Whether in “The Nose” or his stop-animation,
artist William Kentridge’s work is unmistakably Jewish.
The Museum of Modern Art’s new retrospective of the work of the South African artist William Kentridge is organized around five themes. “Themes” is something of a misnomer, though, since the five sections of the show coalesce around what might more accurately be described as “distinct bodies of work.” Either way, several themes (and certainly more than five) recur in many sections, with at least one being very hard to ignore: Jewishness, an omnipresent feature throughout Kentridge’s oeuvre.
Hoping to stir up a little debate on a somewhat taboo topic, art critic Max Kozloff has mounted a historical exhibition of street photography that dares to define a Jewish aesthetic. "New York: Capital of Photography," at The Jewish Museum through September, argues that there're two kinds of New York photography: Jewish and gentile.
"It's totally provocative," Kozloff says, chuckling to himself during an interview at the press opening.
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.”
In an encounter billed by Dov Hikind as pained outer-borough survivors against uptown intellectuals, a dozen Holocaust survivors and children of survivors were to express their anger in a private meeting Wednesday morning at The Jewish Museum.
A month after controversy engulfed The Jewish Museum’s upcoming exhibition of Nazi imagery in contemporary art, the real thing is now on display in a Chelsea gallery.
Scheduling Leni Riefenstahl’s first New York solo show of photographs from “Olympia,” her film about the 1936 Berlin Games, to coincide with the Salt Lake Olympic Games, gallery owners Marianne Boesky and Marla Hamburg Kennedy are now scrambling to soften the impact of their exhibition of Hitler’s favorite filmmaker.
Despite a public outcry from Holocaust survivors and a nearly universal dismissal from art critics, the public has not stayed away from The Jewish Museum’s controversial exhibition “Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery/Recent Art.”
Nor have they come out in droves.
The widespread mass media coverage prior to the March 17 opening has surprisingly lead to no great surge or decline in attendance.
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.
Now in its 17th year, the New York Jewish Film Festival, which opens Jan. 9, is truly a fixture on the local film calendar, so much so that this year’s event includes one world premiere, 10 U.S. premieres and 12 New York premieres. If you subtract the seven retrospectives (see sidebar), that means that all but one of the 32 films in this year’s festival are so new that the prints are still wet from the lab.