Segal Gallery Launches "Israel Bernbaum Painting His Story" Exhibit Commemorating 70th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising -- Opening February 26

Showcasing work by the celebrated Holocaust survivor and artist, exhibit is the centerpiece of campus-wide events featuring Holocaust scholars, artists and authors

 

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising, the award-winning George Segal Gallery will host an exhibit of paintings and drawings by celebrated Warsaw-born Holocaust survivor and artist, Israel Bernbaum, titled Israel Bernbaum Painting His Story, from February 26 through April 21, 2013.

The extensive collection -- which includes murals and drawings, as well as original copies of Bernbaum’s correspondences with political figures and other historic and personal artifacts -- was a gift to the university from the Holocaust Resource Center of the Jewish Federation of Greater Clifton-Passaic (NJ), which Bernbaum designated as the recipient of his work upon his death in 1993. When the Center closed in 2011, Montclair State University became the new custodian and undertook the significant, multi-year restoration and conservation project that will preserve Bernbaum’s work for posterity. 

Guest curated by Dr. Batya Brutin, Director of Holocaust Studies and the Israeli Society Program at Beit Berl Academic College, Israel, the exhibit is the centerpiece of a multi-disciplinary campus-wide series of commemorative events, and presents Bernbaum’s newly preserved work for the first time. Dr. Brutin will give two public lectures about Bernbaum’s work and the art of the Holocaust (complete listing below).

“Israel Bernbaum’s detailed depictions of the harsh realities of life in the Warsaw Ghetto serve as a reminder of those gruesome events and furthers the artist’s personal commitment to educate humanity about this dark chapter of world history,” explained Dr. Brutin. “With his naïve, almost cartoon-like style, Bernbaum’s remarkable ability to intersperse symbolism with graphic images makes the presentation of unfathomable and horrific themes accessible and palpable – even to young people, who were his target audience. His legacy will continue to have a profound impact for generations to come.”

The artist’s intricate and brightly colored murals were created between 1981 and 1992, after Bernbaum immigrated to the United States. The materials document the destruction of the Ghetto based on his in-depth personal research, historical records, first-hand accounts from witnesses and photographic images taken by the Nazis.

Bernbaum’s work was used to illustrate several children’s books, including the award-winning I am a Star: Child of the Holocaust by Inge Auerbacher (who will be a guest lecturer, see below for details) and his own work, My Brother’s Keeper: The Holocaust Through the Eyes of an Artist, which he dedicated to the memory of the 1.5 million Jewish children who did not survive the Holocaust. In addition to being well received in the United States, Bernbaum’s book was published in Germany, where it received the 1990 Award for Young People’s Literature, West German Republic. The book also became the focus of a German traveling exhibition. Bernbaum’s ultimate message was – and continues to be – for children and all people to understand the Holocaust and to never forget that they are their “brother’s keepers.” In keeping with Bernbaum’s orientation towards educating children about the Holocaust, there will be programs for school children.

Director of the George Segal Gallery, M. Teresa Rodriguez, said she is delighted by the tremendous interest and support that the exhibit and collaborative programs are receiving from the Jewish community -- in New Jersey, across the U.S. and the world. “While the subject matter is deeply disturbing, there is also incredible beauty in Bernbaum’s art, which draws people together and reminds us of our collective ability to heal,” she said. “Montclair State University is deeply honored to be the new stewards of Bernbaum’s work and affects, and we’re committed to carrying the torch for him, his family, and the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto.”

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Schedule of Related Events

Gallery Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.,
 Thursday: 11:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m., Monday and Saturday: Closed*

*The George Segal Gallery, for the duration of this exhibition only, will be closed Saturdays and open on Sundays to accommodate patrons who observe Saturday Sabbath.
 

February
Wednesday, February 20, 2:30p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
Film screening:  A Film Unfinished
Introduction by Alexios Lykidis, English Department
Brantl Lecture Hall, Dickson Hall

Tuesday, February 26, 10 a.m. – noon
Lecture: The Aesthetics of Israel Bernbaum's Murals
Batya Brutin, Director of Holocaust Studies and the Israeli Society Program, Beit Berl Academic College, Israel
George Segal Gallery
Free with Montclair State ID card; $30 for non-student, includes catalog
To register, call: George Segal Gallery at 973-655-6941

Wednesday, February 27, 10 am – noon
Lecture: In The Artist's Eyes: Art of the Holocaust
Batya Brutin, Director of Holocaust Studies and the Israeli Society Program, Beit Berl Academic College, Israel
Free with Montclair State ID card; $30 for non-student, includes catalog
George Segal Gallery
To register, call: George Segal Gallery at 973-655-6941

March
Friday March 1, 10 a.m. - noon
Lecture: I am a Star: Child of the Holocaust
Inge Auerbacher, author; book illustrations by Israel Bernbaum
Free with Montclair State ID card; $30 for non-student, includes catalog
George Segal Gallery
To register, call: George Segal Gallery at 973-655-6941

Tuesday, March 19, 2:30 p.m.- 4 p.m.
Lecture: Not Like Sheep to the Slaughter: The Range of Resistance to the Holocaust
Rabbi Norman Patz, Philosophy and Religion Department
Cohen Lounge, Dickson Hall

Wednesday March 20, 2:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
Film Screening: Chronicle of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising According to Marek Edelman
Introduction by Ben Lapp, History Department
Brantl Lecture Hall, Dickson Hall

Thursday March 21, 2013 6 p.m. – 7:30 pm
Lecture: We Knew…and Did Nothing: The American Press Covers the Holocaust, 1941-1945
Ron Hollander, English and Journalism Department, Director, Jewish American Studies
George Segal Gallery

April
Tuesday, April 9, 7 p.m.- 9 p.m.
Holocaust Remembrance, Student Competition and Conference
Lecture: The Warsaw Ghetto: History and Memory 70 years later
Samuel Kassow, Trinity College, author Who Will Write Our History?: Emanuel Ringelblum, the Warsaw Ghetto, and the Oyneg Shabes Archive
University Hall Room 1060

Wednesday April 17, 2013 2:30pm – 5:15pm
Film screening: The Pianist
Introduction by Arthur Simon, English Department
Brantl Lecture Hall, Dickson Hall

Friday April 26, 2013 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Lecture: "I Never Saw Another Butterfly”: Music Out of the Holocaust

David Witten, Cali School of Music

Life Hall Room 123

Ongoing exhibit at the Harry N. Sprague Library

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Presented by the George Segal Gallery, College of the Arts, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Global Education Center, Harry N. Sprague Library, and Jewish American Studies.

Sponsored by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, John McMullen family Foundation, proceeds from the George Segal Gallery's Art Connections 8, Teddi and Scott Dolph, and the Holocaust Council of Greater MetroWest. Some events made possible in part by funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

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