Posted inOpinion

CIA Copies Star Wars for Aborted Osama bin Laden Propaganda Doll

American propaganda has come a long way since genteel writer Peter Mathieesen founded The Paris Review as part of his CIA gig in postwar France. The Washington Post today reported that the intelligence agency tapped Donald Levine, the seasoned former Hasbro executive responsible for G.I. Joe, to create a demonic Osama Bin Laden toy for distribution in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

Posted inOpinion

Required Reading

In this week’s recommended reading … photo essays on Afghanistan and the death of Osama bin Laden, a profile of Barbara Kruger, art won’t make you unemployed, how death (or imprisonment) changes an artist’s work, Hans Ulrich Obrist talks to Julian Assange, and a profile of suspected WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning.

Posted inArt

Drawings of Portraits of Osama Bin Laden at Pierogi

Filling an entire gallery with the repeated face of Osama Bin Laden might sound like a bit of Warholian task for an artist interested in interrogating politics: an international criminal turned celebrity. But James Esber’s exhibition You, Me and Everybody Else at Pierogi in Williamsburg actually aims to do exactly the opposite. By repeating Osama’s image so many times, Esber seeks to remove the political content from the image, simplifying into just a visual work of art. The real trick? The Osama portraits aren’t even drawn by the artist. By asking artists and non-artists alike to copy his original portrait, Esber blurs the line between subject and meaning.