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VISUAL ARTS

Using Walls, Floors, and Ceilings: Chantal Joffe

Feminist artist Linda Stein creates two innovative projects related to women and the Holocaust.

Gil Yefman Exhibition in Ronald Feldman Gallery

H: An Exhibition by Gil Yefman

Boris Lurie: The 1940s Paintings and Drawings

Judy Chicago

Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism

Reinventing Ritual: Contemporary Art and Design for Jewish Life

Artist Jane Trigère's art explores themes related to integrating women into history.

Slower Still, a solo photography exhibition by Allison Hunter

"Spots of Light: To Be a Woman in the Holocaust" at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

Remembering and Celebrating Women Artists!

Signs from Berlin: A Project by Stih and Schnock

Ravensbrück by Joseph Brown

My Grandparents, My Parents, and I


Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party, 1974-1979
Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). The Dinner Party, 1974–79. Ceramic, porcelain, textile. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. Photo: © Aislinn Weidele for Polshek Partnership Architects

Judy Chicago

Groundbreaking feminist artist Judy Chicago has works in a one-woman show and two group shows in New York this fall, along with her glorious Dinner Party, on permanent display in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum.

Judy Chicago's New York City exhibitions:
"Surveying Judy Chicago: 1970-2010," a one-woman exhibit opens October 14 at the ACA Galleries, 529 W. 20 Street.
"A Stitch in Jewish Time: Provocative Textiles," a group exhibit, opened September 7 at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, One West Fourth Street.
"Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism," a group exhibit, opened September 12 at the Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue. See below for details.

 

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Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism

Opens at The Jewish Museum, New York City, on September 12, 2010
Key Works by Judy Chicago, Eva Hesse, Lee Krasner,
Miriam Schapiro, Nicole Eisenman and Others on View

New York, NY – Feminist challenges to creative and institutional limits have been widely influential in art since the 1960s, with the emergence of the women’s art movement in the United States. The Jewish Museum (1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street, Manhattan) will present Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism, an exhibition exploring the impact of feminism on contemporary painting, from September 12, 2010 through January 30, 2011. Taking the visitor through a half-century of painting, the exhibition focuses on art at the crossroads of societal shift and individual expression. Shifting the Gaze places feminist art in a larger context exploring its roots in Abstract Expressionism, Pop and Minimalism, and extending to the present, when feminist impulses remain vital in recent works targeting the representation of women in popular culture.

Remember the Women Institute is pleased that world-renowned feminist artist Judy Chicago's works are a part of this groundbreaking exhibition. Chicago was prescient about examining sexual violence against women during the Holocaust, when she created her Holocaust Project: From Darkness into Light exhibit, first shown in 1993, in collaboration with her photographer husband, Donald Woodman. Her background work for this project, the artwork itself, and an interview with the artist provided inspiration and background information for the book, Sexual Violence against Jewish Women during the Holocaust, an anthology edited by Dr. Sonja M. Hedgepeth and Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel (Brandeis University Press/ University Press of New England, November 2010). The book is a project of Remember the Women Institute, and is part of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute's Series on Jewish Women. For more information about Judy Chicago's work, please see Through the Flower.
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The Jewish Museum exhibition examines interactions of the politics and theory of feminism with the practices and styles of painting. Feminist ideas and aesthetics transformed art, opening up the field to the full range of women’s experience, history and material culture. Feminism retains its power to inspire new ideas and challenge old ones, shifting the gaze to unexplored perspectives. It remains an active force in contemporary art today.

Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism, with over 30 paintings and several sculptures and decorative objects, is largely drawn from The Jewish Museum’s collection and also includes select loans. Works by 27 artists such as Judy Chicago, Louise Fishman, Leon Golub, Eva Hesse, Deborah Kass, Lee Krasner, Louise Nevelson, Elaine Reichek, Miriam Schapiro, Joan Snyder, Nancy Spero, and Hannah Wilke, among others, are arranged thematically. Nicole Eisenman will create a painting of a family seder specially for the exhibition. Eight works in Shifting the Gaze have been acquired over the last three years.

