Sunday, September 8, 2019

Museum at Eldridge Street Features Exhibition on Jews in China through October 4th - Special Lecture September 12th





Museum at Eldridge Street (aka Eldridge Street Synagogue)
Built from 1886-1887
Architects: Peter and Francis Herter
Photo: Courtesy of the Museum at Eldridge Street

The world's populations have been in flux for millennia, but now, it seems, more than even, concerns about migration and immigration dominate the news every day. The planet may be in crisis and immigration may be among the symptoms that point to the urgency of the situation. Wars, crime, slavery, pogroms, economic opportunity, and climate change have been the major forces driving people to move to different lands. In most cases, there is a need to escape hardship and find a better life.  

View of the main sanctuary from the Women's Gallery
Photo: Beth S. Gersh-Nesic

The Museum at Eldridge Street regards its existence as a chapter in the New York immigrant experience. The museum is a 19th century synagogue built by a Jewish Russian population living on the Lower East Side. It was completed for this Orthodox congregation called Kahal Adath Jeshurun in 1887 to serve this mainly Eastern European (Ashkenazi) tradition of Judaism.  The Museum at Eldridge Street is the only Jewish synagogue open to the public as a place to educate and share multicultural programming. To access an introduction to the Museum of Eldridge Street, visit their website which explains the building's restoration (rededicated in 2007) and their permanent collection.

Main Sanctuary viewed from the Women's Gallery.
Rose stained-glass window by Kiki Smith, installed in 2010
Photo: Beth S. Gersh-Nesic

The museum's mission states. we  . . . 
  • Welcome people of all faiths and cultures.
  • Teach and reinforce tolerance.
  • Believe diversity is our strength.
  • Believe openness and exchange makes us stronger.


View of the stained glass window in the ceiling
Photo: Beth S. Gersh-Nesic

For more information about the museum's mission, please read this interview with the museum's wonderful archivist and curator Nancy Johnson. Since the fall of 2016, she has either organized or overseen the exhibitions and programs for The Michael Weinstein Art Gallery within the museum. Her exhibitions have made a significant contribution to this burgeoning arts community.  Please subscribe to their email blasts for news about their active schedule of programs, such as the ones listed below.




Photo: Courtesy of the Museum at Eldridge Street


Today, the Museum at Eldridge Street stands among the bustling streets of Chinatown and the exploding Lower East Side (LES) gallery scene stretching in all directions around the New Museum on the Bowery.  Located at 12 Eldridge Street, the museum is a mere hop, skip and jump away from the magnificent Manhattan Bridge.  From there, myriads of diverse ethnic adventures beckon - cafés, restaurants, boutiques, and food markets galore.

Street Performance during "Egg Rolls, Egg Creams and Empanadas"
Photo: Courtesy of the Museum of Eldridge Street

With this in mind, the museum offers the annual June event  "Egg Rolls, Egg Creams and Empanadas," an exciting day of art, dance, street performances, and music - lots of music.  This year's celebration was especially memorable because Harbin, China: Past/Presentan exhibition about Jews living in Harbin, China, filled the museum's beautiful Weinstein Art Gallery.  



Harbin alone deserves a long, relaxed visit, before or after a tour of the synagogue.  Richly detailed in its educational presentation, Nancy Johnson has curated an excellent combination of photographs, text panels, and narratives about a few Russian emigrés who settled in Harbin and raised their families. The history of Jews living in Harbin begins in the late 1890s and ends in the 1960s.  


Steven Lane, Installation on the Women's Gallery

The Harbin exhibition includes a contemporary art component produced by the New York artist Steven Lane, who works in Harbin during the summer, when he is not teaching at Keio Academy of New York, a Japanese-American high school located in Purchase, New York.  Photographs of Lane's work in Harbin as well as his prints and glorious installation in the Women's Gallery ably connect Harbin of the past to the present, hence the title of the show.

Steven Lane's installation in the Women's Gallery

The history of the Jews settling in Harbin, previously a cluster of villages in Manchuria, begins with the Russian invasion of Manchuria and the subsequent Russo-Manchuria Treaty of 1897.  Then Jews immigrated to Harbin to build the Chinese Eastern Railway. The whole enterprise created a modern urban oasis of freedom for Russian Jews who were extremely restricted and unwelcome in their homeland. By 1903, 500 Jews lived in Harbin. By 1908, there were 8,000. For more information online, please read Dr. Irena Vladimirsky's article "The Jews of Harbin, China,"




Tours of the Museum at Eldridge Street, a typical Moorish Revival style synagogue inspired by mid-19th century synagogues in Europe, like Dohany Street Synagogue in Budapest, are available during the days the museum is open.  Check out their website for details.

