When the Artist Is a Nazi

Christopher Knight calls out the Petersen Museum for whitewashing Von Dutch, featured in "Auto-Didactic: The Juxtapoz School". Von Dutch (born Kenneth Robert Howard) was an auto customizer, pinstriper, Neo-Nazi, and racist. In 2004 the OC Weekly and Los Angeles Magazine ran profiles addressing these contradictions. Some of the money quotes:

"Even those who admire Von Dutch don't call him a nice guy. No, they use words like bitter and racist and violent."
—Lead of the OC Weekly piece, by Theo Douglas

"He had all the trappings of being a neo-Nazi. He could not tolerate black people."
—Robert Williams, OC Weekly

[Howard/Von Dutch was] "an artistic Nazi, an aesthetic Nazi and a racist. But he was not a white-power guy. He hated everybody too much to be one of those."
—Ed Boswell, founder of Von Dutch's clothing line, in Los Angeles Magazine

"When we arrived, he said he wasn't finished with the car he was working on—could we come back in about half an hour? We could see that he'd already had more than a few beers while he was working. When we got back, he was sloshed. He looked at us and snarled, 'I don't work on Jew cars!' I'm Jewish; my husband isn't. We left, me feeling miserable… Everyone knew he was a Nazi except me."

Part of growing up is realizing that good artists can be bad people. Knight isn't saying that Von Dutch shouldn't be shown, just that some context would be in order. As shown in "Auto-Didactic", Von Dutch is (along with Ed "Big Daddy" Roth) co-founder of a scene as much as a creator of objects. That's all the more reason to acknowledge the dark side of an L.A. subculture that is now more Latino-diverse. 
Von Dutch pinstriping. Photo by Nathandelaney


Anonymous said…
Hell yeah im buying his stuff now
Anonymous said…
Now I'll sport his gear proudly.
Anonymous said…
Around after 9/11/2001 and on, on AOL Messageboards, a certain AOL user posted obsessively against Jews.

She quoted a lot of pseudo material written by infamous Holocaust denier (completely denied it at least since 1972) Issa Nakhleh who worked with neo Nazis for decades [she appeared from ME,  linked to his promoters, group].

She repeated, constantly 911 conspiracy theories.

When she repeated tropes used by Nazis, blatant ignorant about Judaism and recycling misconception, as she was being proven wrong, she never debated, she just went to another trope. And again. Next round. On a daily basis.
For example, she repeated every other day the words 'Kol Nidrei,' as if it's something "bad." (The prayer, by the way, that Jews state between God and themselves, it is not connected to between fellow men issues). When she was proven wrong, she was already 'at' the next canard. (The same goes to ignorance and malicious based misinterpreting some phrase in Talmud).

One day she pretended to be a "concerned Christian" avenging the blood of Jesus and blaming "da Jooz", the other day, the complete contradiction, promoting the anti-Semite's beloved Khazar myth about some part of some of Ashkenazi Jews.
A typical post by her went also something like this:
'Jews don't belong here ... they should all go to Palestine... oh, wait, they can't go there either. No place for them. They don't belong anywhere. LOL.'
After spamming for months, taunting a Holocaust survivor and hurting any Jews, denying there was a Holocaust, she posted against a Holocaust survivor under username Hafar10.... [and digits which I removed to conceal identify] (along the lines):

"Dr. Mengele, paging Hafar, paging Hafar to barrack 10.."

Just to taunt the poor guy.'