George Robinson |
Special To The Jewish Week
The faces look out at you, some shy, some defiant, some amused, some even downright playful. They are men and women, children and the elderly. It’s the late-1920s, the 1930s, these are Jews living in the Poland of the late-1920s and ’30, and although neither they nor the American citizens filming them know it, they are doomed. The images bespeak a flourishing culture, but by the end of the Second World War, 90 percent of Polish Jews will have been murdered by the Nazis and their accomplices.
Mel Bochner’s new show at The Jewish Museum involves a lot of reading. The more than 70 drawings and paintings are lists of synonyms, portraits conveyed with words, texts with philosophical leanings and emoticons, too.
Carol Hamoy’s “Sabbath Bride” holds court in a corner of one gallery at the HUC Museum. She’s both stately and heimish. Covered with strips of lace, embroidery thread, buttons, pearls, mesh and feathers, this bride is a tailor’s drawer full of shimmering odds and ends layered on a headless torso. In the words of “Lecha Dodi,” sung on Friday nights, the Sabbath arrives as a bride and departs as a queen.
From the very beginning of the exhibition “Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937,” the connection is made, and underscored, between the Nazis identifying artists whose work was unacceptable, destroying their art and wrecking their careers, and the Nazis (later) identifying people whose very being was unacceptable and murdering them.