Enter the room that houses Miriam Stern’s installation piece “Ezrat Nashim” and you’ll be struck by the clusters of women’s figures, 10 in all, standing together in a corner, like oversized paper dolls covered in earth-tone designs.
“Irena’s Vow.” Tovah Feldshuh moves to Broadway in this play about a Polish Catholic housekeeper who hid Jews in the basement of the Nazi’s officer’s villa in which she worked. Previews March 10th and opens March 29 at the Walter Kerr Theatre. For tickets, $41-$98, call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200.
Two uniformed guards recently stopped Michal Rovner as she tried to enter the third-floor galleries at the Whitney Museum of American Art. "We're sorry, ma'am," Rovner said she was told, "the galleries are closed." To get through security, the diminutive Israeli-born artist simply looked up. Taped to the wall (in expectation of an upcoming exhibition) was a sign bearing her name.
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.
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.
In the aftermath of last week’s deadly terror attack, all eyes focused on the fervent rescue effort in Lower Manhattan. With thousands of people buried under mountains of steel and concrete, cultural enterprise suddenly seemed frivolous and art openings, lectures, parties and awards ceremonies nationwide were canceled or postponed.