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Showing posts from August, 2016

“A Gentile’s House”: Lolita and the Holocaust

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Along with stories of illicit sex and human derangement, Stanley Kubrick and Vladimir Nabokov both dreamed of making art about the Holocaust.

Nabokov, a three-time refugee from totalitarian governments, famously rejected literature bearing social messages. Yet at the end of his seventh decade, he vowed to his first biographer that he would one day tackle Nazi terror. “I will go to those German camps and look at those places and write a terrible indictment.”1 Decades later Kubrick made real progress toward his goal: he drafted a script, cast lead actors, and scouted a location in the Czech Republic for a film with the working title Aryan Papers. Yet neither man would complete his project.

Lolita, their only collaboration, somehow survived the censors, despite a plot centered on a professor’s cross-country travel and multi-year sexual abuse of his stepdaughter. While the subject of the movie stands at some distance from genocide, Nabokov’s 1955 novel and Kubrick’s 1962 film each play with…

A Conversation with Kota Ezawa

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A couple months ago, The CJM Assistant Curator Pierre-François Galpin visited artist Kota Ezawa in his Oakland studio and talked about his next project at The Contemporary Jewish Museum, part of the In That Case: Havruta in Contemporary Art ongoing series. Then a work in progress, the three-channel video Much Ado About Nothing is a collaboration between Ezawa and contemporary dancer James Kirby Rogers, San Francisco-native and now part of the Kansas City Ballet. The installation opened to the public on July 28, 2016 and will be on view through July 2, 2017.
Pierre-François Galpin (PFG): The Havruta project re-interprets the Jewish tradition of dialogue and etymologically means friendship. Could you tell me a little about your relationship with James [Kirby Rogers] and describe how the video shoot went in January?
Kota Ezawa (KE): James and I lived in the same neighborhood in San Francisco for a number of years. His mother and I are colleagues, teaching at California College of the Arts.…