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.”
In 1999, before the intifada deepened Israeli and Palestinian mutual distrust, Israeli artists Bosmat Alon and Tirtza Even visited the West Bank to shoot a video critical of Israeli policies to curtail Palestinian life.
Introduced by Israeli leftist activists to former political prisoners and ordinary families, Alon and Even spent months in the contested outskirts of Hebron and the cramped streets of the Deheishe camp near Bethlehem.
There were plenty of words last Sunday morning on East 92nd Street, but not the sort The Jewish Museum had hoped for when it planned a provocative exhibition of contemporary art meant to rekindle dialogue about Holocaust memory.
About 100 yeshiva students, politicians, Holocaust survivors and other community members, most of them from Brooklyn, directed chants of “Shame on You” and “Don’t go in” toward anyone who approached the museum’s front doors at the 10 a.m. opening of “Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery/Recent Art.”
Like Joseph Cornell’s boxes blown up to human scale, Sigalit Landau’s installations isolate moments of transition. For her project last year, “Somnambulin,” the Israeli artist transformed a cement mixer into a mobile music box. Traveling in costume on her magic bus through the streets of Exeter, England, Landau passed out tiny body bags containing lollypops in the shape of a small girl, modeled after the archaeological remains of a frozen vagrant.
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.
The gavel came down on impressive auctions of Judaica last month, including the record-setting sale of a rare biblical commentary dated 1457.
That Italian manuscript of writings by Solomon Ben Issac, the 11th-century French rabbi and commentator known as Rashi, eventually sold to a private buyer who phoned in the winning bid of $434,000. The Dec. 17 sale represented the highest price ever achieved by the auction house, Kestenbaum & Company, for a single lot.
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.
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.