"The primary focus of our work is what we call the transportation of place-situations in which one limited or isolated place strongly resembles another distant one. Everywhere, not only in the new world, such situations are accumulating and accepted as genuine locales. Traditional notions of place, in which culture and geographic location neatly coincide, are being challenged by legacies of slavery, colonialism, holocaust, immigration, tourism, and mass communication. Whether the subject is Germany in Africa, Germans dressing as Native Americans, American towns dressed as Germany, New York in Las Vegas, New York in Cuba, or Cuba in exile, our interest tends to be a place out of place with its various causes and consequences." —Andrea Robbins and Max Becher
Young Man with Shield appears in The Transportation of Place (Aperture, 2006), in which the Bechers describe the German Indians series. "It is a somewhat clichéd truth that no country has more of a fascination with Native Americans than Germany. Besides a deep-rooted romantic view of a preindustrial past, and the imagery of cowboy-Western movies, the primary cause of this fascination is the work of the nineteenth-century writer Karl May. Although he didn't visit North America until late in life, he wrote many novels about the Wild West, portraying Native Americans as heroes and whites as villains. Karl May's birthday is celebrated annually in his hometown of Radebeul, near Dresden, by hundreds of Germans dressed as Native Americans. Loosely formed groups, called tribes, gather from all over the country. By participating in re-creations, open air festivals, and hobby clubs, postwar Germans, discouraged from nationalism and group ritual, sense a permission to find themselves in other ethnic groups. And, perhaps, criticism of atrocities against Native Americans also gives Germans some sense of relief from their own shame of the Holocaust."
U.S.-born Andrea Robbins and German Max Becher both received BFAs from Cooper Union, New York. They have had solo exhibitions at Photographische Sammlung, Cologne, Germany; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; American Fine Arts, New York; Robert B. Menschel Photography Gallery, Syracuse, New York; and elsewhere. They have been in numerous group exhibitions in venues including the Guggenheim Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain, and in New York at the Whitney Museum of American Art, International Center of Photography, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New Museum, Dia Art Foundation, Jewish Museum, and Museum of Modern Art. They are represented in New York by Sonnabend Gallery, and their work is in major collections such as the International Center of Photography, Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim, the Jewish Museum, all New York, and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris.
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