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Expletives Owed
17 sec.

"Axtman is also responsible for the most resonant video in the exhibition, Expletives Owned (2007). A small screen imbedded in the gallery wall shows repeating courtroom footage of the 1992 Jeffrey Dahmer hearing. In the short clip, Rita Isbell, sister of victim Errol Lindsey, walks out from behind the courtroom podium and lunges at Dahmer screaming expletives that were blanked out for national TV airing. Axtman fills the gaps with similar expletives spoken by black comedians Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor and Bernie Mac. The appropriation of the two, comedy and courtroom drama, is jarring and bizarre. Yet, the repetition of the clip turns Isbell’s frightening rage into a cathartic event. Dahmer’s eyes remain downcast as, shaking and out of control, she calls him by his first name: “Never again Jeffrey! Never!” It is impossible to look away." Katie Geha