Harbin, China: Past/Present closes on Sunday, October 4th. 

Three important activities in September and October:
Thursday, September 12:
Artist's Tour of the Exhibition: Steven Lane, at 5:45 PM.
and
"Jewish Lives in China," at 6:30 PM.
Lectures by Professor Jim Ross, Department of Journalism, Northeastern University; Irene Clurman, a journalist from Colorado, who maintains a website on Harbin; and Varda Yoran, born in China in 1929 of parents who emigrated from Russia.
Details and tickets available on the museum's website.

Wednesday, September 18, 6:30 PM:
"EastRiver Ensemble Concert," a mixture of Chinese and other kinds of music.
Tickets are available here.

Sunday, October 6, 10:45--1:30 PM:
"Shuls of Grandeur: A Tour of Bialystoker Synagogue and  Eldridge Street Synagogue.
Meeting at Bialystoker Synagogue.  Tickets available on this website.


Best wishes and enjoy this glorious weather!
Beth

Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
Director and owner
New York Arts Exchange
Twitter: @BethNewYork

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Labor Day Weekend - Last Call for September/October Closings

Milton Avery (American, 1885-1965). Swimmers and Sunbathers, 1945. 
Oil on canvas, 28 x 48 1/4 in.
 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Roy R. Neuberger, 1951 (51.97). 
© 2019 The Milton Avery Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), 
New York. Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource, NY.


Labor Day is nigh and the end of summer is here!  I sincerely hope you all had wonderful summers with friends and family, whether here in New York or far, far away.  

Now is the time to catch the last days of the New York Summer Season's best exhibitions, each closing very soon. Here is the list:

James McNeill Whistler, Fumette, 1858.
 Etching and drypoint, black ink on cream French laid paper, 6 3/8 × 4 1/4 inches. 
Gertrude Kosovsky Collection; © The Frick Collection


Labor Day Weekend:
Whistler as Printmaker: Highlights from the Gertrude Kosovsky Collection, Frick Museum, through Sunday, September 1.

Summer with the Averys: Milton, Sally and March, and Sharks! Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT, September 1.  (This one venue is perfect for the family as both exhibitions are suitable for children of all ages.)

Ragnar Kjartansson:  Death is Elsewhere, Metropolitan Museum of Art, through September 2.

Blue Man Group: Ready . . . Go!, Museum of the City of New York, through September 2


Anne Samat, Che Yah (The Greatest Love),2019


Next weekend:
Camp: Notes on Fashion, Metropolitan Museum of Art, through September 8.

Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything, The Jewish Museum, through September 8.

Anne Samat: Greatest Love, Hudson Valley Museum of Modern Art, Peekskill, NY, through September 8

Two weeks from now:
Summer Revolution, New York Historical Society, through September 15.

Walt Whitman, Bard of Democracy, Morgan Library and Museum, September 15.

Three weeks from now:
Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum, through September 22.

Hogarth: Cruel and Humor, Morgan Library and Museum, through September 22.

Mrinalini Mukherjee, Aranyani, 1996


Last weekend in September/October 1:
Phenomenal Nature: Mrinalini Mukherjee, Met Breuer, through September 29.
Free Lecture on Thursday, September 5th, 6:30 and Gallery Talk on Tuesday, September 10th, 12:30.

From Manet to Picasso: The Thannhauser Colllection, Guggenheim Museum, through September 29.


Best wishes for the Labor Day Weekend and the Fall Season ahead - 
Beth

Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
Director and owner
New York Arts Exchange














Friday, August 9, 2019

Toni Morrison (1931-2019) - A Tribute to An American Treasure


Toni Morrison by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders


A tremendous sadness has descended on Toni Morrison fans now that she has left this mortal world. She was and still is beloved by her readers.

Here is an essay in Opah Magazine by McKenzie Jean-Philippe: "20 Timeless Toni Morrison Quotes That Will Always Stay With You" 

Recollections in The Paris Review by Fran Lebowitz, Danez Smith and Pam Houston. 

One of many interviews

. . . to savor as you re-read her great books and essays.

Novels

Children's literature (with Slade Morrison)

  • The Big Box (1999). 
  • The Book of Mean People (2002). 
  • Who's Got Game? The Ant or the Grasshopper?, The Lion or the Mouse?, Poppy or the Snake? (2007). 
  • Peeny Butter Fudge (2009). 
  • Please, Louise (2014). 

Short fiction

Plays


Libretto:

Essays:
  • The Origin of Others (2017). Harvard University Press. 
  • The Source of Self-Regard: Essays, Speeches, Meditations (2019). Random House. 


