From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT]borderstan.com and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.
A multi-year collaboration between photographer Chris Schwarz and scholar Jonathan Weber, the exhibition “Traces of Memory: A Contemporary Look at the Jewish Past in Poland” offers a new way of understanding a vibrant and extensive history left in ruins. The exhibition runs through May 21 at the D.C. Jewish Community Center’s Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery, 16th and Q NW.
In the decades following the Holocaust, images of its atrocities in Poland, most notably Auschwitz, overshadowed the rich Jewish history that began more than 800 years before the Nazis invaded Poland.
“Traces” provides a photographic response to the most infamous images to come out of Poland: those of death, destruction, and supreme evil. Schwarz and Weber make the case that, in order to fully understand what was lost in the past, we must confront it and compare it with what is left today.
As such, the exhibition feels less like art and more like history. Schwarz’s style of photography is journalistic and, because the subjects are all modern-day, the visuals provide little chronology or direction. It is Weber’s narration that gives the exhibit a sense of movement and a clear emotional arc. Weber provides context to a photograph of a ruined temple or anti-Semitic graffiti that mars a memorial — his narration gives us a fuller picture of the Jewish legacy in Poland than one image ever could.
That isn’t to say Schwarz’s photographs fall short — actually, they are stunning in both senses of the word. The contemporary nature of the images gives the exhibition gravity. While black-and-white historical photographs of atrocities might allow us to remove ourselves from the violence, images of the modern-day sites where these acts took place are somehow harder to ignore.
One memorable photograph shows Auschwitz’s barracks stretching to the horizon, where a very modern skyline awaits. Another image shows an idyllic pastoral landscape — perfect for a summer picnic — yet marred with a sign in the foreground bearing the bloody sword that denotes the site of a mass murder. I bet it didn’t look all that different back then, on that day, one thinks.
“Traces” fully transports the viewer away from Borderstan, making it an unusual exhibition to feature in this hyper-local blog. But the collaboration succeeds because it forces us to acknowledge the nearness of the Holocaust to our modern lives: how it happened in unassuming places, and how it caught most by surprise.
“Traces of Memory: A Contemporary Look at the Jewish Past in Poland” is showing at the Jewish Community Center’s Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery at 1525 16th (at Q Street) Street until May 21.
- What: “Traces of Memory” photography exhibition.
- When: Opening reception, Yom Hashoah, April 19, 6 to 8 pm. Event and exhibition are free. Presentation at 7 pm. Exhibition runs to May 21.
- Where: Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery, Washington DC Jewish Community Center, 16th and Q Streets NW.
- More Information: Alissa Perman at alissap[AT]washingtondcjcc.org or 202-777-3260.
Featured image: Tablets at the remains of a synagogue in Polish Galicia (courtesy of Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery).
To mark Yom Hashoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day – the legacy of those lost will be remembered in a photographic exhibition, “Traces of Memory,” at the DC Jewish Community Center’s Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery.
The exhibition pieces together the relics of Jewish life and culture in Polish Galicia, a region in Eastern Europe that straddles present-day Poland and Ukraine. It is designed to give visitors a brief glimpse into history — and to provoke them to reflect on the how and why of this lost community, according to the Bronfman Gallery.
Over a period of 12 years, the late British photojournalist Chris Schwarz and professor Jonathan Weber, UNESCO Chair of Jewish and Interfaith Studies, University of Birmingham, England, worked together to gather photos and texts that offer a completely new way of looking at the Jewish past that was destroyed in Poland.
Dzielski will join Shana Penn, executive director of the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture, Jakub Nowakowski, director of the Galicia Jewish Museum, and Chuck Weiss, uncle of the late photojournalist Chris Schwarz in offering remarks in honor of the opening of the exhibition at 7 p.m during the April 19 opening
The exhibition is divided into five sections, corresponding to different approaches to the subject matter:
- Section one, “Jewish Life in Ruins”
- Section two, “Jewish Culture as it Once Was”
- Section three, “Sites of Massacre and Destruction”
- Section four, “How the Past is Being Remembered”
- Section five, “People Making Memory Today”
“Traces of Memory” is on loan from the Galicia Jewish Museum with support from the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture and is co-sponsored by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland.