Gestural and Abstract Expressionist paintings created at the dawn of feminism in postwar America open the show. Next are mostly self-portraits that demythologize the female body and male representations of it. The third group features embroidery, collage and fan painting as examples of the 1970s art movement, Pattern and Decoration, which sought to reinvigorate previously denigrated women’s work. Politics, the Holocaust and war are then examined through feminist interpretations, followed by the use of writing and text in art. A final section devoted to popular culture and satire closes the show.

Jewish painters have played decisive roles in founding and sustaining major feminist art groups and theories while continuing to develop their own avant-garde art. The selected works reveal Jewish and feminist commitments to both social justice and personal freedom.  The works on view are animated by the tensions between individual expression and collective politics, and a traditional medium and radical action.

Shifting the Gaze examines the ways that artists (male and female) challenge discrimination, advocate self-expression and invent new forms of beauty, breathing life into the medium and offering fresh visions of the world. Much of the feminist movement aimed to overcome the male-dominated modes of heroic and formalist painting.  To this day, artists inspired by feminism take on taboo subjects and stretch techniques in abstraction, decoration, collage, embroidery and representation.

The exhibition has been organized by Daniel Belasco, Henry J. Leir Assistant Curator at The Jewish Museum. He specializes in postwar and contemporary art and design, and is currently completing a book on feminist consciousness in New School art. He is also co-curator of SITE Santa Fe’s Eighth International Biennial exhibition (June 2010-January 2011). Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism is made possible, in part, by the Melva Bucksbaum Fund for Contemporary Art. As part of the Shifting the Gaze exhibition section on The Jewish Museum’s website (www.thejewishmuseum.org), a list of over 550 woman artists who have been shown in special exhibitions at the Museum since 1947 will be made available.

Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism

Artists Represented in the Exhibition:
Ida Applebroog, American, b. 1929
Judy Chicago, American, b. 1939
Rosalyn Drexler, b. 1926
Nicole Eisenman, American, b. 1965
Louise Fishman, American, b. 1939
Audrey Flack, American, b. 1931
Dana Frankfort, American, b. 1971
Leon Golub, American, 1922-2004
Eva Hesse, American, b. Germany, 1936-1970
Deborah Kass, American, b. 1952
Vivienne Koorland, American, b. South Africa, 1957
Joyce Kozloff, American, b. 1942
Lee Krasner, American, 1908-1984
Robert Kushner, American, b. 1949
Cary Leibowitz, American, b. 1963
Lee Lozano, American, 1930- 1999
Melissa Meyer, American, b. 1947
Louise Nevelson, American, b. Russia, 1899-1988
Elaine Reichek, American, b. 1943
Miriam Schapiro, American, b. Canada, 1923
Mira Schor, American, b. 1950
Dana Schutz, American, b. 1976
Joan Semmel, American, b. 1932
Amy Sillman, American, b. 1954
Joan Snyder, American, b. 1940
Nancy Spero, American, b. 1926
Hannah Wilke, American, 1940-1993

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Fringed Garment by Rachel KanterReinventing Ritual: Contemporary Art and Design for Jewish Life
September 13, 2009 – February 7, 2010
The Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10128
www.thejewishmuseum.org

Women account for about half of the some fifty artists represented in Reinventing Ritual: Contemporary Art and Design for Jewish Life at The Jewish Museum, and some of the themes are decidedly feminist. The exhibit is divided in four sections: Thinking, Covering, Absorbing, and Building. One work, Fringed Garment by Rachel Kanter (2005) pushes boundaries of traditional sex roles by combining a kitchen apron and a tallit, or prayer shawl (until recently worn only by Jewish men). Helène Aylon's sculptural installation All Rise (2007) presents an egalitarian vision of the future in the form of a courtroom of female judges that administers Jewish law. All of the art was created between 1999 and 2009 by leading artists in diverse media.

