Hitler-themed golf hole defended20th August, 2012 by Jenny Yu
A crazy golf hole that features a statue of Adolf Hitler has been defended as ‘welcome publicity’ by a prominent art critic.
Adventureland Golf is an indoor mini golf course in which each hole has been designed by an artist, which is on display at the Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool. It includes a hole, designed by Jake and Dinos Chapman, where golfers are encouraged to putt the ball into an area just under the waist of the statue of Hitler.
If successful, the statue raises its right arm to make the Nazi salute, as the noise ‘nein, nein, nein’ bellows out.
Michael Samuels of the Board of Deputies of British Jews called the golf hole “tasteless” and said that it had “absolutely no artistic value whatsoever. Hitler was responsible for the murders of many millions of people.”
However, art critic Jonathan Jones has defended the piece, stating that “artists have the right to offend, but when does an image of Hitler become offensive?
“Hitler as a crazy golf statue apparently offends. But what about Basil Fawlty doing his funny walk, Mel Brooks’ Hitler musical or the bizarrely characterful portrayal of Hitler in the film Downfall?
“The trouble seems to lie in our belief that statues are honorific. To make a statue of someone, even as a proposal for an imaginary crazy golf course, is – we assume – to praise and ennoble them. That’s why statues get toppled in revolutions and wars. The exhibition in Blackpool also includes an image of dictator Saddam Hussein. Is that praising him?
“Does the crazy golf Hitler have artistic value? As an exercise in causing offence, it is apparently quite effective. That may not be the highest artistic achievement, but it’s not bad for mid-August.”
Curator Stuart Tulloch added: “The statue gives us the chance now to ridicule Hitler.”
Elsewhere at the Adventureland Golf exhibition, David Shrigley has a piece that simply states ‘Golf isn’t boring’ while Zatorski and Zatorski’s final hole features a ball rendered irretrievable by a set of black mausoleum-like slabs.
“The brief was open,” said Doug Fishbone, the American artist behind the exhibition.
“Mini or crazy or adventure golf is usually a very conservative thing, so we are pushing the envelope quite a bit – if the artists raise issues that might not normally be seen on a golf course, I promote that 100 per cent.”