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CULTURE
Phillip Toledano's America: The Gift Shop
by Tim Yu
on 22 September 2008

by Gabriel Bell

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After eight years of government that's left a sizable chip on America's shoulder, it's no big surprise that George W-era memorabilia isn't exactly flooding the market. Enter Cool Hunting favorite, photographer Phillip Toledano with "America: The Gift Shop." A virtual exhibition with clever takes on the subjects of torture, special rendition and government secrecy, the book features enough cheek to make you gasp, giggle or groan (depending on your politics).

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Turning to plastic arts instead of his camera, Toledano created a conceptual store of Bush administration mementos, including such satirical wonders as a bouncy Gitmo holding cell, an Abu Ghraib bobble-head doll and a Dick Cheney snow globe complete with shredded document confetti. Brilliant and disturbing, the collection, which is currently in search of a brick-and-mortar exhibition space, is one of the funniest things we've seen lately—it's also one of the scariest.

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