Right: Fringed Garment by Rachel Kanter (2005)

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REVIEW OF THREE NEW HOLOCAUST MEMORIALIZATION PROJECTS

Grey Bus
© Hoheisel&Knitz/Stadtarchiv Ravensburg

Memorial to Victims of the Nazis' Euthanasia Program

Berlin--On a recent trip to Berlin we visited a new memorial by Horst Hoheisel and Andreas Knitz, The Monument of the Grey Buses, dedicated to the victims of the Nazis' “euthanasia” campaign in 1940/41. The memorial is based on the buses that brought victims to medical facilities, where they were murdered by gassing. One concrete bus is installed in front of the former Sanatorium Ravensburg-Weissenau (Psychiatric Clinic), where euthanasia was carried out by the Nazis on those deemed unfit to be citizens of the Third Reich.

We saw another Grey Bus, temporarily stationed at the address where the "Euthanasia-Organization T-4" office was located in Berlin, Tiergartenstrasse 4. The memorial is placed close to the Philharmonic Hall, and adjacent to a current city bus stop. One can walk into this concrete bus, which has a slice through its middle.  According to a statement by the artists, “we not only want to raise a monument for the victims of the 'euthanasia'-murder, but also to reflect the deed and the perpetrators by using the grey buses, the tools of the perpetrators, as a 'means of transport' of memory.”

One of the euthanasia facilities for the T-4 program, the Bernberg psychiatric clinic, was used in the winter of 1942 to gas female Jewish political prisoners and others taken there from Ravensbrück. Walking through the bus, we especially thought of two of these brave and intelligent women, Austrian Jewish political prisoner Dr. Käthe Leichter and German Jewish political prisoner Olga Benario Prestes.

The Grey Bus Monument in Berlin is intended to be moved to various appropriate locations throughout Germany. The next station of the Grey Bus after Berlin is Brandenburg, at the site where the gas chamber was located. The inauguration will be January, 18, 2009, the day when the first grey bus arrived there from Berlin in 1940.
See the artists' site for more information.

Memorial for Gay Victims of the Holocaust
Berlin Memorial to the Gay Victims of the Nazis


Berlin--We also visited another new memorial in Berlin, unveiled in May 2008, honoring homosexuals persecuted by the Nazis. It is located opposite the main Holocaust memorial for Jewish victims in Tiergarten Park, and was designed by Ingar Dragset and Michael Elmgreen. The design echoes Peter Eisenman’s Berlin memorial to the Nazis’ Jewish victims, a field of more than 2,700 somewhat similar slabs. However, this new memorial is one grey concrete slab with a window to allow visitors to view a video of two men kissing,  It was disappointing and shocking to see that Berlin’s first memorial to the Nazis’ gay victims left out the persecuted lesbians. Although they are mentioned on a plaque at the entrance, they are notably absent from the memorial itself, featuring only males.

While male homosexuals were prosecuted under article 175StGB, based on the German original anti-homosexual law of 1871, paragraph 175 (not abolished until 1968 in West Germany), lesbians did not fall under this law. Therefore being a lesbian was not considered illegal. Nevertheless, lesbians could be and were arrested in the Nazi category of “asocial.” Thus they did not even have the status of male homosexuals, who were forced to wear distinctive pink triangles in concentration camps. Instead, in camps such as Ravensbrück they wore black “asocial” triangles, rather than the pink triangles of male homosexuals. These persecuted women surely deserve to be memorialized along with Hitler's male homosexual victims.
 

Susan Hiller: The J Street Project Susan Hiller: The J Street ProjectExhibit on German streets with prefix Juden at The Jewish Museum in New York

New York--American-born and London-based artist Susan Hiller discovered a Berlin street sign “Judenstrasse” (Jews' Street) in 2002. It was meant to commemorate the Jewish community that once lived there, but Hiller also associated it with Nazi discrimination and violence. She then discovered that there are many streets throughout Germany with the prefix Juden. They are located where Jewish communities used to live, but where they no longer exist. This led her to spend three years completing The J. Street Project, with more than 300 identically scaled and framed color photographs of places such as Judenallee (avenue), Judengraben (grove), and Judenweg (way). Hiller's photographs are hung in a seven-foot-tall grid in the museum. These signs that Hiller recorded function as striking but inadequate memorials to destroyed communities. Some mark locations where Jews lived segregated from the rest of the German population as far back as the eleventh century. An adjacent gallery projects a 67-minute video with the 303 sites, showing passersby oblivious to the street signs.
      

