To the Editors:
Jed Perl’s criticism always fails to be convincing, but the reason why has never been more apparent than in a noxious comment found in his “A Dissent on Kiefer” (December 1988).
Perl, who believes the Holocaust is being trivialized in both German and American art today, assails the use of photographs of concentration camp victims in the recent mixed-media reliefs of Robert Morris. In a footnote, he discusses Morris’s earlier use of a specific World War II reference: the notorious 1974 poster in which the artist showed himself naked to the waist and wearing dark glasses, a spiked steel collar, manacles, and what appears to be a Nazi helmet.
From s-and-m imagery [Perl writes] to Holocaust imagery is quite a leap—a recapitulation of Nazi history that may also, consciously or unconsciously, mirror one trajectory of...