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Modern Art

Apr 17, 2023

EARLY ISRAELI AND AMERICAN ARTISTS:
RE-VISIONING THE HOLOCAUST.
Talk by Ori Z Soltes, Georgetown University, Washington DC

2023-03-27T19:19:16-04:00April 17th, 2023|, |Comments Off on EARLY ISRAELI AND AMERICAN ARTISTS:
RE-VISIONING THE HOLOCAUST.
Talk by Ori Z Soltes, Georgetown University, Washington DC

In honor of Yom HaShoah, this talk focuses on three Israeli and three American familiar and unfamiliar artists working in very diverse styles and not typically thought of as focusing on the Holocaust. Each of them, however, has offered powerful reflections on the defining catastrophe of the twentieth century. Barnett Newman, the foremost verbal spokesman for the chromatic side of the abstract expressionist movement redefining American painting in the early 1950s, offers an unexpectedly intense reflection on the question of theodicy. Mordecai Ardon, in the process of assuming leadership of the Bezalel school in Jerusalem at around the same time, balances between abstraction and figuration in depicting the Nazi-engendered chaos. Ygal Tumarkin’s sculpture turns Holocaust chaos into upside-down order [...]

Mar 29, 2023

“Sweet Kitsch, I can’t do that.”
Maria Luiko (1904-1941)
With Wolfram P. Kastner and Mascha Erbelding, both Munich (Germany)

2023-03-30T06:59:22-04:00March 29th, 2023|, , |Comments Off on “Sweet Kitsch, I can’t do that.”
Maria Luiko (1904-1941)
With Wolfram P. Kastner and Mascha Erbelding, both Munich (Germany)

The artistic work of Maria Luiko (1904-1941), born Marie Luise Kohn in Munich, is characterized by an impressive diversity. In addition to drawings, watercolors and oil paintings, she created prints using various printing processes and paper cuts, and designed book illustrations, stage sets and marionettes. Already during her studies at the local Academy of Fine Arts and her training at the School of Applied Arts she was included in exhibitions in the Munich Glass Palace (Münchner Glaspalast). Her career was brutally cut short by the Nazi regime. As a Jew, Luiko was not able to join the Reich Chamber of Fine Arts (Reichskammer der bildenden Künste), a Nazi organization founded in 1933. Without membership, she could not obtain work materials, [...]

Mar 1, 2023

DOROTHY BOHM (1924-2023): A WORLD OBSERVED
Lecture by Monica Bohm-Duchen, London (UK)

2023-03-20T06:43:11-04:00March 1st, 2023|, , |Comments Off on DOROTHY BOHM (1924-2023): A WORLD OBSERVED
Lecture by Monica Bohm-Duchen, London (UK)

Dorothy Bohm was born Dorothea Israelit in Königsberg, East Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia) in 1924 into an assimilated, affluent and cultured Jewish milieu. In 1932 her father chose to move the family to Memel (now Klaipeda) in Lithuania, but following the Nazi occupation of Memelland in March 1939, her parents decided to send their daughter, aged 14, to the safety of England, where she arrived in June 1939. She wasn’t to see her parents and sister again for over twenty years. Image above (appears as detail): Dorothy Bohm, Venice Carnival, 1987 © Dorothy Bohm Archive Dorothy Bohm, Self-Portrait, 1942, age 18. © Dorothy Bohm Archive Dorothy Bohm, Ascona, 1948. © Dorothy Bohm Archive [...]

Feb 1, 2023

CASTAWAY MODERNISM. Basel’s Acquisitions of “Degenerate” Art
Presentation by Dr. Eva Reifert, Kunstmuseum Basel
followed by discussion with Rachel Stern

2023-02-06T07:18:23-05:00February 1st, 2023|, , |Comments Off on CASTAWAY MODERNISM. Basel’s Acquisitions of “Degenerate” Art
Presentation by Dr. Eva Reifert, Kunstmuseum Basel
followed by discussion with Rachel Stern

The Kunstmuseum Basel’s department of classic modernism houses one of the most prestigious collections of its kind. It was in fact assembled at a comparatively late date. In the summer of 1939 — shortly before the outbreak of World War II — Georg Schmidt (1896–1966), the museum’s director at the time, managed to acquire twenty-one avant-garde masterpieces all at once. The works were among those denounced in 1937 by Nazi cultural policy as “degenerate” and forcibly removed from German museums. The Third Reich’s Ministry of Propaganda correctly assumed that a portion of such works would find buyers abroad and bring in foreign currency. In this way certain artworks deemed “internationally exploitable” reached the art market via various channels. [...]

