With today’s sale by Christies of Amedeo Modigliani’s “Nu Couché” for over $170 million, my thoughts turned from art and red coffee cups to Fall art exhibits of Jewish interest
(Modigliani, an early 20th Century Italian Jewish artist completed this work in 1917-18; it was a sexual, hedonistic response to the carnage of WWI. He died a few years later of poverty and TB; and his pregnant longtime girlfriend jumped to her death soon after, distraught over his death)
The Fall highlight at New York City’s Jewish Museum is a show of Andy Warhol’s representations of Liz Taylor and Marylyn Monroe, two celebrity converts to the Jewish religion. The public personas of Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe were constructed, but when they converted to Judaism, the change for both women was personal and profound. Becoming Jewish: Warhol’s Liz and Marilyn draws parallels between the actresses’ identities as Jewish women and Warhol’s exploration of their celebrity through his image-making.
Also at The Jewish Museum is a show of photographs of Steerage immigrants by Alfred Stieglitz
Last week, a show titled UNORTHODOX opened at The Jewish Museum. a large-scale group exhibition featuring over 50 contemporary artists from around the world whose practices mix forms and genres without concern for artistic conventions. Though the artists in Unorthodox come from a wide variety of backgrounds and generations, they are united in their spirit of independence and individuality. Through over 200 works, the exhibition will highlight the importance of iconoclasm and art’s key role in breaking rules and traditions. Numerous works that examine social and political values, religion and humanism, trauma, and identity explore the relationship between the human figure and the modern creative process.
NYC’s Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust features Yellow Stars, Pink Triangles: Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals: 1933-1945 and Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism. Also, next week, the museum hosts “Eating Jewish in Canada” with Anthony Rose of Toronto’s Fat Pasha and Schmaltz Appetizing; Ruthie Ladovsky of United Bakers Dairy Restaurant; and food writers Michael Wex and Bonnie Stern; moderated by Jayne Cohen, Jewish Holiday Cooking From schmaltz-fried rice to Nutella babka bread pudding with maple syrup to classic gefilte fish.
The Center for Jewish History in Manhattan, which contains five museums in one building is highlighting the Autumn with Baghdadis & the Bene Israel in Bollywood & Beyond and Jewface: “Yiddish” Dialect Songs of Tin Pan Alley
At the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco the Fall show is NEAT: New Experiments in Art and Technology, which acknowledges an earlier E.A.T. show and brings digital innovation into the fine arts. NEAT features nine Bay Area artists, representing three generations of practitioners. Each artist has been commissioned to make a new piece, or update an older artwork, that demonstrates how digital programming is a central, yet just the latest, tool for artist creativity. Another show, In That Case: Havruta in Contemporary Art — David Wilson and Francesco Spagnolo, is based on the Talmudic study principle of havruta—the study of religious texts by people in pairs— “In That Case” at The CJM encourages learning through fellowship for Bay Area artists, established professionals, museum staff, and the entire CJM community.
The Brooklyn Jewish Children’s Museum of Crown Heights features a show by Maurice Nseiri. It is titled “The Lost Art of Damascus” and focuses on Nseiri, who is among the greatest of Syrian-Jewish metalworkers. Nseiri’s work adorns the palace of the murderous Syrian dictator and President Bashar al-Assad, as well as the entrances to several prominent synagogues and mosques. He also designed the trophies presented at the Arabian TV awards.
At the New Center in Boston, The making of Hamsas is on the agenda for November.
The National Museum of Jewish Heritage in Philadelphia will host Dr. Ruth Westheimer next week. Among its special Fall exhibits are The Pursuit of Happiness: Jewish Voices for LGBT Rights; Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile and Friends: The Art of Bernard Waber; and Dreams of Freedom: 1880 – 1945.
NYC’s Museum of Modern Art presents “Endless House: Intersections of Art and Architecture” with the highlight of a series of drawings and photographs by Frederick Kiesler, the Austrian-American polymath whose Endless House — never completed — fused fine art, architecture, furniture and lighting design into a bulbous, unstable whole. he designed the Shrine of the Book for Jerusalem’s Israel Museum.
At The Museum of the City of New York, “Folk City: New York and the Folk Music Revival” features several Jewish musicians; handwritten Bob Dylan lyrics; well-strummed guitars from Lead Belly, Judy Collins and Odetta; concert posters; Sing Out! magazines; video from a raucous protest over banning folk singers from Washington Square, and more. While the Neue Galerie on Manhattan’s Upper East Side has “Berlin Metropolis: 1918-1933” which shows the the rich cultural ferment of the fragile Weimar Republic.
Through January 2016, The National Academy has “GLOBAL CITIZEN: THE ARCHITECTURE OF MOSHE SAFDIE.” This touring survey features the work of the architect whose career was kicked off by his landmark Habitat 67 at the 1967 World’s Fair in Montreal.
In Los Angeles, the LACMA features: FRANK GEHRY. Co-organized by the Pompidou Center in Paris, the exhibition looks at the career of Canadian-born Jewish starchitect Frank Gehry, who set up shop in Los Angeles in 1962. Across LA at the new Broad Museum, OPENING OF THE BROAD M– USEUM, collectors Eli and Edythe Broad open their museum, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler, in downtown Los Angeles. The inaugural installation includes about 250 artworks dating from the 1950s to the present. Also back at LACMA is “NEW OBJECTIVITY: MODERN GERMAN ART IN THE WEIMAR REPUBLIC, 1919-1933” featuring crippled war veterans, prostitutes and the rise of mass media as some of the subjects addressed by Neue Sachlichkeit artists.
Through March 2016 in Washington DC, the Smithsonian Americna Art Museum shows IRVING PENN: BEYOND BEAUTY; this exhibition surveys Penn’s career from 1930s street photography to celebrity portraits.
In Miami at the Jewish Museum of Florida, a show of the works of Dr. Mark Podwal features Podwal’s drawings and paintings of historical threats of antisemitism, combined with verses from the Book of Psalms. With so many recent incidents of antisemitic acts throughout Europe and the U.S., and even right here in Florida, the topic has never been so relevant.
The Dallas Museum of Art will show over fifty works of art in Art SPIRIT AND MATTER: MASTERPIECES FROM THE KEIR COLLECTION OF ISLAMIC ART, as well as INTERNATIONAL POP, which hosts the show from the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, an exhibition of Pop Art that splintered into international movements like Nouveau Réalisme in France, Concretism and Neo-Concretism in Brazil and Capitalist Realism in Germany. Down in Houston, the Museum of Fine Arts will give a retrospective to MARK ROTHKO. It is the first major retrospective of Rothko’s work since 1998, featuring his luminous Color Field canvases divided into hovering rectangles.
In Detroit at the DIA, 30 AMERICANS draws from the Rubell Family Collection in Miami; it features 70 works by 30 contemporary African-American artists.
The Graham Foundation in Chicago features BARBARA KASTEN: STAGES. The Institute of Contemporary Art on Penn’s campus in Philadelphia organized this major survey of the Chicago artist Barbara Kasten, whose photographs and videos are based on architectural models she builds and photographs in her studio.
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