Dec 16, 2011:
@ChieftanMews: Seasons Greetings: http://i.imgur.com/zG5X8.jpg
@ChieftanMews: Stay crazy. Stay detuned. ␄
A straightforward holiday tweet? .. not quite.
Chieftan Mew’s tweeted the following image with ‘Seasons Greetings’ followed by a message to Stay Crazy and the usual Stay detuned / End of Transmission
(Source: @ChieftanMews on Twitter)
Thanks to Google we know the image is of a Photomontage by John Heartfield titled “O joyful, o blessed, miracle-bringing time.” made in 1935.
John Heartfield originally coined the phrase ‘The Most Gigantic Lying Mouth of All Time’ as Thom explained during a online Q&A in response of a fan asking for the meaning of TMGLMOAT:
It’s after a John Heartfield collage. He was a German artist in the 30s and 40s he changed his name to disown himself from the rise of the Reich in Germany. It is a title of one of his collage paintings which were all cut up, subverted propaganda from the Third Reich.
You can read the rest of the interview from 2003 Here.
Art for a Change gives us a interesting rundown of what the ‘Christmas Card’ Mew’s tweeted is about.
The anti-militarist Christmas message from John Heartfield published on December 26, 1935, in the German magazine, Arbeiter-Illustriete Zeitung (AIZ, or “Worker’s Illustrated Paper”).
The title of the photomontage, O du fröhliche, O du selige, gnadenbringende Zeit (O joyful, o blessed, miracle-bringing time), was taken from one of Germany’s most popular Christmas carols.
Heartfield made a number of photomontage works that touched upon Christmas and how its message of peace was being subverted by the forces of war and fascism.
For instance, in the 1934 Christmas edition of AIZ, the artist published his photomontage, O Tannenbaum im deutschen Raum, wie krumm sind deine Äste! (O Christmas tree in German soil, how bent are thy branches). The artwork depicted a Christmas tree with its branches twisted into the shape of a swastika.
The cover of the 1933 Christmas issue of AIZ featured a photograph of an American battleship with the headline, “And Peace on Earth!” When opening the magazine the reader would see a Heartfield photomontage on the first page – its message read, “Peace on Earth? No peace on earth, as long as the poor become poorer!” Heartfield’s artwork depicted hungry Germans peering into an upscale shop window that was bursting with Christmas merchandise they could not afford.