web analytics
October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » Sections » Arts »

Portraits Of Remembrance: Paintings By Diana Kurz

Brothers (1999) 86 x 50, oil on linen and paper by Diana Kurz
Courtesy the artist

Brothers (1999) 86 x 50, oil on linen and paper by Diana Kurz Courtesy the artist

Three (1992-1994) 98 x 77 oil on linen by Diana Kurz
Courtesy the artist

Another much smaller image of Zora depicts her as an even younger infant sitting up for her portrait while the caption that frames her along the edges tells us she was born in 1939 and was “hidden in a hospital in Belgrade …was discovered and murdered by the Nazis.”

Another very large painting (98” x 77”), Three, pursues the same testimonial motif, here utilizing a photograph of a father and his two young children taken in the 1930’s. The children were forced to wear the yellow star but the wounded veteran, proudly wearing his WWI medals, was exempt under the anti-Semitic Nuremberg laws. Eventually even these exemptions were abolished and all Jews faced deportation and death camps. Kurz’s stark portrait of absolute strangers dramatically bridges the familial gap and imposes upon us an intimacy and empathy seldom achieved in Holocaust art. They become our family because they are more than our People; they are a family we could have known all too well. A patriotic father who fought and suffered for his country, is simply trying to raise two children in as much normalcy as abnormal times might permit. And perhaps most horrifying, we know with almost certainty the fate that they could never have guessed.

Dorrit and Michael Kurz (1990) 53 x 64 oil on linen by Diana Kurz
Courtesy the artist

In Dorrit and Michael Kurz (1990) the artist again focuses on her own family. By now we recognize Michael, here with his older daughter Dorrit posing in a somewhat more formal portrait against a railing and a village view out the window. Kurz’s painting style is matter-of-fact and disarmingly simple. Dorrit’s deep blue dress contrasts with her father’s grey suit just as her pretty red bow echoes his red hair. She stares pensively into the distance while he confidently confronts the camera. Their future seems to stretch endlessly before them. And yet the blank wall that formed the perfect backdrop now allows for the text’s bitter history: “Michael Kurz and Dorit deported in the 1940’s from Yugoslavia to an unknown destination. They were never heard of again.”

Diana Kurz’s most powerful works in this series demands that we take notice of the devastating “normalcy” that pervades these images. It is perhaps this aspect of normalcy of each and every victim of Nazi terror than galvanizes our emotions to reach back through time and reconnect with these victims. The same emotions were summoned for me in the aftermath of a distinctly different tragedy. The New York Times from September 14, 2001 until the end of that year profiled 1,910 victims of the 9/11 attacks in a series called “Portraits of Grief.” The overwhelming sense I got from reading them and the theme that time and time again would tear out my heart was the overwhelming decency and normalcy of these innocents. It is this insight that makes Kurz’s work so riveting. By depicting the all-too-soon to be victims as simply normal individuals, the horror of the genocide against the Jews is fully revealed. We were not persecuted and murdered because of any crime, any characteristic or any trait that could be discerned. No, it was only as Jews, and here as Jews in the abstract, that the Nazis decreed death to us, our families, our people. It is the very normalcy of the victims that makes this crime so egregious. This is Kurz’s crucible that she exploits so well.

(The artist can be reached at dkur@earthlink.net)

About the Author: Richard McBee is a painter and writer on Jewish Art. Contact him at rmcbee@nyc.rr.com


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Portraits Of Remembrance: Paintings By Diana Kurz”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Which glass has the poison?
State Dept. Complains New Homes in Jerusalem ‘Poison’ US Peace Plan
Latest Sections Stories
Israeli winery

“You want to know what this wine looked like, which wine King David drank, white or red…. We can see if it’s red or white, strong or weak.”

Mindy-092614-Choc-Roll

I should be pursuing plateaus of pure and holy, but I’m busy delving and developing palatable palates instead.

Schonfeld-logo1

Brown argues that this wholehearted living must extend into our parenting.

If we truly honor the other participants in a conversation, we can support, empathize with, and even celebrate their feelings.

I witnessed the true strength of Am Yisrael during those few days.

She writes intuitively, freely, and only afterwards understands the meaning of what she has written.

“I knew it was a great idea, a win-win situation for everyone,” said Burstein.

Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.

“I would really love my mother-in-law …if she weren’t my mother-in-law.”

For each weekly reading, Rabbi Grysman begins with a synopsis of the Torah portion, followed by a focus on a major issue.

It’s Rosh Hashanah. A new year. Time for a fresh start. Time for a new slate. Time for change.

Governor Rick Scott visited North Miami Beach/Aventura on the morning of Wednesday, September 17.

While the cost per student is higher than mainstream schools, Metzuyan Academy ESE is a priceless educational opportunity for children with special needs in South Florida.

Challah-pa-looza helped get the community ready and excited about the upcoming Jewish New Year.

More Articles from Richard McBee
Jerusalem to Jericho Road: photograph by Chanan Getraide
“Chanan Getraide Photographs”: 2004 exhibition at Hebrew Union College Museum

“We are living in a Golden Age of Jewish Art, but don’t know it.”

McBee-062014-Outside

He refuses to flinch from our painful history, perhaps finding a kind of solace in the consistency of irrational enmity directed against us.

“Vidduy: The Musical” breaks through the formidable barrier of repetitive confession to allow us to begin to understand what is at the heart of this fundamental religious act.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Silverstein’s work has long concerned itself with the intersection between the personal and Jewish Biblical narrative, significantly explored in this column in “Brighton Beach Bible” (July 27, 2009).

Not surprisingly the guardians of synagogue tradition is male dominated in both Moses Abraham, Cantor and Mohel and Synagogue Lamp Lighters.

Neither helpless victims nor able to escape the killer’s clutches, the leaders had to make impossible choices on a daily basis in a never-ending dance with the devil.

Bradford has opted to fully exploit the diverse possibilities of the physical surface by concentrating on the three-dimensional application of paint (impasto) and other material.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/arts/portraits-of-remembrance-paintings-by-diana-kurz/2012/08/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: