Holocaust, Memory, and the Visual Arts

HolocaustStudents in Professor Samuel D. Gruber’s Holocaust, Memory and the Visual Arts class (JSP 300 / ETS 410) have installed a small but compelling exhibition on the fourth floor of Bird Library to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (April 19 – May 8, 1943) and to remember more generally the millions of victims of the Holocaust. The exhibit explicitly pays tribute to the many artists who were imprisoned, enslaved, tortured and murdered in ghettos, concentrations camps and death camps by the Nazi regimes between 1939 and 1945.

As part of class assignment students chose artwork created by victims of the Holocaust – many of whom subsequently were killed – to represent different types of spiritual and creative resistance to the Nazi oppression. The students discovered through the study of the work of imprisoned artists that besides armed uprising, there were many ways in which Jews and other victims confronted and resisted their systematic brutalization and dehumanization.

The display features reproductions of art created by Holocaust victims (mostly Jews) inside camps or in hiding. The paintings and drawings represent different reasons prisoners made art when inspiration was as elusive as hope. Each work is categorized according to themes introduced by art historian Ziva Amishai-Maisels including official art, art as spiritual resistance, art for the affirmation of life, art as witness, and art as catharsis.

We remember these artists as victims as well as witnesses. They produced much of their work in secret, knowing that if caught, they would likely lose their lives. Most of them were murdered, and only a few survived to personally bear witness to their experiences.

Artists remembered include Dinah Gottliebova/Babbit, Bedrich Fritta, Karel Fleischmann, Malvina Schalkova, Felix Nussbaum, Leo Haas, and Henri Pieck.

The exhibition was created by Colleen Bidwill, Ellen Fitzpatrick, Alise Fisher, David Kay, Mattie Kramer, Kaitlyn Martin, under the supervision of Professor Samuel D. Gruber.

Tourist: photography by Jeniva Quinones in Biblio Gallery

quinonesA collection of photographs by Jeniva Quinones called Tourist is featured in the Biblio Gallery on the 4th floor of Bird Library from March 22 to April 22, 2013. Quinones is an Art Photography major in VPA.

In reflecting on her photography, Quinones says, “Until the summer of 2012 I had never been a tourist in a foreign country. Being a New Yorker, born and bred, I was predisposed to an anti-tourist mindset. Studying in Florence showed me what it is like for people consciously leaving their comfort zone to explore the world. I no longer knew the area, the customs, or even the language. I felt lost and overwhelmed everywhere I went. I couldn’t even buy cold medicine without a handwritten note from a faculty member. “Tourist” is a series of self-portrait photomontages made during my semester in Florence, each interrupted in a different fashion to visually express my emotional disconnect from the country I was living in. This exhibition also includes a series of untitled photomontages I made in Florence.”

For more information about exhibiting in the Biblio Gallery, contact Ann Skiold at saskiold@syr.edu or see the Biblio Gallery website.

The Armory Show centennial exhibition

Syracuse University Library presents The Armory Show, an informational display celebrating the centennial anniversary of the landmark 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art. The Armory Show opened on February 17th, 1913 at the 69th Regiment Armory on East 26th Street in New York City and introduced the American public to European avant-garde painting and sculpture. It became a watershed event in the history of American art. Among the main attractions were: Matisse’s “Blue Nude (Souvenir of Biskra)” and “Red Madras Headdress,” and Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2.”

The display, located on the 4th floor of Bird Library, includes descriptions of the controversial exhibition, reproductions of exhibited works, and representative reactions by the public and the press.

 

Inhale/Exhale: photography by Erin Geideman in Biblio Gallery

A collection of photographs by Erin Geideman called Inhale/Exhale is featured in the Biblio Gallery on the 4th floor of Bird Library from February – March 2013.  Geideman, who is from the Ohio Valley, is an Art Photography major in VPA.

In reflecting on her photography, Geideman says, “When I was eighteen and about to leave for college, I was welcomed into a group of friends whom I immediately started photographing. Using the snapshot aesthetic, I documented the lives of these young adults by making pictures of chaotic party scenes and intimate gestures. On August 20th, 2010, my best friend was shot and mugged outside his brother’s apartment. Since the shooting, my style has progressed. Though I still use the snapshot aesthetic to depict an intimacy between my subjects, I now accompany these photographs with staged portraits and still lives. The work focuses on themes of intimacy, love, and family, illustrated through recurring motifs of hands, torsos, embraces, and close-cropped, chaotic shots. This collection of photographs introduces Ian; the victim of the shooting whose life was shattered in an instant when an unknown assailant shot him in the abdomen.”

For more information about exhibiting in the Biblio Gallery, contact Ann Skiold at saskiold@syr.edu or see the Biblio Gallery website.

VPA grad student Jason Egitto exhibits works in the Biblio Gallery

Works by Jason Egitto is featured in the Biblio Gallery on the 4th floor of Bird Library from January 19 to mid-February, 2013.  Egitto, a VPA graduate student majoring in computer art, holds two B.F.A.’s in computer animation and illustration with a minor in fine arts.

In describing his work, Egitto says, “My career as an illustrator and cartoonist exerts an undeniable influence on my subject matter, as well as my technique. I’m deeply concerned about the cultural, ecological, spiritual, and political dystopia we have created, and some of my works address these issues, often with ambiguous metaphors.  Each subject carries its own emotions, concepts, and definitions. I react to those elements, and that in turn affects my style. My purpose is to convey the human experience, and in particular, the inspiration of challenges through adversity. It’s about being connected to the world, and attempting to make some sense of it through the visual arts.”

For more information about exhibiting in the Biblio Gallery, contact Ann Skiold at saskiold@syr.edu or see http://library.syr.edu/services/space/biblio_gallery.php.