American Jewish Museum
Dina Kantor: Finnish and Jewish
October 14–December 27, 2013
Fine Perlow Weis Gallery
New York based photographer Dina Kantor explores the relationship between photography and the representation of individual identity and collective community. As the exhibition title suggests, Kantor is both Finnish and Jewish. Raised in Minnesota, Kantor was lured to Finland in 2006 to connect to an unknown aspect of her heritage and to explore what contemporary Jewishness might be like in the remote Nordic region.
In a nation of only 5.3 million people with just two Jewish synagogues, Kantor employs portrait photography to consider an important issue as we become increasingly multicultural: “How do 1,500 Jews maintain cultural identity?” While this question may be specific to Finland’s Jews, it is also a global issue as highly individualized ideas about observance, practice and meaning are supplanting the need for affiliation and formal associations.
Opening reception, circus performance and silent auction Saturday, January 11, 2014 ∙ 6–8pm
Zany Umbrella Circus performance Saturday, January 11, 2014 ∙ 7:15–8pm
The Circus of Life: Work by Susan Winicour (1939-2013) includes key paintings and works on paper representing Winicour’s prolific output and focuses on work that while lively, depicts the pathos of the complexities of human interactions and relationships. The figures in her work often convey a paradoxical sense of enjoyment and detachment. They cavort, entertain, and perform with theatricality for audiences as well as for one another. Yet, many of her compositions possess edgy qualities that hint toward tension and unease. With virtuosic skill, Winicour mines a wide variety of influences from German Expressionism to ordinary visual vernacular.
Work by Susan Winicour will be for sale in a silent auction during the opening reception and for the exhibit’s duration. Additional work can be purchased at winicour.com. Ms. Winicour’s family is generously donating sale proceeds to the AJM.
Visit Winicour.com to see more of the artist’s work.
Ben Sota, creator of Pittsburgh’s famed Zany Umbrella Circus, will perform a piece inspired by Winicour’s work at the opening reception. Bringing Winicour’s imagery to life, Sota’s show uses circus, theatre, and puppetry, and is appropriate for people of all ages. Extraordinary and intrepid in their approach to the circus, the Zany Umbrella Circus awes and delights; entertainer Wavy Gravy sums them up candidly: “His [Ben Sota, of the Zany Umbrella Circus] performances on the Trapeze and Spanish Web are so imaginative and breathtaking they must be seen to be believed.” A successful troupe with international acclaim, the Zany Umbrella Circus conducted a circus performance in 2005 at the White House Congressional Picnic. For more information visit zanyumbrellacircus.com
Light Your Spark tours for people with memory loss and their care partners are available the third Thursday of every month from 1:30–2:30 pm or by special arrangement.
Docent tours are available for small or large groups.
Events are free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required.
Call 412.521.8011, ext. 105, for more information.
Supporters/funders to date for The Circus of Life: Work by Susan Winicour include: Zivi Aviraz, Sara and Ahmie Baum, Joan Downing, Myra and Fred Feldman, Leslie Golomb and Ronald Hartman, Adrienne and Ted Heinrich, Alice and Norman Jaffe, Jane and Bud Kahn, Judy Koppel, Lisa Laskow, Helen Naimark, Ellen Chisdes Neuberg, Susan Pollins, Huvvy and Meyer Simon, Karen Vanderven, and Edris and David Weis. Major funding for the American Jewish Museum is provided by the Allegheny Regional Asset Board, the Anna L. Caplan & Irene V. Caplan Fund of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, the Robert C. and Gene B. Dickman Fund, Ira and Nanette Gordon Curator Enrichment Fund, Edward N. and Jane Haskell Endowment Creative Projects Fund, the Nancy Bernstein and Robert Schoen Endowment Fund, Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts, and individual support. Light Your Spark support is provided by The Hyman Family Foundation.
January 27–April 25, 2014
Micaela Amateau Amato: Cante Jondo for Tikkun Olam
THE ANNA L. AND IRENE V. CAPLAN EXHIBIT
Fine Perlow Weis Gallery ∙ Kaufmann Building
Micaela Amateau Amato's glass sculptures, neon installations and work on paper synthesizes her Sephardic history with significant historical and societal issues including identity, ethnicity, migration and cultural hybridity.
An artist with multiple origins, she adeptly infuses diverse visual traditions into the form and content of her works. Moroccan Cousin, for example (pictured) is made of glass; for Amato this medium summons similarities to ancient Mediterranean mosaics to which she feels connected. Further, as explained by art historian Robert Mattison, Moroccan Cousin's characteristics and form resemble third century Faiyum (mummy) portraits that were attached to Egyptian mummies to cover their faces. For Amato, these images conjure family resemblance and sentiments of familiarity. Although imbued with deeply personal referents, Amato examines tolerance, prejudice, and coexistence, making her work coalesce the personal with universal issues. Amato describes her work poignantly: "A metaphor for convivencia, a cultural collaboration of diverse religions and ethnicities in Spain before the Inquisition, my cross-media work celebrates hybridity and calls for a reconciliation of Moslems, Jews, Christians and all other religions in the 21st century."
Evoking Amato's longing for the repair of cultural dissonance the exhibition title synchronizes her Spanish and Jewish heritage. A mournful form of Flamenco music communicating yearning for the release from the pain of everyday life, Conte Jondo, which means deep song, stems from Sephardic, Muslim and Gypsy origins. Amato summons Tikkun Olam for consideration of repairing broken links between cultures.
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