How Boris Aronson’s Designs Came To Life

New show highlights avant-garde work of influential ‘Fiddler’ set designer.

11/30/2015 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

After a preliminary meeting with director-choreographer Jerome Robbins to discuss his concept for the original 1964 production of “Fiddler on the Roof,” the set designer Boris Aronson felt that he had a good idea of how the production should look. The color, he knew, should be based on the palette of Marc Chagall’s paintings. And the set, as a whole, should also reflect Chagall’s sentimental outlook, he wrote in his notes: “simple-naïve-buoyant-primitive-childlike-charming-delightful to look at.”

A photograph of Aronson’s depiction of Hell in Abraham Goldfaden’s “The Tenth Commandment.” Courtesy of Marc Aronson

‘Interrogating Tradition’

‘Unorthodox’ show addresses orthodoxies such as politics, history, and identity, with artists from outside the canon.

11/09/2015 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

A new exhibit at The Jewish Museum brings together art that in the words of an exhibition handout, “does not fit the framework of the established art world,” and is “relentless in its experimentation, risk taking, annoyance, irritation, and even failure.”

Gülsün Karamustafa’s “First of May (Woman Constantly Sewing Red Flags with Her Sewing Machine),” from 1977. artist and Rampa Gal

Art And Power

Stalinist purges provide a dark backdrop to the avant-garde photography in new Soviet-era show.

10/12/2015 - 20:00
Culture Editor

In a corner of one of the galleries at the beginning of The Jewish Museum’s compelling new show “The Power of Pictures: Early Soviet Photography, Early Soviet Films,” an unusual 1934 photo-book with foldouts and overlays stands in a glass case, resting in its intricate red fabric-covered slipcase.

Georgy Zelma’s “Voice of Moscow” Sepherot Foundation | Collection of Alex Lachman

Drawing The Tradition

In his ‘Visualizing the Bible’ show, David Wander makes the Torah his own.

07/07/2015 - 20:00
Culture Editor

David Wander makes books that might be 50 feet long, illustrating biblical and other stories with great artistic skill, creativity and appreciation of the text and its layers of meaning. One page leads to the next, and the handmade books fold up like accordians.

Wander in his studio: “Writing, burning, writing it again.” Courtesy of David Wander

Designs On The Modern Home

How Jewish designers helped create the ‘Mad Men’ style of modernism.

04/13/2015 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Thanks in part to the popular television show “Mad Men,” a new generation has fallen in love with mid-century modernist design. An exhibit now on view at The Museum of Jewish Heritage called “Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism” is the first show of its kind to recognize Jews’ accomplishments and contributions to the design style that swept the nation during this “Mad Men” era. It explores the impact Jewish designers had in shaping the streamlined, less-is-more aesthetic in the United States. Not only a “who’s who” of important immigrant and first-generation Jewish designers, the exhibit also acknowledges the importance of the institutions that fostered their creativity.

Henry Dreyfuss, Princess Phone (1959).   Courtesy of The Contemporary Jewish Museum. Photograph: Johnna Arnold

Fabio Mauri’s Outsider Art

The late Italian’s first N.Y. show reveals a border-crossing artist informed by the Holocaust.

03/31/2015 - 20:00
Culture Editor

In between an experiential installation about walking on the moon and a World War II film screened on a wall of old prison lockers, some very challenging art on the Holocaust is on view this month at Hauser & Wirth, an Upper East Side gallery.

Fabio Mauri’s “On The Liberty,” which illuminates the idea of freedom. Hauser & Wirth

‘With Malice Toward None’

Exhibit at New-York Historical Society reveals rich relationship between Abraham Lincoln and the Jews.

03/16/2015 - 20:00
Culture Editor

On June 2, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln issued a parole pass to Charles Jonas, a Confederate prisoner of war, to return to Illinois to see his father on his deathbed. The soldier arrived in Quincy just in time to see his father, Abraham Jonas, still alive.

Lincoln’s letter to Secretary of War Stanton on behalf C.M. Levy, who applied for the position of quartermaster.

‘It’s Magic, Turning These Pieces Into Gold’

Barbara Wolff brings medieval artistry to contemporary Hebrew manuscript design.

02/09/2015 - 19:00
Culture Editor

In the lush greens of a great Tabor oak tree, 24 species of birds perch in their finery, with a black stork, a great white egret and a black-crowned night heron poised in the reeds below, and a yellow-breasted bird in mid-air. The tree is indigenous to the Middle East, and each of these birds is native to the Land of Israel or part of the large migration of birds that flies over in the spring and fall.

“Among the branches they sing”: Wolff’s works illuminate Psalm 104. Courtesy of Morgan Library & Muse

The Make-up Of A Style Maker

Helena Rubinstein’s eclectic take on beauty on view at The Jewish Museum.

11/03/2014 - 19:00
Culture Editor

The Jewish Museum’s new exhibition, “Helena Rubinstein: Beauty is Power,” is about biography and art, telling an uncommon life story and showcasing the spectacular art collected over a lifetime and reassembled here. What links the personal history and 200 objects is Rubinstein’s own pioneering, eclectic and highly inclusive take on beauty.  

‘This Is About How Rich The Culture Was'

Filmmaker Péter Forgács re-orchestrates the poignant home movies taken by Polish-American Jews returning to the Old Country.

10/27/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The faces look out at you, some shy, some defiant, some amused, some even downright playful. They are men and women, children and the elderly. It’s the late-1920s, the 1930s, these are Jews living in the Poland of the late-1920s and ’30, and although neither they nor the American citizens filming them know it, they are doomed. The images bespeak a flourishing culture, but by the end of the Second World War, 90 percent of Polish Jews will have been murdered by the Nazis and their accomplices.

The movies in “Letters to Afar” were filmed in such Polish shtetls as Kaluszyn and Kolbuszowa. Courtesy of YIVO Archive
Syndicate content