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Nir Hod, “Mother”

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Israeli artist Nir Hod’s take on queer aesthetics has been mostly framed by his country’s history and by Jewish culture generally. His photos of gender-bent IDF personnel sometimes featured himself in uniform; more recently, he started painting canvases of a precocious young “genius” of undetermined sexuality. His latest works—also paintings—revisit one of the most iconic images of the Holocaust: the photo of Jews being rounded up after the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1943. While most people have focused on its image of a scared little boy in the foreground, Hod has chosen to zoom in on a women to the left, who, with her hands raised, glances nervously back at a group of armed German soldiers. Just who this woman is and what her relationship to the boy may be remains a mystery, one that Hod doesn’t solve so much as elevate to level of art-historical inquiry. 

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