In 1938 the Nazis changed the names of all streets that referred to Jews. After World War II many were changed back to their pre-war names during the Allied program of denazification. The re-naming process is still ongoing and sometimes controversial.  

For more information, see www.thejewishmuseum.org/exhibitions/jstreetproject

Left: Susan Hiller, The J. Street Project (Index), (detail: Berlin Spandau, Jüdenstrasse) 2002-2005, wall-based installation: 303 archival color inkjets mounted on Kapaline, oak frames, index and map in adhesive vinyl, two walls, each approx. 394 x 78 in. / 1000 x 197 cm; dimensions variable, edition of 3 (+ 2AP).  © Susan Hiller; Courtesy Timothy Taylor Gallery, London. Right: Susan Hiller, The J. Street Project (Index), (detail: Berlin Mitte, Neue Jüdenstrasse) 2002-2005, wall-based installation: 303 archival color inkjets mounted on Kapaline, oak frames, index and map in adhesive vinyl, two walls, each approx. 394 x 78 in. / 1000 x 197 cm; dimensions variable, edition of 3 (+ 2AP).  © Susan Hiller; Courtesy Timothy Taylor Gallery, London.

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Trigere_textileArtist Jane Trigère's art explores themes related to integrating women into history. Please see http://trigere.com/selected_works.html.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hunter_ZebuHouston-based artist Allison Hunter, the website designer and webmaster for Remember the Women Institute, is a talented artist whose work can be seen at various galleries. From May 5 – June 21, 2008 at Women and Their Work, Austin, TX, presents Slower Still, her solo photography exhibition. In Hunter’s digitally manipulated photographs, zoo animals are shown divested of their everyday settings and recontextualized in surreal surroundings. Removed from their enclosures yet still ‘caught,’ framed in abstract washes of light and color, Hunter’s eerily prescient animals are far from pastoral. With background details missing, the photographer’s gaze feels heightened and hyperreal—and Hunter’s zoological subjects reciprocate that gaze from lushly captured moments slowed down, halted, frozen in time.
Please see http://www.allisonhunter.com/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"Spots of Light: To Be a Woman in the Holocaust" at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

"Spots of Light: To Be a Woman in the Holocaust" is an exhibit currently being shown at the Yad Vashem Art Museum in Jerusalem. An English language catalogue has just been published. According to the catalogue, “In this exhibition we attempt to reveal the human story that lurks behind the historical account of what happened. From that larger narrative, we chose to tell about the Jewish victims and create space for the unique voice of the women among them. More than three million adult women, young women in their teens, and young girls were murdered in the Holocaust.”

In addition to a room filled with projected photographs, drawings, documents, and writings, there are also some cases of artifacts that reflect the experience of women. A separate room serves as a temporary library, with books about women and the Holocaust (including quite a few by members of the Advisory Board of Remember the Women Institute) filling the shelves. Inviting chairs and a homey atmosphere encourage visitors to sit for a while and study Hebrew and English histories, memoirs, and related books.

The exhibit is curated by Yehudit Inbar, Director of the Museum Division, with Dr. Judy Baumel-Schwartz, a member of the Remember the Women Institute Advisory Board, serving as historical adviser. A condensed version of the exhibition is on line on Yad Vashem’s website. See http://www1.yadvashem.org/exhibitions/women-eng/splash.html

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Remembering and Celebrating Women Artists!
By Sonja Hedgepeth

