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PRINT October 1984

JIM STARRETT, PACIFIST PAINTER

JIM STARRETT IS A PAINTER who suffers signs gladly. The grid armature of his paintings hardly buckles as it rides out the storm of symbols: knife and comb, cross and Odal rune (symbol of RuSHA, Hitler’s office of race and resettlement), ladder and chair, the Nazi paraphernalia of swastika, iron cross, and the SS double lightning bolt dangling from rosary beads of blood, and, perhaps most conspicuously, a photo-portrait of Pope Pius XII, often juxtaposed with the SS skull-and-bones insignia of death. Those who live by death and those who promise immortal life—are they far apart? This is the world-historical problematic of Starrett’s pictures: why did the prince of peace not speak out against the Nazi atrocity, the Nazi crime against humanity? Why did he not use his ethical office to speak out against evil? By what right does authority exist if it does not exist for the right? Starrett’s

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