It’s almost a full plate at the 11 galleries in the Borderstan area with 10 currently having exhibitions. Get the full list of local galleries in the U Street-Shaw-Logan area below, including details on what’s showing.
There is one opening reception this week. Head to the DC Jewish Community Center at 16th and Q Streets NW on Thursday, September 22, for a 6 pm reception: “One Foot In America: The Artwork of Eugeen Van Mieghem” opens at the Bronfman Gallery and runs to December 30.
A new exhibition space/gallery opened over the weekend, the harmon art lab or HAL. It’s located in the artist collective on the 2nd floor at 1716 14th Street NW. The collective is run by some familiar names in the MidCity Artist community — it is the creation of artists Peter e Harper and Thomas Drymon. (Look for a profile soon on Borderstan.) The exhibition, which opened last Saturday, is “Works by Randi Reiss-McCormack and Matt Hollis.”
New exhibitions opened just last weekend at the Adamson Gallery, Hamiltonian Gallery and transformer — full details below.
Get more details below on the 11 galleries in the Logan-Shaw-U Street area.
Adamson Gallery at 1515 14th Street NW
- “To the Ends of the Earth” runs to October 29.
- Overview: “Adamson Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of its Fall 2011 program with a group exhibition entitled “To the Ends of the Earth,” which explores the relationship between humans and the natural environment. The exhibition takes its title from the enormous lengths that photographers Camille Seaman, Robert Polidori, Edward Burtynsky, and Alfredo De Stéfano have gone to record the changing natural environment.” (Adamson Gallery)
- Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 11:30 am to 5 pm; Saturday, noon to 5 pm.
Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery, DC Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th Street NW
- “One Foot In America: The Artwork of Eugeen Van Mieghem” opens September 22 and runs to December 30.
- Opening Reception: Thursday, September 22, at 6 pm.
- Overview: “Belgian artist, Eugeen Van Mieghem (1875-1930) found inspiration in the men and women, many of them Jews, waiting at the Antwerp docks to board ships to take them to America. One Foot in America, opening September 22, features his works and creates a stunning visual record of those leaving behind one life as they search for a better life in a far away, unknown place.” (Bronfman Gallery)
- Gallery Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 10 am to 10 pm; and Friday, 10 am to 4 p.m.
Curator’s Office at 1515 14th Street NW
- “elsewhere” runs to October 22.
- Overview: “Curator’s Office announces the opening of its fall season with an exhibition of sculpture and new works on paper by New York, Los Angeles, and DC-based artists Joseph Dumbacher and John Dumbacher. The Dumbachers will also be debuting a public sculpture at their DC studio’s terrace one block from the gallery.” (Curator’s Office)
- Gallery Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 6 pm.
gallery plan b at 1530 14th Street NW
- “Paintings by Kevin H. Adams” runs to October 16.
- Overview: “A collection of recent work in his third solo show at plan b. Kevin creates welcoming, calming images that feel familiar. His paintings are timeless, earnest, and honest, and bring to mind places in which we’d love to linger indefinitely. This body of work shows an emphasis on architecture with landscape.” (gallery plan b)
- Gallery Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 7 pm; Sunday, 1 to 5 pm
Hamiltonian Gallery at 1353 U Street NW
- “New Works by Nora Howell and David Page” runs to October 29.
- Overview: “Through sculptural installation, video and photography Howell and Page have created new work driven by both their observations of society and their own personal histories concerning issues of identity, power systems, fear and safety. Differing in artistic tone and subject both artists delve into and explore the semiotics of identity infused in everyday exchanges.” (Hamiltonian Gallery)
- Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 6 pm.
harmon art lab, 1716 14th Street NW, 2nd Floor
- “Works by Randi Reiss-McCormack and Matt Hollis” runs to October 1.
- Overview: “Randi’s work has been shown on both coasts as well as in Europe. A prolific artist, an educator, a wife and mother of three, her work involves themes of domesticity mixed with patterns of pop culture and impressionistic vibrancy resulting in a subtle social commentary that embraces the viewer. Matt’s work evokes a deep sense of nature, transforming and enlarging it into an artificial realm that gives the viewer a new perspective on how life interacts with itself.” (harmon art lab)
- Gallery Hours: Call for an appointment; gallery staff is in the building Monday-Friday during business hours.
Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, 1632 U Street NW
- “Vessel” is part of The 9/11 Arts Project and runs through October 22.
- Overview: “The Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery will bring together local artists to create a place of “holding.” By combining abstract works to evoke a sacred space or vessel the gallery will serve as a safe space where open dialogue around the trauma of 9/11 and personal traumas may be addressed. Hence selected works will not be a re-telling of 9/11, but rather express an effort to move beyond and communicate that ‘healing is possible’ for everyone and that the arts are a powerful tool in that journey.” (Joan Hisaoka Gallery)
- Gallery Hours: Wednesday through Friday 11 am to 5 pm; Saturday, 11 am to 3 pm; and by appointment.
Lamont Bishop Gallery at 1314 9th Street NW
- Check back for upcoming exhibitions.
- Gallery Hours: Thursday through Saturday, 1 to 7 pm. Sundays by appointment only.
Long View Gallery at 1234 9th Street NW
- “Containment and Diversion” works by Thomas Burkett runs to October 2.
- Overview: Features “Approximately 15 mixed media works on paper by Washington-based artist Thomas Burkett. He explores topics headlining news stories around the country.” (Long View)
- Gallery Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 11 am to 6 pm; Sunday, noon to 5 pm.
Project 4 Gallery at 1353 U Street NW
- “New Work by Ellington Robinson” runs through October 15.
- Overview: “Project 4 is proud to open the 2011 fall season with a solo exhibition featuring new work by DC artist, Ellington Robinson.” (Project 4)
- Gallery Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 6 pm.
Transformer Gallery at 1404 P Street NW
- transformers: the next generation runs through October 22.
- Overview: transformers: the next generation “features new works by five recent graduates of the Corcoran College of Art + Design’s class of 2011: Forest Allread, Pavlos Karalis, Sarah Robbins, Aris Slater, and Victoria Shaheen.” (transformer)
- Gallery Hours: Check website.
There is one new exhibition opening this week at galleries in the neighborhood. On Wednesday, January 26, there is an opening reception from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the DC Jewish Community Center, 16th and Q Streets NW:
The Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery presents “What Was There To Be Seen,” an exhibition featuring Chicago-based artist Carolyn Bernstein’s “Yew Tree Project” and Portland-based artist Kindra Crick’s “Paradigm Shift: Bonds and Binds.”
“What Was There To Be Seen” is an exhibition that focuses on the complexity of science and human biology as seen through the eyes of artists Carolyn Bernstein and Kindra Crick. Each featured artist uses different techniques while employing scientific and medical imagery to convey emotions, experiences, fantasies and fears. The exhibition at the Bronfman Gallery runs through April 24.
Find out what’s showing at 11 galleries in the Logan-Shaw-U Street area below the fold.
Two exhibits close this weekend in the neighborhood:
- Miriam Morsel Nathan: Memory of a time I did not know… at the Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery, DC Jewish Community Center. Final day is Friday, December 17.
- Shepard Fairey, Jose Farla, Swoon, Romon Yang (Rostarr), “Street/Studio 2.0” at Irvine Contemporary. Closes Saturday, December 18.
Another exhibit closes Wednesday, December 22: Yultide at Project 4 Gallery on U Street.
Project 4 says that “Yuletide marks the 1st year-end art festival at Project 4 Gallery. It features a selection of small works by artists who frequently collaborate with Project 4. All works of art are priced under $1,000. This exhibition is an opportunity to find unique and affordable works of art during the gift-giving season ranging in price from $10 to $1,000.”
Yuletide considers and presents art of all media including recycled glass, LP records transformed, drawings, watercolors, ceramics, wood sculpture, and more. Featured artists include Margaret Boozer, Beau Chamberlain, Justin Gibbens, Kate Hardy, Tricia Keightley, Laurel Lukaszewski, Thomas Müller, Foon V. Sham, Erwin Timmers, and Paul Villinski.
Listings for exhibitions at 10 galleries in the Logan-Shaw-U Street area are below.