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Witness and Legacy: Contemporary Art about the Holocaust

Frye Art Museum, Seattle
Oct 6 , 2001 - Jan 13, 2002


Gabrielle Rossmer, In Search of Lost Objects: Reverents (1991),
cotton, burlap and glue

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Witness and Legacy began touring nationally several years ago and will have its final viewing at The Frye Art Museum beginning in October.

Curated by Historian Stephen Feinstein and Minnesota Museum of American Art curator Paul Spencer, the exhibition includes 63 works by 23 American artists. Some of the artists are survivors of the Holocaust, other are second generation or children of survivors, and some are empathizers whose art has been influenced by the pain and suffering of the Holocaust. Edith Altman explores the swastika as a 2000-year-old symbol dating back to India. Her installation piece titled Reclaiming the Symbol; The Art of Memory attempts to take the blackness out of this symbol and erase Hitler's influence.

The painting by Jerome Witkin, titled, The Beating Station 1933, depicts a scene from the beginning of Nazi terror where people on the streets would be beaten without protection by the law.

Art Spiegleman reconstructs stories of the Holocaust with cartoon animals. The stories were told to him by his surviving parents. He also addresses the problems that he has faced as a Jew assimilating into society.

These works bring the subject of the Holocaust into today's cultural dialogue. The artists provoke the raw emotions that surround this horrific event, to educate, stir compassion, and transmit the memories of one of the darkest events in human history.

© Allyn Cantor