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Jim Riswold: Göring’s Lunch

Jim Riswold, Heydrich's Skateboard, 2004, color digital printJim Riswold, Mussolini's Mirror, 2004, color digital printA small exhibition of photographs by Jim Riswold, a Portland photographer whose work satirizes some of the most well-known despots of the 20th century, will open May 27 and continue through Aug. 5 in the Print Study Center of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University.

Jim Riswold: Göring's Lunch will feature the dark humor and parody Riswold uses in his photos, in which he juxtaposes toy models and plastic houses with Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Josef Stalin and Hideki Tojo. The works suggest the bizarre psychology of photographer Cindy Sherman's staged works, but at the same time recall "Springtime for Hitler," Mel Brooks' famous song and dance spoof from The Producers.

Born in Seattle in 1957, Riswold graduated from the University of Washington in 1983 with degrees in philosophy, history and communications. He eventually moved to Portland and secured a position with Wieden + Kennedy, a major advertising firm that handles a number of national accounts, including one for Nike. As creative director, Riswold worked with Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, Spike Lee and Tiger Woods, among others.

Riswold began taking photos a few years ago after surfing the Internet and discovering a universe of Hitler products, including toys, dolls, books, videos and garden tools. Other searches revealed similar projects related to Mussolini, Stalin, Tojo and a host of Hitler's henchmen. Riswold was curious that these items could be considered toys, and although he was not trained as a photographer himself, he enlisted the help of friends and colleagues to capture his own ideas with photography.

Riswold has had four solo exhibitions since he took up photography, including three exhibitions at the Augen Gallery in Portland and the current exhibition at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art. He is represented in the collections of the Portland Art Museum, the Tacoma Art Museum, the Hallie Ford Museum of Art and several private collections throughout the region.

Jim Riswold: Göring's Lunch has been supported in part by grants from the City of Salem's Transient Occupancy Tax Funds and the Oregon Arts Commission.

The Hallie Ford Museum of Art is located at 700 State St. (corner of State and Cottage streets) in downtown Salem near the campus of Willamette University. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The galleries are closed Sunday and Monday. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for seniors and students. Children younger than 12 are admitted free, and Tuesday is an admission-free day. For more information, call (503) 370-6855.

05-30-2006