‘From Hollywood to Nuremberg” at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.
Except for anniversaries, timing is an overlooked quality in the museum world. Perhaps this is understandable — with exhibits planned years in advance, there’s no predicting how culturally relevant a show might be when it finally opens. Yet when the Museum of Jewish Heritage opens its main spring show, “Filming the Camps: John Ford, Samuel Fuller, George Stevens: From Hollywood to Nuremberg,” they may still be able to ride the coattails of this year’s Oscars, which are celebrating retrograde filmmaking.
Israel’s artist collective, Public Movement, part of politically tinged New Museum show.
Ever since the artist and art-professor Allan Kaprow staged the first “happening” in 1957, performance art has become ever more ubiquitous. The basic idea behind a happening, and indeed all of performance art, is that what matters in art is not the final product but the process that creates it. Originally, artists would stage wild events, inviting viewers to watch as they took hundreds of photos of themselves, say, or an artist painted and a musician fiddled nearby.
Since graduating Yale’s MFA program in 2001, the painter Kehinde Wiley has made no secret of his black identity. For much of the last decade, his work has been boldly Afro-centric, and in a distinctly subversive way. He re-appropriates the regal portrait form of the Old Masters. But instead of casting European aristocrats as his subjects, he paints black urban youth; hoodies and baggie jeans are what we see, not breeches and silk stockings. In the backdrop, Wiley adds vibrant colors with arresting geometric patterns, adding ever more visual pop to these already pungent portraits.
Romain Rolland, a Nobel laureate for literature, famously said, “We must struggle with a pessimism of the intellect and an optimism of the will.” The gifted Arab Israeli singer-actress Mira Awad puts it a little differently.
March 18: New World/Old World Klezmer with Yale Strom and Hot Pstromi, part of the celebrations of the 125th anniversary of the Eldridge Street Synagogue. The Museum at Eldridge Street (12 Eldridge St.), 3 p.m.
March 18: “East Meets East, A Concert.” Alicia Svigals and her band collaborate with Ethiopian singer-songwriter Alula on a program that unites East Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Forest Hills Jewish Center (106-06 Queens Blvd., Flushing), 6 p.m.
When you ask Gil Shaham, one of the world’s great violinists, about playing with family members, he has plenty of experience upon which to draw. His wife, Adele Anthony, is a violinist who performs and records internationally. His sister, Orli Shaham, is a world-famous pianist. And his brother-in-law, David Robertson, the conductor, is musical director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
But he can’t resist a joke. “The family that plays together, well at least we don’t have to talk to each other!” Shaham says.
Feb. 16-28: Documentary Fortnight 2012. The Museum of Modern Art’s annual gathering of contemporary non-fiction films includes several unusual programs this year. In addition to short films by Jem Cohen, a new look at the Arab Spring and a deft examination of a hundred years of Ukrainian Jewish history, there will be two programs on interactive documentary and the Internet. Most of the screenings will take place at MoMA (11 W. 53rd St.), but there will also be several screenings in other locations.
The proliferation of new media has wrought the most significant changes in the movie business since the coming of sound. With the invention of the VCR, the advent of the DVD, and the explosion of the Internet and its attendant opportunities, audiences today can avail themselves of more ways of experiencing films than ever before. These changes strike right at the heart of the business of film: distribution. If new rhythm patterns create radical transformations in jazz, new distribution patterns provoke similarly cataclysmic metamorphoses in movies as both art and industry.
Nathan Abrams is feeling a little, well, alienated. The London-born film scholar teaches at Bangor University in Wales and has fallen into a secondary specialty, almost by accident, of tracing the history of the Jews of Wales.
“When I’m in London I’m a curiosity because I’m studying the Jews of Wales, but in Wales I’m a curiosity because I’m a Jew,” he says, laughing.
“The Big Bupkis! A Complete Gentile’s Guide to Yiddish Vaudeville.” Non-Jewish Yiddish actor Shane Baker presents a mix of magic, ukulele music, hypnotism, ventriloquism, transvestism, a Yiddish bullfight poem and even a mock attempt to behead a member of the audience. Saturday, Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 18 at 3 p.m. at the JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave. For tickets, $15-$20, call the box office at (646) 505-5708.