Museums

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

Word And Image

The medium-rich work of Jack Goldstein.

06/18/2013
Jewish Week Book Critic
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Artist Jack Goldstein rarely signed his work. When asked about this, he said that his name is a reproduction of a reproduction — “If you look in the telephone book, there must be ten thousand Jack Goldsteins.”

“Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer,” 1975. Color sound film, 3 min.

Through Art, The Haze Of Dementia Lifts

Unique museum program provides encounter with beauty for those suffering from memory disorders.

05/29/2013
Jewish Week Book Critic
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On a recent Wednesday afternoon, The Jewish Museum was closed to the public. But a group of visitors to the second floor was looking closely at the art and installations, discussing the artist’s background and approach and commenting on what they saw and felt, sometimes expressing very strong opinions.

Jewish Museum educator leads group through galleries. Michael Datikash

Object Lessons

Artist Barbara Bloom rummages through The Jewish Museum’s vast collection and teases out new meanings from her playful pairings.

04/10/2013
Jewish Week Book Critic

At most museums, the bulk of the collection is not on the walls or in display cases, but carefully catalogued and stored, out of sight. At The Jewish Museum, artist Barbara Bloom was extended a dream invitation: to peruse their collection of 25,000 works of ceremonial and fine art, and to configure an altogether new display.

Barbara Bloom’s juxtapositions are, she says, “placeholders for thoughts.” Christine McMonagle

Giving The Familiar A New Look

JTS’ ‘Visualizing the Text’ show brings artwork into the building ‘in a way it hasn’t been before.’

03/19/2013
Jewish Week Book Critic

In the entrance hallway of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Ben Rubin’s new video installation projects light onto Broadway and into the lobby and adjacent courtyard. Suspended from the high ceiling, the screen carries a series of 5,378 colored images, each inspired by a page of the Talmud.

Part of Danielle Durchslag’s photo installation. Rachel Kanter’s textile designs.

The War That Made The Jews Americans

‘Jews and the Civil War’ show at the Center for Jewish History.

03/12/2013
Jewish Week Book Critic

In April 1850, Peter Still, a slave, purchased his freedom from Joseph Friedman, a sympathetic Jewish businessman in Tuscumbia, Ala.

War in the family: Brothers Edward Jonas, a Union soldier, and Charles H. Jonas, who fought for the Confederacy.

In Search Of Proust’s Jewish Themes

The Dreyfus Affair, assimilation and anti-Semitism at the Morgan.

02/19/2013
Special To The Jewish Week

In his writing, he exposed the rampant anti-Jewish currents in the Parisian society of his era.

Pages from one of Proust’s notebooks on display at Morgan show. BnF, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY
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