Indepth Arts News: |
"Witness and Legacy: Contemporary Art about the Holocaust"
2001-10-06 until 2001-01-13
Frye Art Museum
Until recently, the Holocaust has been a subject largely
neglected, even in the visual arts. But during the last three
decades, a growing number of American artists have begun
a quest to preserve the memory of the Holocaust in a
variety of forms. Witness and Legacy, a major exhibition of
recent Holocaust art by 23 American artists, explores the
linkages between the Holocaust and artistic creativity.
Organized by historian Stephen Feinstein and Minnesota
Museum of American Art curator Paul Spencer, Witness
and Legacy is a national touring exhibition of work by
contemporary American artists who address one of
humanitys deepest tragedies: the Nazi-led systematic
murder and oppression of the Jewish people. Some of the
artists in the exhibition are survivors, and some are the
second generation. Their statements take on a variety of
media including: multimedia installation art, painting,
sculpture, photography, graphic design, and needlepoint,
and address a variety of Holocaust-related themes.
Comprised of 63 works, the exhibition touches many issues
that remain critical to contemporary society, and
demonstrates that art can be a powerful vehicle not only for
personal expression, but also for increasing global
awareness and remembrance.
It is our intention with Witness and
Legacy to announce a contemporary
movement, the phenomenon of American
artists of various experimental perspectives,
using various strategies, working today to
bring the Holocaust into our cultural
dialogue. says Spencer.
Artists such as Judith Goldstein, Samuel
Bak, Kitty Klaidman and Netty Vanderpol
experienced the terror of the ghettos and
the death camps. Their art is somewhere
between visual memoir and metaphoric
memory. Coming to the United States as
children just before the war, first generation
survivor artists such as Gabrielle Rossmer
and Gerda Meyer-Bernstein carry with them
some of the burdens and trauma from their
parents ordeals. For many members of the
second generation, art and literature are
mediums for expressing their special
relationship to the Holocaust and to their
As the twentieth century closes, there is more and more of a burden and an increasing urgency to tell the story. The generation of
witnesses is passing. All that will be left is the legacy. Within the realm of art, that Holocaust era may just be emerging. Witness
and Legacy marks the beginning process of investigating the Holocaust, offering vital lessons in memory and mortality for future
generations, and offers the hope that human passion and creativity can help stave off horrific repetitions of history.
The Regis Foundation supports the national tour of this exhibition, and its accompanying catalogue. The Frye Art Museum is the
final venue for Witness and Legacy which has toured nationally for seven years.