Jan 25, 2023

AS SEEN THROUGH THESE EYES
Conversation with Film Director Hilary Helstein, Los Angeles

2023-02-01T06:15:59-05:00January 25th, 2023|, , |Comments Off on AS SEEN THROUGH THESE EYES
Conversation with Film Director Hilary Helstein, Los Angeles

In honor of UN Holocaust Remembrance Day, Hilary Helstein, director of the award-winning documentary "As Seen Through These Eyes" spoke with Rachel Stern, director and CEO of the Fritz Ascher Society New York, about the making of her documentary. As poet Maya Angelou narrates this powerful documentary, she reveals the story of a brave group of people who fought Hitler with the only weapons they had: charcoal, pencil stubs, shreds of paper and memories etched in their minds. These artists took their fate into their own hands to make a compelling statement about the human spirit, enduring against unimaginable odds. Featuring interviews with Simon Wiesenthal as he talks about his art, never before appearing in a film, [...]

Jan 11, 2023

Back into the Light.
Four Women Artists – Their Works. Their Paths.
Lecture by Eva Atlan, PhD, Frankfurt (Germany)

2023-02-26T09:25:37-05:00January 11th, 2023|, , |Comments Off on Back into the Light.
Four Women Artists – Their Works. Their Paths.
Lecture by Eva Atlan, PhD, Frankfurt (Germany)

Erna Pinner, Rosy Lilienfeld, Amalie Seckbach, and Ruth Cahn were among the first women artists in Frankfurt to enjoy professional success. Throughout the Roaring Twenties, these four Jewish women left their mark on Frankfurt’s art scene, published and exhibited internationally, cultivated a cosmopolitan lifestyle, and competed with their male colleagues. When the National Socialists seized power, their careers came to an abrupt end. From then on, they were persecuted as Jews and their works ostracized; later, after the end of World War II, they were largely forgotten. Now, “Back into the Light” is at long last bringing them back to the public eye. The departure point is an article by art historian Sascha Schwabacher, published May 1935 [...]

Dec 7, 2022

The Shape and Color of Survival.
Samuel Bak (born Vilnius, Lithuania, 1933)
Lecture by Ori Z Soltes, PhD

2022-12-07T18:53:36-05:00December 7th, 2022|, , |Comments Off on The Shape and Color of Survival.
Samuel Bak (born Vilnius, Lithuania, 1933)
Lecture by Ori Z Soltes, PhD

Image above: Samuel Bak, Warsaw Excavation, 2007. Oil on canvas, 16 x 20 in. Image Courtesy Pucker Gallery © Samuel Bak Samuel Bak was 6 years old when the Nazis began ending his childhood, as the war that they engendered would soon extend to his native Vilnius. The number “6” became an important element in his art, since it is also the number of the Commandment with which God enjoins us not to commit murder, for which the Holocaust represented such a profound abrogation. His father smuggled him out of the ghetto in the sack that he was still permitted to use to gather firewood—and was subsequently murdered by the regime. By then Bak himself had already [...]

Nov 2, 2022

Out of Exile.
The Photography of Fred Stein (1909-1967)
With Son Peter Stein and Curator Ulrike Kuschel, Berlin (Germany)

2022-11-02T14:42:41-04:00November 2nd, 2022|, , |Comments Off on Out of Exile.
The Photography of Fred Stein (1909-1967)
With Son Peter Stein and Curator Ulrike Kuschel, Berlin (Germany)

Fred Stein lived through some of the greatest upheavals of the 20th century. He escaped Nazi Germany; he mingled with Chagall and Brecht in Paris; and he debated with Einstein in New York. He was a scholar, a refugee, and an idealist. But above all, he was a photographer. An early innovator of hand-held street photography in 1930s France and 1940s New York, his images are sophisticated, beautiful, and touching; his portraits include some of the most important people of the mid-20th century, like Albert Einstein. Image above: Fred Stein, Americans All, New York 1943 © Fred Stein Archive Fred Stein, Paris Evening, Paris 1934 © Fred Stein Archive [...]

