The most famous person with roots in the northeast corner of Slovakia is Andy Warhol, the late pop artist and avant-garde filmmaker whose parents came from the village of Mikova.
The most famous Jews in the area are Franz Kafka, Golda Meir, Albert Einstein.
They are among the 10 Jews in an exhibition of Warhol silkscreen prints, fittingly named “Portraits of Ten Jews,” at the Warhol Family Museum of Modern Art in Medzilaborce, a few miles from Mikova in the Subcarpathian foothills.
The lineup for New York's newest blockbuster art exhibition begins this week as lucky ticket holders for "Matisse Picasso" make their way to the Museum of Modern Art's temporary digs in Long Island City. The retrospective exhibition promises to reward long waits in chilly winds with works that shaped modern art and a thrilling tale of one of the most creative rivalries in art history. Elsewhere in Queens, a different kind of thrill awaits viewers in an exhibition that offers a glimpse of art's future.
Its creative ranks include recluses, the insane and former prison inmates, but "Outsider Art" is hardly the exclusive domain of social misfits.
A tour through the American Museum of Folk Art or any number of galleries specializing in what is also known as "self-taught art" exposes viewers to a rich field of artists (including a notable number of Jewish painters) who, while untrained, display a talent for visual expression appreciated by connoisseurs and common folk alike.
The Jewish Folk Gallery is a modest space that can barely contain the artistic output of the emigre artists and artisans who rely on it as a showplace for their work.
The walls and the shelves of the 300-square-foot gallery (formerly the first-floor library at Bnai Zion House) overflow with scenes of shtetl life and people at prayer, landscapes of Russia and Israel, engraved copper plaques and carved wooden ritual objects. There is just enough room for a tea-service cart to fit behind the door.
When history touched Yonia Fain's life, it hit with gale force. For 30 years he was "dragged by the storm of events over half a world," the Brooklyn-based painter and Yiddish poet once wrote.
Between 1923 (when a 9-year-old Fain and his family fled Bolshevik Russia, and 1953) when he settled in New York City: Fain outran Nazi troops in Poland, was imprisoned by the Soviets, escaped to Japan, was deported to China and eventually made his way to safety and artistic success in Mexico.
Most visitors to a new Chagall exhibition at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan likely will find more interest in the Velcro animals on display than in Vitebsk, the artist’s beloved hometown. But while they putter and play among the exhibits that make up “Chagall for Children,” young audiences are getting a foundation in art appreciation, the exhibition’s organizers say.
Museum Mile — the stretch of Fifth Avenue from 82nd Street to 104th — offers an intriguing paradox this fall. The Jewish Museum, at the corner of 92nd Street, is presenting a retrospective of works by a Jewish painter who eschewed Jewish imagery in his embrace of the universal. A few blocks south, the National Academy of Design exhibits the work of a painter who rejected Judaism, but uses explicitly Jewish symbols as expressions of spiritual transcendence.
Judaism can come in the most unexpected of packages. At first glance, a nearly seven-foot-tall painting of a single thick black stripe running vertically across a black canvas signifies nothing but itself: a profound meditation on color and form. Yet Barnett Newman titled his 1949 painting "Abraham," after his father, who had died two years earlier, and the Jewish patriarch.
At the height of their contest for Cezanne's mantle as the leader of the French avant-garde, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso agreed to swap pictures. Over the previous two years, Paris' leading provocateur Matisse had steadily ceded ground to the newcomer Picasso, until the fall of 1907, when the two men were deadlocked.
Vitaly Komar, clad in all black, huffed up the stairs of the Center for Jewish History with a reporter in tow. “I like this place,” said the one half of an internationally known Russian artist team. “It’s like a club house, not white and antiseptic like most museums that can feel like a hospital.”