Please  reply to this post on FB or in your email with the title of your favorite Toni Morrison book.  Thank you.

Best wishes for the weekend,
Beth

Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
Director and owner
New York Arts Exchange


Sunday, August 4, 2019

Staycation 2019: August Exhibitions that Spark Joy!

"Camp: Notes on Fashion," 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, through September 8th
Franco Moschino (Italian, 1950–1994) for House of Moschino (Italian, founded 1983). 
Dress, fall/winter 1989. Courtesy of Moschino. Photo © Johnny Dufort, 2018


Dear friends,
There are times when writing this blog seems so trivial in the midst of tragedy here in the US or abroad.  Whether the circumstances are natural disasters or human actions that bring loss and pain, the notion that this blog shouts out "go see art" often feels inappropriate these days.

And yet - speaking only for myself - I need to go to museums and galleries to escape the gloomy thoughts about our current global mess.  For we still have so much to be thankful for,  especially the good fortune of living in or near New York, which this summer is brimming with exceptional opportunities in museums, theaters, concerts, performances, and lectures. 

"Camp: Notes on Fashion," 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, through September 8th
Jun Takahashi (Japanese, born 1969) for Undercover (Japanese, founded 1990). Ensemble, fall/winter 2017–18. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Friends of The Costume Institute Gifts, 2017 (2017.399a–d). Photo © Johnny Dufort, 2019


Here are a few museum exhibitions for those of you in search of art that "sparks joy":
Camp: Notes on Fashion,  Met Museum, through September 8th
Play It Loud, Met Museum, through October 1st.
Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything, Jewish Museum, through September 8th


"Play it Loud," Metropolitan Museum of Art, through October 1st
Ludwig Drum Company, Four Drum set with cymbals, 1963
Formerly in the Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach Collection. Photo: Courtesy of Jay Irsay and the Metropolitan Museum of Art



"Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything,"
Jewish Museum, through September 8th 
 Installation photograph, courtesy of the Jewish Museum

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
--Leonard Cohen




May a day with art bring you joy and peace -
With warm wishes from the Big Apple,
Beth

Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
Director and owner
New York Arts Exchange, LLC



Thursday, July 25, 2019

Last Call: Dora Maar Retrospective at Centre Pompidou through Monday, July 29

Dora Maar, Model Star, 1936 Silver Gelatin Print, Thérond Collection © Adagp, Paris, 2019, Photo © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI / A. Laurans / Dist. RMN-GP

Out of the shadows and into the limelight, Picasso’s primary model for the Weeping Woman, series, Dora Maar, finally gets her due as an artist in her own right, the star of her first solo retrospective exhibition at Centre Georges Pompidou, closing July 29, 2019.  Imagine Dora’s delight had she lived to receive such accolades in the heart of her hometown, Paris, where she was born 122 years ago.
Rogi André (Rozsa Klein), Dora Maar, vers 1937 Silver Gelatin Print, 29.9 x 39.4 cm Purchased in 1983, Collection Centre Pompidou, Paris Musée national d’art moderne, Centre de création industrielle © DR Photo © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI / Georges Meguerditchian / Dist. RMN-GP
Composed of over 400 works in clusters of various media that generously display her artistic talents, this introduction to Dora Maar’s life and art presents a portrait of the modern early 20th-century female eager to make her mark professionally yet torn between her desire for success and a genuine, committed relationship. Often, she will fail at one or the other. For Dora Maar, the decisive moment for her career arrived when she allowed the Spanish master Pablo Picasso into her life. His attentions also brought his condescending opinion of photography, the art form in which she excelled. In this respect, the exhibition Dora Maar not only offers an opportunity to fully explore a relatively unknown body of work, but also asks an enduringly vital question for all aspiring artists, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation: can the influence of a romantic partner in the arts destroy one’s established or promising artistic career? In this particular case, your opinion of the work will determine your answer.
Read more about Dora Maar's life and work on Bonjour Paris


Best wishes for the weekend,
Beth

Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
Director and owner
New York Arts Exchange


Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Celebrating July 4th and Miljan Suknovic's painting "An Immigrant Story" at JFK - Terminal 1



Please join me in celebrating July 4, 2019 and the recent citizenship of one of our favorite artists Miljan Suknovic. In order to mark this happy occasion, Miljan decided to paint a work that expressed his joy. Then he decided to give this star-spangle-y painting to his new country. Today, you can see his work, An Immigrant Story, in person in JFK's Terminal 1.

Here is the text panel:



Congratulations, Miljan!  Read more about Miljan Suknovic on his website

Best wishes to everyone on this Independence Day 2019!
Beth 

Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
Director and owner
New York Arts Exchange, LLC