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Beacon Street Disqualified

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Having seen the "disturbing" exhibit of German artists Kubiak and Rauch, "German Physiognomy and Palmistry" at Beacon Street Gallery--which in my opinion was one of the best shows this year in Chicago, which dealt with such a controversial theme as neo-Nazism--I was upset to read about its sudden end [Culture Club, November 10].

I can understand that the exhibit caused some disturbances, especially among staff and clients of the Hull House. And I can understand that survivors of violence do not want to be exposed to symbols connected to violence like swastikas. But this just means that Beacon Street Gallery is absolutely the wrong place for an exhibit about neo-Nazism.

What did Pat Murphy and the staff of Beacon Street Gallery expect? Some silent protest put in nice paintings? In my opinion, any art which deals with subjects like neo-Nazis must be disturbing, because the upswing of neo-Nazism in Germany, Europe, and other parts of the world is disturbing. Disturbing, too, is the fact that people most often tend to look in the other direction if they see neo-Nazis marching on the streets shouting racist slogans.

Neo-Nazis are not just some misled youth. They are responsible for thousands of hate crimes in recent years, ranging from "just" intimidating foreigners over destroying Jewish cemeteries to arson, letter bombs, and murder.

What really upset me was the fact that some of the photos had been damaged when the show was taken down. This totally disqualifies Beacon Street Gallery. If you do not know in advance what the art you are showing is about and if you are not able to handle artwork properly you should stay away from exhibiting art.

Martin Rathgeber

W. Thomas

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