Harley Gaber: Die Plage

Harley Gaber, Die Plage, multi-panel photomontage (detail), 1993-2002. Photo: Joseph Gallivan.

Harley Gaber: Die Plage

Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, Portland, OR - To Jan 29, 2023

by Joseph Gallivan

This selection from Harley Gaber’s series Die Plage (The Plague) consists of 380 black-and-white photo-collages of Nazi Germany street scenes and concentration camps. Gaber visited Germany seven times, photocopying images from archives and mass media, tearing and cutting them and juxtaposing fragments on single panels, then arranging the panels into murals. Gaber was an American Jewish minimalist composer too, but Die Plage became his nine-year obsession. Before he took his own life in 2011, Die Plage was up to 4,200 panels, which have been digitized and preserved. More than just horror art, the megamural “considers the role of individuals in the course of history and consequently challenges viewers to examine their responsibility to their nation and to one another in the plagues of our times,” according to curator Melissa Martens Yaverbaum.

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