On April 27 - 28, 2007, Rochelle Saidel and Sonja Hedgepeth trekked to Hebrew Union College and the Brooklyn Museum to view Judy Chicago’s “Jewish Identity,” a retrospective of her work, and “The Dinner Party,” that magnificent triangular table already set in the 1970s to honor women of valor and accomplishment.
For many years "The Dinner Party" installation found no home and was stored in boxes. That is no longer the case, since “The Dinner Party” will now be on permanent display in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum. We urge you to go and delight in the beauty of Judy Chicago’s bold work that encourages all visitors to remember women’s history. Sonja asked a group of visitors standing near her what they thought about this festive banquet setting, and one of them said that he had gone to see “The Dinner Party” when it was first displayed in San Francisco in 1979 and he thought that it had not lost any of its power since then. When you go to view the table, set with magnificent runners, chalices, and plates, you might wonder what the women being honored, such as Hatshepsut sitting next to Judith or Sojourner Truth sitting next to Susan B. Anthony would say to each other in their “dinner conversation” and you could even imagine that one of them might turn to you and ask that you linger or even take a seat, to join them in celebration of a dinner party that has finally found a home.

On May 1, 2007, Remember the Women Institute attended a preview of the exhibition of Louise Nevelson’s work on display at the Jewish Museum, New York (May 5 – September 16, 2007). Rochelle Saidel and Sonja Hedgepeth were awe-struck by Nevelson’s magnificent imposing sculptures. Her works present a tension between whimsical elements put together in a fantastic manner, wed together into a piece with a new perspective. Nevelson’s work is not “small” in importance or dimension, in fact this artist is honored in Judy Chicago’s “Dinner Party,” where her name is inscribed on one of the floor tiles. In being to true to herself, Louise Nevelson also encouraged others to be bold and show personal strength in the execution of their own artistic creations.

As always interested in other people’s perspectives on art, Sonja heard the following remark made by someone who had obviously known Louise Nevelson: “She would come to dinner parties. You didn’t have to have good food, just Louise Nevelson.” Be prepared for a true feast, when you go to see this exhibition, “The Sculpture of Louise Nevelson: Constructing a Legend.”

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Thumbnail Gallery of Signs from Berlin: A Project by Stih and Schnock(click on each image for a larger view)

Ravensbruck bus   Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock, "Places of Remembrance" front Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock, "Places of Remembrance" back

Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock,
Bus Stop at Pariser Platz
Part of a proposal for a Berlin Holocaust memorial
Stih & Schnock

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Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock,
Places of Remembrance, 1993, front detail, mult-part installation, Berlin, Germany.

Courtesy The Jewish Museum, New York.

The back of this sign reads, "Jews may inherit only when the national socialist morals are
upheld - July 31, 1938" (from Hitler's laws)

Courtesy The Jewish Museum, New York.

Places of Remembrance is being shown as Signs from Berlin: A Project by Stih and Schnock at The Jewish Museum, New York until Janary 4, 2004. The project evokes the experience of encountering the memorial around the Bayerisches Viertel neighborhood in Berlin. See The Jewish Museum.

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Ravensbruck Concentration Camp depicted by artist, James BrownRavensbruck
by Joseph Brown

In this 1995-1996 work, Joseph Brown recreates the secret Bible reading of Jehovah's Witness prisoners in a barrack at Ravensbrück concentration camp. The setting is based on Brown's interviews of 15 former camp inmates and depicts some of the more than 400 Witness prisoners in the camp. The 50”x 60” oil painting was done in connection with a program at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C. The work now hangs in the Ravensbrück Concentration Camp Memorial. At age 13, the artist attended the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School and has since taught at NYU and the Fashion Institute of Technology. (Courtesy of the artist.)

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Frida Kahlo, "My Grandparents, My Parents, and I"My Grandparents, My Parents, and I
by Frida Kahlo
1936. Oil and tempera on metal panel, 12 1/8 x 13 5/8 in. (30.7 x 34.5 cm).

Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art, New York: Gift of
Allan Roos, M. D. and
B. Mathiau Roos, 1976
Image © 2003 The Museum of Modern Art, New York

This painting is part of an exhibit at The Jewish Museum, New York, from September 5, 2003 through January 4, 2004. For more information see The Jewish Museum.

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