A Smashing Display

| November-December 2009

  • Car Destroyed in Iraq

    image by Jeremy Deller, 2008, New Museum, New York

  • Car Destroyed in Iraq

Apparently we really can’t get enough of a horrendous car wreck.

British artist Jeremy Deller aimed to spur dialogue about the Iraq war with It Is What It Is, an exhibition touring the United States that includes a “conversation zone” where museumgoers discuss the war with people who have had firsthand experiences in Iraq, from veterans to journalists to Iraqi refugees.

But it’s a single inanimate object in the show that is sparking the most attention, reports Art Papers (July-Aug. 2009): a crumpled car destroyed in a 2007 Baghdad explosion that killed 30 people.

“Lingering beyond the conversation area like a specter of war, this found object became the focal point of the exhibition,” Art Papers writes, “unequivocally exerting its spell on viewers who, removed from the conflict, latch on to this primary object’s fascinating foreignness.”

Unlike much art about the war in Iraq, the exhibit doesn’t take an overt and predictable stand. While this aggressive neutrality unnerves some observers, Art Papers ultimately sees value in it: “It Is What It Is proves to be less antiwar than an opportunity for the general public to listen and experience the living history of this conflict from those who witnessed the events, and to participate in its narration as witnesses.”

Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $40.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $45 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!

Facebook Instagram Twitter

click me