Burning Man festival displays Barbie death camp exhibit, creator Jewish

The art installment has been displayed at the festival for eight years in a row.

By
September 7, 2019 19:56
1 minute read.
Barbie death camp, Burning Man festival 2014

Barbie death camp, Burning Man festival 2014. (photo credit: FLICKR)

Burning Man, a late summer festival held in the Nevada desert, had an art installation this year which involved hundreds of Barbie dolls trapped between pink walls, some of which enter ovens while being held at gunpoint by GI Joe toys, according to the The Jewish News of Northern California (J.).

The festival has been known for allowing extreme artistic self-expression, and has hosted this particular exhibit since 2000.

The creator of the display, James Jacoby, was approached by protesters last Thursday and was threatened by them as they vandalized the display. Another person involved with the display used a mallet to smash in a protester's tail lights, and was consequently arrested.

Jacoby said that he is Jewish and has brought the installation to Burning Man "since [former US president Bill] Clinton was president," he told the J. He reportedly defended the display as an "aphrodisiac," saying anyone offended by it should ignore it.

A sign above the Barbie dolls says that the installation was created by "The Mattel Co. and Auschwitz Inc., Purveyors of Fine Lampshades and Soap Products Since 1939." In big lettering on that same sign are the words "Barbie Death Camp and Wine Bistro."

Below it in German is "Arbeit Macht Frei," meaning in German: "work will set you free," reflecting the message written on the gate at the entrance to the Auschwitz death camp.

“It’s a little dark,” Jacoby acknowledged, “[but] part of the magic of [Burning Man] is that it’s not vanilla, Disneyland, pro-family. There’s a lot of nudity. A lot of sex. A lot of drugs. It’s not a family-friendly environment. And our camp isn’t, either.”

On the art installation's website, they claim to be the "home to some of the naughtiest, filthiest, snarkiest burners on and off the playa. Our members are creators, volunteers and participants for various art installations, Mutant Vehicles, the org and more."


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