Copro Nason Gallery 11265 Washington Bl., Culver City,
& Christmas” Group Art Exhibtion
DATE: December 11 through
January 15 opening reception December 11th 7-11:30 p.m.
CONTACT: Gary Pressman-
Gallery Director Copro/Nason Art Gallery
Gallery presents its first, "Krampus and Christmas" group
art show. Great artists of our time will present original pieces influenced
and about Krampus and the many legends of Christmas. On display also
will be extremely rare original Krampus cards from the collection
of Monte Beachamp. Monte publishes Blab magazine and recently released
the book “The Devil in Design: The Krampus Postcards. He will
also be available on opening night to sign Krampus and Blab books.
The opening will be in the tradition of a typical Krampusnacht party
including scaring children, beating bystanders with switches and of
course heavy alcohol consumption and partial nudity. Come have a good
time and see some great art celebrating the season.
Krampus has been a cottage industry in Austria, from Victorian times
through the present. This mostly consists of the production of Krampus
postcards that tend to feature Krampus and his "prodigious tongue",
assailing various Betty Page type pin-up girls (or even pure-hearted
Austrian housefraus) with his lecherous advances. During World War
II, Krampus shamefully pandered to the Nazis in such postcards, doing
a series of propaganda appearances in which he trounced and embarrassed
British and French citizens and soldiers. After WWII, it was rumored
that Krampus fled to Brazil and took part in an evil cloning scheme
but that will probably never get out.
The Story of Krampus and Christmas
St. Nikolaus, patron saint of children, was a bishop in Myra in Asia
Minor 300 AD. The legend of Christmas started when he is said to have
left gold on the window sills of three poor girls for their dowry.
More diverse than those of the saintly Nikolaus are the many legends
and traditions surrounding his often wild companions. The pagan origin
of all of these figures is evident although difficult to trace. His
best known companion is Knecht Ruprecht, "Knecht" meaning
servant. Historically, Ruprecht was a dark and sinister figure clad
in a tattered robe with a big sack on his back, in which legend has
it, that he placed all naughty children. This is an extension of the
good-cop, bad-cop theory and in this role Ruprecht became the patron
saint of Christmas and was called Weihnachtsmann," Father Christmas
or Santa Claus".
Santa was most heavily influenced by the Norse Thor, who had a long
white beard and cheerfully rode a flying chariot. The enemy of good
in Norse mythology was Loki, a figure usually depicted as falling
somewhere in the range between Satan himself and Carrot Top. Loki
was a devil-trickster figure with big horns. In Austria the saint
is followed by a similar horned creature, called Krampus, covered
with bells and dragging chains. The Krampus is a sort of devil who
accompanies St. Nikolaus to punish the wicked. Krampus carries the
presents for the good and a birch stick or lumps of coal for the naughty
ones. It is rumored that naughty children might get put in the sack
and taken along, or even beat with a whip or switch.
The customs that have grown up around the “Feast of St. Nikolaus”
go back to a very old tradition, originally celebrated on 28th December,
the “Feast of the Holy Innocents”. It was later moved
to 5/6th December and become a saint's day for St. Nicholas, who pronounced
judgment on the children, tested them on their catechism and rewarded
their performance either with a gift or with punishment from his lackey,
Krampus. To counter superstition, Martin Luther forbade these Nikolaus
customs in the Lutheran area. Instead, the "Holy Christ",
himself was to be the bringer of gifts.
Once the Christians criminalized orgiastic excess, the Krampus-fertility
nexus evolved into more of a taboo-stalker kind of scenario, in which
the devilish figure, traditionally depicted with a swollen foot-long
red tongue, malevolently thrusts himself on nubile women who are eternally
"protesting" his advances. Not protesting too much because
after all, he has a foot long red tongue.