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Munch Remixed by the Wall Street Journal: a brief critical note

Image source: Wall Street Journal

I read a Wall Street Journal article on Sunday July 20, titled “How to Control your Fears in a Fearsome Market.” The article by Jason Zweig was accompanied with the above image by artist Heath Hnegargner. The image is quite small online, but the WSJ’s print edition shows a much larger reproduction.

There are a few things that intrigue me about the image. First, there is no reference to Edvard Munch’s original work, The Scream. This could be because Munch’s work may be so ingrained in people’s minds that a citation of the original is no longer necessary.

Second, Hnegargner appropriates Munch’s image in the name of that which many consider the opposite of nature: modernity and its current aftermath in the global economic market. In the image above, the appropriated figure covers his ears in despair not because nature is screaming (as the original image is contextualized based on Munch’s writings), but because the world market is screaming. Such is the power of appropriation. Below is a reproduction of Munch’s painting, from 1893.

Image source: http://www.charleroisd.org/middleschool/images/munch.png

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