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The POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews Reclaims Jewish Memory

Photo: W. Kryński. Courtesy of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
 Photo: W. Kryński. Courtesy of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
I attended the October 2014 opening of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. The new museum is a work of genius from every aspect—conceptually, architecturally, programmatically, and intellectually.

The POLIN Museum stands across from and in dialogue with the monument to the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 during World War II. Both are sited in what used to be the Warsaw Ghetto, where the Jewish resistance opposed Nazi Germany’s command to transport the remaining population to the Treblinka extermination camp.

Happy Fangs on their Name, Influences, and Instasongs

Happy Fangs by JenOf CalibreePhotography

Local band Happy Fangs plays Night at the Jewseum on Thursday, November 18.

How would you describe Happy Fangs’ music?
Our music sounds like Black Sabbath and Bikini Kill got in a pillow fight.

Where does your band name come from?
The band was formed by a guitarist whose legal last name is Cobra and a singer who is notoriously giddy. Sometimes bands name themselves. 

Artist Jeremy Fish on Climbing Inside J. Otto Seibold’s World

Hand drawn sketch by J. Otto Seibold. Photo by Jeremy Fish
Hand drawn sketch by J. Otto Seibold. Photo by Jeremy Fish
I discovered J. Otto Seibold's artwork many years ago through a holiday store display using his character Olive The Reindeer. At the time I was just out of art school with a degree from a strictly "fine arts" institution. I was struggling with what I wanted to do with my artwork. Illustration vs. painting. . . art galleries vs. commercial artwork. . . The idea that this artist's reindeer he created was making SO many more people, including myself, happy all over this big department store as opposed to being on the wall someplace in a gallery, or even in a children's book. I found it deeply inspiring that his drawings could translate onto many platforms, and affect a much larger audience. Technically, I felt his illustrations were very ahead of their time. A digital illustrator who was obviously using a computer to generate his art, but somehow kept the drawings very loose, organic, and gestural. This seemed very progressive to me then and now.

Professor Nathaniel Deutsch on the practice of Havruta

On October 23, 2014, Nathaniel Deutsch, professor of literature and history and co-director of the Center for Jewish Studies at UC Santa Cruz introduces the practice of havruta.

I would like to start by pointing out how ironic it is to be presenting the topic of Hevruta or Hevrusa (the traditional Ashkenazi way of pronouncing the word) in the form of a lecture. Me standing in front of you; talking at you, as it were. Why it’s ironic should hopefully become clear in the next few minutes and is the subject of my remarks tonight.

Photographer Vince Donovan on Fellow Photographer Arnold Newman

Arnold Newman, Igor Stravinsky, composer and conductor, New York, 1946. 
Gelatin silver print © 1946, 17 15/16 x 21 1/16 in. Arnold Newman/Getty Images. 

In conjunction with Arnold Newman: Masterclass, The CJM offers insightful chats in the gallery with leading photographers and artists that highlight aspects of craft, creation, and Newman’s influence on modern photography.

San Francisco-based portrait photographer Vince Donovan is the co-founder of Photobooth,  a studio and gallery that specialized in hand-crafted photographic techniques including wet plate collodion (‘tintype’), traditional silver gelatin, and Polaroid. He is currently working on Little Cities, a life-long portrait project involving non-profits and communities of faith throughout the Bay Area. Vince answered some of our questions about Arnold Newman.

1. What about Arnold Newman’s work has been most influential to your own creative practice?  

What interests me a great deal is that, like August Sander (another of my heroes), Arnold Newman was a day-in, day-out, professional photographer. Portraiture was his job and he worked hard at it. It seems to me that the daily flow of work and the technical mastery that came from thousands of exposures freed him creatively. He knew what he could do, he did it all day long, and he never stopped pushing himself to do it better.