Oct 3, 2022

From Generation to Generation:
The Upbringing and Art of
Mimi Gross (born 1940, New York)

2022-10-03T13:54:27-04:00October 3rd, 2022|, , |Comments Off on From Generation to Generation:
The Upbringing and Art of
Mimi Gross (born 1940, New York)

Mimi Gross is the daughter of well-known sculptor Chaim Gross (1902–1991). She grew up to become an artist and one obvious question one might ask is how her work was influenced by and/or diverged from her father's work. But both Chaim and his wife Renee were immigrants--so New York City-born Mimi grew up as an American in an immigrant household, which might raise the question: were there issues derived from the particulars of her growing up that affected her and her art--and might one imagine the curve of her life as different in a non-immigrant context, or a context experienced at a different time in American and world history? These and other questions are discussed in a dialogue between Mimi Gross and [...]

Sep 28, 2022

The Enduring Legacy of
Chaim Gross (1902-1991)
With Daughter Mimi Gross and Sasha Davis

2022-09-28T14:35:06-04:00September 28th, 2022|, , |Comments Off on The Enduring Legacy of
Chaim Gross (1902-1991)
With Daughter Mimi Gross and Sasha Davis

Chaim Gross (1902-1991) fled Europe as a teenager after experiencing the violence of World War I and the disruption of his artistic training due to anti-Semitic policies. He arrived in New York City in 1921 and quickly found a welcoming environment among fellow artists, many of whom were also immigrants, at the Educational Alliance Art School. Despite difficult beginnings, Gross rose to become one of America’s leading twentieth-century sculptors and a key proponent of the direct carving movement. Although a small number of his works referenced his horrific early experiences and the later murder of family members in the Holocaust, his themes were largely joyful, showing mothers at play or acrobats and dancers. Image above: [...]

Sep 7, 2022

Behind the Bronze.
The Sculptor Maurice Blik (born 1939 Amsterdam)
Featuring Maurice Blik and Julian Freeman (both London, UK)

2022-09-07T15:52:51-04:00September 7th, 2022|, , |Comments Off on Behind the Bronze.
The Sculptor Maurice Blik (born 1939 Amsterdam)
Featuring Maurice Blik and Julian Freeman (both London, UK)

Maurice Blik has lived in England since being liberated from Bergen Belsen concentration camp, where he was taken as a small child from his birthplace, Amsterdam. The ability to come to terms with this experience and to confront the face of humanity that he has witnessed, stayed silent in his life for some 40 years. It finally found a voice in the passionate sculptures which began to emerge in the late 1970s when he created a series of horses’ heads. These noble and benevolent creatures posses an energy and a life force that seem just barely harnessed long enough to take their shape in the clay itself. Later he progressed to more figurative work in which the irrepressible joy [...]

Aug 3, 2022

Ludwig and Else Meidner.
An Artist Couple Exiled in London
Lecture by Erik Riedel, Frankfurt/Main (Germany)

2022-08-03T14:52:23-04:00August 3rd, 2022|, , |Comments Off on Ludwig and Else Meidner.
An Artist Couple Exiled in London
Lecture by Erik Riedel, Frankfurt/Main (Germany)

When Ludwig and Else Meidner met in 1925, he was already an established artist well-known for his so-called Apocalyptic Landscapes. Although Else started as Ludwig’s student, she developed a distinct independent style and he always praised her art as more refined than his own “coarse” works. As Else Meidner slowly gained recognition in Berlin art circles, her career was abruptly cut short by the Nazi-regime in 1933. She moved to Cologne with her husband in 1935; and they emigrated to England in 1939 only a few weeks before the war started. In London both lived largely unnoticed by the English art scene. But while Ludwig frustratedly returned to Germany, she decided to stay in England. Their complicated relationship developed from [...]

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