She pestered a German Jewish refugee, Manfred Nomburg, about every last detail of the Berlin home where he grew up: the wallpaper, the dining room china, the living room chairs. He had not seen his home in 70 years, when he escaped to Pre-state Israel.
But when Zack, 35, a prize-winning Israeli artist, turned all those details into a life-sized, computer-generated 3D work of art — titled “Living Room,” which goes on view at The Jewish Museum on Sunday — Nomburg did not recognize a thing.
She pestered a German Jewish refugee, Manfred Nomburg, about every last detail of the Berlin home where he grew up: the wallpaper, the dining room china, the living room chairs. He had not seen his home in 70 years, when he escaped to Israel.
A century ago, the idea of Jews resettling in ancient Israel was an interesting, if quaint, idea. For many European Jews, some of whom became prominent Zionists, real-life Palestine was utterly unrealistic. Thousands of Jews were being massacred in pogroms and the priority of many Jewish leaders was simple: secure a territory for Jews to settle in first — worry about where it was later.
American artists from Herman Melville to Mark Twain to Saul Bellow have traveled to Jerusalem looking for inspiration. But until this week, when the first-ever American Academy in Jerusalem was officially announced, there has never been a formal program encouraging artists to do so.
Caroline Lagnado |
Special To The Jewish Week
‘There were two of them, they were sisters, they were large women, they were rich, they were very different one from the other one.”
This was how American expat writer Gertrude Stein described Claribel and Etta Cone in her short-story word portrait, “Two Women,” about two art-collecting sisters who traveled the world as single ladies of means in the early 20th century.
Four years ago, the Belgian artist Francis Alÿs displayed one of his best works in years, “The Green Line,” at Chelsea’s David Zwirner Gallery. With a characteristically axiomatic subtitle — “Sometimes Doing Something Poetic Can Become Political, and Sometimes Doing Something Political Can Become Poetic” — it gave an artist’s askance view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and achieved that rare artistic feat: chastising the political status quo without becoming either cynical or simplistic.