Being there

By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  February 22, 2006

JARRING A German soldier imagined by Stephen Jacobs.The Civil War isn’t the only one revisited by re-enactors, nor the only period depicted here. David Graham’s color photographs are all over the historical map, from Marie Antoinette at a Bastille Day parade in Philadelphia to mannequins of Rhett and Scarlett at a Pasadena film museum. The lack of significant historical resonance makes these the least interesting contributions in the show. Nevertheless, a bizarre delight is his photo of rifle-toting, life-size plastic soldiers in camouflage crawling over football sidelines at an Army-Navy game.

More interesting are the Revolutionary War and Mohawk re-enactors captured by Lauren Piperno. In one, British troops march toward a three-masted schooner, not a telephone or power line in sight; in another, three Indians in battle dress and war paint stand armed in an urban setting, for surreal contrast. Here and there a striking face grabs our attention and is reluctant to let go, such as David Murcko’s portrait of someone playing Gen. George Armstrong Custer, caught close-up and meditative. But perhaps the most jarring series here is that of German World War II soldiers, by Stephen Jacobs. Seeing a young Waffen SS soldier relaxing in a field tent in New Hampshire and a Panzer Grenadier platoon sprawled in a Massachusetts forest makes this whole re-enactment enterprise as visceral as good theater.

< prev  1  |  2  | 
  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Culture and Lifestyle, Armed Forces, History,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   A SO-SO SATIRE  |  July 02, 2014
    There’s this poor country whose medium of exchange is goats (actually, promises of parts of a goat — promissory goats).
  •   PROFOUNDLY SILLY  |  June 25, 2014
    It’s been more than a half-century since Eugène Ionesco’s first play, The Bald Soprano , was written in a burst of splenetic post-WWII exasperation over the ludicrous behavior of his species.
  •   TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY  |  June 18, 2014
    It doesn’t hurt that Angels In America is, in several regards, the greatest American play ever written.
  •   PUNCHING THE CLOCK  |  June 18, 2014
    We come into the world, we rub our eyes, we look around and squall, and we spend the rest of our lives trying to figure out why we had to bother.
  •   MEETING OF THE MINDS  |  June 11, 2014
    The knockout production avoids digressions and keeps the interplay punchy, leaving us reeling as well. Think ' Crossfire' on the History Channel.

 See all articles by: BILL RODRIGUEZ