In the post-Holocaust era of continuing gecides and ethnic warfare, there is a widespread compulsion to confront the attempted Nazi extermination of the Jews before the last survivors disappear forever. Dora Apel analyzes the ways in which artists born after the Holocaust - whom she calls secondary witnesses - represent a history they did t experience first hand. These individuals have deeply internalized the horror of these events, but their representations of the past include the cultural and political conditions of the present in which the past is considered. Apel shows that contemporary artists confront the Holocaust in order to bear witness t to the Holocaust directly, but to its memory effects and to the implications of those effects for the present and future. Drawing on projects that employ a variety of urthodox artistic strategies, Apel provides a unique understanding of contemporary representations of the Holocaust. She demonstrates how these artists frame the past within the conditions of the present, the subversive use of documentary and the archive, the effects of the Jewish gecide on issues of difference and identity, and the use of rep resentation as a form of resistance to historical closure.
DORA APEL is the W. Hawkins Ferry Chair in Twentieth-Century Art History and Criticism at Wayne State University. She has been the volume editor for several exhibition catalogs at the Cranbrook Art Museum, including Three Decades of Contemporary Art: The Dr. John and Rose M. Shuey Collection, Inigo Manglano-Ovalle, and Weird Science.