Museums

Words Matter, A Lot

Mel Bochner’s ‘Strong Language’ show challenges our notions about reading and seeing.

05/20/2014
Culture Editor
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Mel Bochner’s new show at The Jewish Museum involves a lot of reading. The more than 70 drawings and paintings are lists of synonyms, portraits conveyed with words, texts with philosophical leanings and emoticons, too.

Bochner’s “Language is Not Transparent.” Will Ragozzinno/The Jewish Museum

The Day Of Rest Reconsidered

HUC show invites artists to consider a new the idea of the Sabbath.

04/23/2014
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Carol Hamoy’s “Sabbath Bride” holds court in a corner of one gallery at the HUC Museum. She’s both stately and heimish. Covered with strips of lace, embroidery thread, buttons, pearls, mesh and feathers, this bride is a tailor’s drawer full of shimmering odds and ends layered on a headless torso. In the words of “Lecha Dodi,” sung on Friday nights, the Sabbath arrives as a bride and departs as a queen.

David Wander’s “Creation” menorah. Courtesy of HUC Museum

How The Nazis Defiled Art, Then Lives

A cruel connection between artwork and the artists who made it lies at the heart of ‘Degenerate Art’ show.

03/25/2014
Culture Editor

From the very beginning of the exhibition “Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937,” the connection is made, and underscored, between the Nazis identifying artists whose work was unacceptable, destroying their art and wrecking their careers, and the Nazis (later) identifying people whose very being was unacceptable and murdering them. 

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s “A Group of Artists." Courtesy of MoMA/SCALA/Art Resource, NY

Rescued From Saddam’s Clutches

Trove of Iraqi Jewish treasures on view.

03/11/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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In 2003, when Coalition forces seized Baghdad, a group of American soldiers stumbled upon treasures from the Jewish community of Iraq. While the team had been sent to search for nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in Saddam Hussein’s intelligence building, what they found were nearly 3,000 books and documents that had originally come from synagogues and Jewish organizations. The items were submerged under four feet of water, and the reason they were there in the first place remains a mystery.

Items recovered from flooded basement of Saddam’s intelligence headquarters.  Photo courtesy of National Archives

Spiegelman, In Words, Images And Music

Glimpses into the graphic novelist’s unique world where pictures and text ‘Co-Mix.’

01/28/2014
Culture Editor
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As a young boy, Art Spiegelman would copy cartoon strips about Little Lulu and Donald Duck. By 14, he was illustrating his own stories with homemade comics, and at 15 he created and distributed his own satire magazine, Blasé. The magazine had edge; a young woman on the cover of a 1964 edition is asked, “What’s a nice girl like you doing on a cover like this?”

“Self-Portrait with Maus Mask,” 1989, above. Copyright © 1989 by Art Spiegelman. the artist and The Wylie Agency LLC.

Spiegelman, In Words, Images And Music

Glimpses into the graphic novelist’s unique world where pictures and text ‘Co-Mix.’

01/15/2014
Culture Editor
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As a young boy, Art Spiegelman would copy cartoon strips about Little Lulu and Donald Duck. By 14, he was illustrating his own stories with homemade comics, and at 15 he created and distributed his own satire magazine, Blasé. The magazine had edge; a young woman on the cover of a 1964 edition is asked, “What’s a nice girl like you doing on a cover like this?”

“Self-Portrait with Maus Mask,” 1989. Image courtesy the artist and The Wylie Agency

Threshold To History

An intricately carved 11th-century door highlights YU exhibit exploring the daily life of medieval Jews in Egypt.

12/17/2013
Culture Editor
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We know when the walnut tree used to build the wooden ark for the Ben Ezra synagogue in Cairo was cut down. Through carbon tracing, researchers have determined the date sometime after 1043. And researchers have also shown that the ark was first used in the 1080s and restored and redecorated over time. What remains a mystery is how this medieval carved door ended up in storeroom of a Fort Lauderdale auction house in the late 20th century.

A Mishneh Torah from Moses Maimonides, from the late 12th century. Photo courtesy Jewish Theological Seminary

Chagall’s Darker Side

Contemplating the iconic painter’s ‘displaced’ years, when his central metaphor was the crucifixion.

09/17/2013
Jewish Week Book Critic
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For many, Marc Chagall’s paintings are easy to love. His vibrantly colored landscapes are dreamscapes full of life and longing, with many motifs drawn from his observant home in the Russian town of Vitebsk. 

“Persecution,” collection Herta and Paul Amir, Beverly Hills, California. © 2013 Artists Rights Society

A Family Of ‘Mayflower Wannabes’

In ‘Kinderhood Revisited,’ Elaine Reichek explores American Jewish assimilation.

09/03/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
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When Susan Goodman, a Jewish Museum curator, paid a visit to Elaine Reichek’s studio in 1992 and asked, “Done anything Jewish?” Reichek filed the question away.

A sampler of the past: Sayings of Elaine Reichek’s family illustrate her exhibit at The Jewish Museum.

Letters On Fire

‘Artists Explore Sacred Hebrew Texts’ through found objects, micrography, woodcuts and more at Museum of Biblical Art.

08/09/2013
Jewish Week Book Critic
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The Torah is full of holy fire, according to Midrash Tanhuma, which goes on to say that the text was written with black fire upon white fire.

A detail from Mark Podwal’s “Ezekiel’s Vision” (“The city has fallen”). Courtesy of Mark Podwal
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