There is no reason to think that a wealthy girl in Europe, enrolled in a fine private school, would give it all up to live in a hot and fetid desert. But this was Hungary in 1939. The Nazis were sitting on its border, and that privileged girl was a Jew. More important, she was Hannah Senesh, a precocious teenager whose breathtaking facility with words was matched only by her profound moral courage.
During the 1960s, The Jewish Museum was at the vanguard of the contemporary art world, mounting career-defining shows for artists like Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. In those days many in the emerging art world were Jews — artists like Mark Rothko and Diane Arbus, the dealer Leo Castelli, the critic Clement Greenberg (though not Rauschenberg and Johns) — and the museum made it its mission to champion their work.
One approaches “Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam,” a new exhibit of religious texts at The New York Public Library, with caution. The animating idea might cause you to roll your eyes at its surface naiveté: at a time of heightened tensions among Muslims, Jews and Christians, the curators suggest we should emphasize what we all share in common.
Caroline Lagnado |
Special To The Jewish Week
What is the connection between Judaism, feminism and art?
Though it's on the view at The Jewish Museum, “Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism” is not a survey of Jewish feminist art. Rather, through a concise presentation of just 33 works — most of them paintings — as well as through a searchable website accompaniment, it is a brief look at the museum’s sometimes complicated relationship with women artists.
When Barack Obama won the presidency, Maira Kalman was thrilled. It was not only a fresh start for America, she thought, but one for her own work as well: The New York Times was looking for another assignment for Kalman after her wildly successful illustrated blog, “The Principles of Uncertainty,” which documented her own life, debuted in 2006.
About six years ago, the curator Sharon L. Mintz was looking for rare printed Talmuds for an exhibit she was organizing at the Yeshiva University Museum. She came across the name of a little-known collector in Switzerland who said he could help. Mintz was flown out to the private home of the collector, but discovered that he had much more than Talmuds.