, underscoring
the incomprehensibility of the situation.