Think photos of the Lower East Side and you might well conjure up Jacob Riis’ grainy black and white images, Hebrew signs hanging from stoop steps, pushcarts lining crowded streets. Or perhaps you’re remembering more recent images ‒ burnt-out buildings, gangs and cigarette butts hanging from slack mouths during the ’70s. Maybe for you, the Lower East Side is all about discount Sunday shopping in the ‘80s. But it’s not the old neighborhood anymore, as Sally Davies’ “Photographs of the Lower East Side” -- now on view on 57th Street -- at the Bernarducci Meisel Gallery make clear.
The story of Esther, who courageously foiled a plot to exterminate the Jews of ancient Persia (modern-day Iran), is the keystone of the Purim tradition and Iranian Jews have always strongly identified with that singular Jewish heroine. Even today, Iran’s remaining 25,000 Jews go to pray at the tomb of Esther and Mordechai ‒ yes, there is such a place ‒ and the Jewish queen is remembered on a daily basis through amulets seeking her protection and beautifully illustrated renderings of the megillah (scroll) telling her story. No surprise that modern Iranian Jews are occasionally referred to as Esther’s children.
With apologies to Nathan Englander, what should we look at when we look at Anne Frank? Faith & Form, the new exhibit at The Anne Frank Center USA provides some answers. Aligned with the Center’s mission of using the diary and spirit of Anne Frank as tools to educate about the dangers of racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination, the exhibit features multi-media work by 21 artists, all members of the Jewish Art Salon, addressing those issues in a range of styles and expression.
The effect of personal history in an artist’s oeuvre, the role of metaphor, the extent to which an artist can decipher or explain her own work – these are all questions that come to mind when viewing Yudith Schreiber’s photographs in “Blind Impress,” currently on exhibit at The Jewish Theological Seminary.
Chanukah begins early this year but you can get a jump on the festivities by attending what promises to be an eclectic and interesting day at the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy Fifth Jewish Heritage Festival on Sunday, November 3. The all-day festival features events that will please a range of tastes: walking tours exploring neighborhood synagogues, including three of the oldest synagogues in New York City; a vintage goods benefit sale and a special presentation, "Gals From the Hood."
One of the New York City’s best-kept secrets, The Hebrew Home at Riverdale is a treasure trove of unexpected delights. The permanent and rather eclectic collection housed there contains more than 5,000 works of art. Prepare to be surprised by the array: Around one corridor, Andy Warhol’s “Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century,” around another William Wegman’s iconic Weimaraner photos. Here an Alex Katz, there a Picasso, or lurking behind a column, a Ben Shahn or Louise Nevelson. And be sure to stare back at the “Portrait of Thomas Chaloner,” from the school of Anthony Van Dyck (c. 1630s) with its eponymous subject coolly gazing out at diners in the facility’s River Café. The sculpture garden, with its sweeping view of the Hudson River, includes work by Herbert Ferber and Menashe Kadishman. And, in the hallways, don’t miss the collection of Madame Alexander First-Lady Dolls.
I was about six when my aunt handed me a book to read to my younger cousin – a tiny red book that fit perfectly in the palm of my hand. I can still recall my wonder at the joyful anarchy of the eponymous Pierre, who was my age, talked back and just didn’t care.
After having lived in Israel for a few years, Andrea Meislin has become an advocate of Israeli photography and the group show now on view in her eponymous gallery is a testimony to that devotion. Over half the works featured in “Perchance to Dream,” which address themes of sleep and intimacy, are by Israeli artists; and unfairly or not, association with Israel brings with it a specific political and international urgency.
It’s the 100th anniversary of the legendary 1913 Armory Show, which took place in the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue and is widely credited for bringing Modern art to New York. A slew of shows are planned during 2013 in celebration.
An exhibit at the Yeshiva University Museum, “It’s a Thin Line,” describes the history of the eruv and its evolution both nationally and across the globe, but it is the story of the Manhattan eruv, established in 1907 -- and a source of controversy since its inception -- which makes up the core of the exhibit.