An art-history undergrad’s C-plus critique of the occupation of Iraq

(Anja Niedringhaus/Associated Press)
O, what beauty has been sown from destruction! As with Picasso’s famed “Guernica,” art aficionados once again have the opportunity to witness anew the innermost depths of visual purity that have arisen from the turmoil and despair of some mysterious “other.”
Ostensibly having undertaken a photographic portrait of today’s rocket strike upon a hotel in central Baghdad, the artist, Anja Niedringhaus, has done an exceptional job of framing the composition in such a manner that the merits of using the classical painterly technique known as chiaroscuro become, well, painfully obvious. Notice the interplay between light and dark in Niedringhaus’ image, the way in which the otherwise abstract notion of “Iraqi rage” billows outward and takes on a life of its own amidst the spiritual and political darkness of the Western world – here represented by the image’s being set at nighttime.
Furthermore, be sure not to disregard the inherent conflict between “nature” and “mankind” as it is displayed herein; take note of the image’s striking left-and-right contrast between the fluidly burning palm trees and the sharp, jarring architecture of the civilized world. Or the usage of the color yellow as the portrait’s focal point; one is literally drawn into this veritable heart of fiery Baghdad, where, hopefully, the viewer will be able to partake of the wonderfully restored social services (e.g. the reconstruction of fire stations and water pipes) that have been restored by Halliburton and Bechtel. What? Am I missing something?

2 replies on “An art-history undergrad’s C-plus critique of the occupation of Iraq”

It seems to me that the “Guernica” in Iraq occurred when we chose to drop explosive devices (previously known as bombs) on civilian areas of Faluja, Baghdad and other places causing grievious collateral damage (previously known as war crimes).
The chiaroscuro effect is the contrast between the immense amount of light shed on hotels, US soldiers, journalists and western hostages by our Western media as opposed to the total darkness which envelops the suffering of ordinary Iraqis as a result of our humble acts of liberation.

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