Patrick Nagatani

Gold and Greenglass 1945 “Jello Box Halves,” Atomic Spies Meeting Place

From the series "Nuclear Enchantment"

(Chicago, 1945 - October 27, 2017)


Ilfocolor print

Collection of the Akron Art Museum

Gift of George Stephanopoulos


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Harry Gold and David Greenglass used Jell-O packages to contact one another as they passed nuclear secrets to Greenglass’s sister Ethel and her husband, Julius Rosenberg. After a trial that remains controversial, the Rosenbergs were executed in 1953 for giving those secrets to the Soviet Union. The Albuquerque apartment where Greenglass stayed still exists; Nagatani staged this scene in its kitchen. He filled the space with packages of cherry Jell-O and simulated drawings for “Fat Man” and “Little Boy,” the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He chose cherry because it was one of the first flavors of Jell-O available, suggested the innocence of children and reminded him of red cherry bombs with green fuse stems.

United States