The Arts

Hot Issues, Cool Art

03/01/2002
Staff Writer

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.”

Two From The ‘60s

03/01/2002
Staff Writer

In an inspired piece of programming, two neglected comedies will be screened back-to-back this Saturday at the American Museum of the Moving Image.

Both “Bye Bye Braverman” and “The Plot Against Harry” capture an unusual slice of Jewish life in outer-borough New York in the late 1960s, yet are largely unknown, overshadowed by the comedy of Woody Allen and the urban dramas of Martin Scorcese.

Yiddish’s New Frequency

03/01/2002
Staff Writer

Only the gentlest prodding gets Dave Isay and Henry Sapoznik to sputter superlatives about “The Yiddish Radio Project,” the serendipitous act of cultural reclamation they co-produced, which airs on National Public Radio starting this Tuesday.

“It’s like opening King Tut’s tomb,” says Sapoznik. “It’s like the Rosetta Stone,” says Isay.

Hatred Of Convention

02/22/2002
Staff Writer

A few years ago, Jane DeLynn was having a hard time selling her most recent novel. Commercial publishers were not lining up to buy “Leash,” a nihilistic story of a lesbian’s sadomasochism, with the shocking conclusion of her opting to have her hands bound and her vocal cords cut to live her life as a dog.

An admired, if not widely known, author of three novels and a story collection, DeLynn decided her best option was to go with Semiotext(e), an obscure but influential publisher of French theory and avant-garde literature.

The Man In The Audience

02/15/2002
Staff Writer

How do you measure intellectual influence? Richard Posner, author of the hotly debated new book “Public Intellectuals,” rates 546 public intellectuals by media mentions, Web hits and scholarly citations from 1995-2000. Certainly, top scorers like Henry Kissinger (12,570) and Salman Rushdie (7,688) occupy large space in current public discourse, but what about someone like Robert Warshow, a cultural critic who died in 1955 at the age of 37? He nets a paltry cumulative score of 190.

Art After The Crime

09/21/2001
Staff Writer

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.

Raising The Curtain Again

04/26/2002
Staff Writer

Keeping a small Jewish theater company going for 28 years has never been easy, but Sept. 11 almost put the Jewish Repertory Theatre out of business.

On that morning, the theater’s manager Laura Rockefeller was stage-managing a financial seminar at Windows on the World and never had a chance to escape after the first plane struck Tower One. The tragic death of the 41-year-old theater lover nearly forced artistic director Ran Avni to give up on the already hobbled company he had founded in 1974.

Serious Fun

05/09/2001
Staff Writer

Like Joseph Cornell’s boxes blown up to human scale, Sigalit Landau’s installations isolate moments of transition. For her project last year, “Somnambulin,” the Israeli artist transformed a cement mixer into a mobile music box. Traveling in costume on her magic bus through the streets of Exeter, England, Landau passed out tiny body bags containing lollypops in the shape of a small girl, modeled after the archaeological remains of a frozen vagrant.

What’s Jewish At The MLA?

01/19/2001
Staff Writer

Washington, D.C. — Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe had just begun hitting the shores in 1883 when a small group of American professors founded the Modern Language Association to advocate tongues other than ancient Greek and Latin. But they probably weren’t thinking of Yiddish, Hebrew or Ladino.

Being Real

01/05/2001
Staff Writer

Growing up was never easy for copper-skinned Rebecca Walker, the trophy baby of a new America. Born in 1969, the “Movement Child” of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and activist Alice Walker and civil rights lawyer Mel Leventhal, Walker spent the first two decades of her life failing to fit into a country that still assumes fixed racial categories.

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