web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Andy Warhol’

The Adventure of a Jewish Photographer: Miriam M?rsel Nathan’s Photo-Paintings

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

“Miriam M?rsel Nathan: Memory of a time I did not know…”

Curated by Steven Cushner

Through Dec. 17, 2010

Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery, Washington D.C. JCC

1529 16th Street, NW, Washington, D.C.

http://www.washingtondcjcc.org/center-for-arts/gallery/

 

 

In Italo Calvino’s short story “The Adventure of a Photographer,” part of his collection Difficult Loves (1985), the “non-photographer” and bachelor Antonino Paraggi, finds himself increasingly alienated from his married friends who go out with their families and cameras each Sunday and “come back as happy as hunters with bulging game bags,” their photographic catch of the day.

 

A philosopher by “mental attitude,” Paraggi loves discussing current events with his peers. He has no particular anemic reaction to the here and the now, but he annoys his more sentimental friends by insisting that photographing events-particularly when those photographs are staged-inevitably sacrifices the true present for the possibility of enjoying the photographs in the future.

 

Paraggi notes that photographing children is one of a parents’ first instincts. “Given the speed of growth, it becomes necessary to photograph the child often, because nothing is more fleeting and unmemorable than a six-month-old infant, soon deleted and replaced by one of eight months, and then one of a year; and all the perfection that, to the eyes of parents, a child of three may have reached cannot prevent its being destroyed by that of the four-year-old,” Calvino observes. “The photograph album remains the only place where all these fleeting perfections are saved and juxtaposed, each aspiring to an incomparable absoluteness of its own.”

 

This is precisely what confounds Paraggi, who cannot realize that his bachelorhood places him in far graver danger of being forgotten than his married peers playing the amateur photographer capturing their children.

 

Eventually, Paraggi takes the photographic plunge, but he decides his craft must represent a throwback. He scavenges for an old camera (the kind with a bulb to squeeze) and accessories in flea markets and other “cemeteries of objects no longer serviceable” and manages to create an anachronistic studio, where he photographs a particular model, who becomes his wife. In the end, Paraggi can find just one photographic project that is not contrived and staged-photographing a pile of torn-up staged photographs, a deconstructionist composition if there ever was one.

 

 

Portrait of Miriam M?rsel Nathan by David Nathan

 

Since photography was popularized in the early 19th century, it has had many opponents who, like Paraggi, have viewed it as a destructive medium. Several chassidic masters were rumored to have shunned having their pictures taken for fear of violating the Second Commandment, and there are Muslims today who make faces when posing for their driver’s licenses for similar reasons. But Jewish artist Miriam M?rsel Nathan, whose work is on exhibit at the Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery in Washington, starts from the opposite premise.

 

Where Calvino was troubled by photography’s artificial response to life and prescribed destructive photography to overcome that design problem, M?rsel Nathan’s project starts with a single posed photograph of her aunt Greta and tries to create Greta’s world.

 

 

Miriam M?rsel Nathan. “Greta in green.” 30″ x 22″ monotype. 2008

 

 

M?rsel Nathan, a former director of the Washington Jewish Film Festival, created all the works in the Bronfman Gallery exhibition based on a series of pre-World War II family photographs she found in a small box.  She has been fascinated by these pictures her entire life. “I have become an interpreter of these images, piecing together a story of people who look like me and my children and my grandchildren,” she says.

 

Making monotype prints of a photograph of her aunt Greta, M?rsel Nathan realized she had no idea what color dress her aunt was wearing in the black-and-white picture. “In fact, I didn’t know what colors she liked-a detail that points to a much larger issue, which is that I don’t know much about my aunt at all,” she says.

 

In a series of screen prints of the photograph-each of which includes a different colored dress-M?rsel Nathan imagines the content of the image in a manner reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s series on Marilyn Monroe, self-portraits and Campbell’s soup cans.

 

“The series of screen prints is of the same dress but in many different colors, as if to say to my aunt Greta-which of these do you like?” she says.

 

 

Miriam M?rsel Nathan. “Which One?” 15″ x 11

Are the Jews Good for Andy Warhol?

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews?

Written and performed by Josh Kornbluth

Directed by David Dower

http://www.theaterj.org

 

 

Andy Warhol: 10 Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century in Retrospect

Through May 2

Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery

http://washingtondcjcc.org/center-for-arts/gallery/

 

The joke about “old and tribal” Jews, who are always pathologically wondering if everything is good for the Jews, goes that when they see a new lint filter on the dryer, they want to know if the new mechanism is good for the Jews. So says Josh Kornbluth in his one-man performance “Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews?”

 

Although one understands the absurdity that Kornbluth is mocking, there is actually something a little inspiring about a worldview in which every seemingly ordinary object can carry vast spiritual implications. Whether the dryer – through some religious chaos theory – holds the Jewish fate in its lint filter, Kornbluth devotes his performance to the question of whether Warhol is good for the Jews, a question of which he is initially quite skeptical.

 

The Contemporary Jewish Museum of San Francisco commissioned Kornbluth to create a monologue about Warhol’s 1980 series, “Ten Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century,” which depicts Sarah Bernhardt, Louis Brandeis, Martin Buber, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, George Gershwin, Franz Kafka, the Marx Brothers, Golda Meir and Gertrude Stein. Though he says he felt he should be the target audience for an exhibit at the Contemporary Jewish Museum – “I’m Jewish and I live now, it should be just for me!” – Kornbluth, who was not a practicing Jew at the time, grew frustrated with and offended by the banner announcing the CJM show: “Warhol’s Jews.”

 

Andy Warhol. “Albert Einstein” from Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century, 1980. Screen Print on Lenox Museum Board, 40 x 32 inches. Photo courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York / feldmangallery.com and

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/arts/are-the-jews-good-for-andy-warhol/2010/04/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: