Tamar Hirschl: Cultural Alarm

On View through January 30, 2007

Opening Reception: September 19, 2006, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum
One West 4th Street (between Broadway and Mercer Street), Manhattan

Tamar Hirschl: Cultural Alarm, a fine art installation, awakens viewers to the dangers of human and environmental destruction. Hirschl's artwork draws on her personal memories of war and displacement in Croatia and Israel. It conveys a universal warning challenging the viewer to acknowledge the unnatural separation of cultures, religions and societies that exists in the modern world. As well as illuminates the destructive effect that man's "progress" has had on the animal kingdom, the natural world, and humanity itself.

Employing diverse techniques, materials and applications, Hirschl explores complex of emotional subjects. She substitutes vast surfaces of unframed vinyl for traditional stretched canvas, and expands the images so that these contemporary murals take on the scale of public billboards.

"Cultural Alarm grapples with the troubling idea that we, humankind, have become inured to tinkering with the balance of nature," notes Laura Kruger, Curator. "The unimaginable scope and horror of the events that invest these works, the Holocaust, the World Trade Center attack, the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster, demand absolute attention on a grand scale."

The large-scale, mixed media murals include Cultural Alarm, Mementos III, Protest, Deer Watch, and Trauma set on vinyl and paper. Civilization is an ongoing series of sculptures cast in acrylic resin and set in Plexiglass aquariums. In Flight I and In Flight II are a series of smaller collages on paper.

"Through her art, Tamar Hirschl reminds us that the chain of memory and humanistic values compel us to struggle for universal freedom, tolerance, justice, and human rights, says Jean Bloch Rosensaft, Director. "Her works speak to all who would help create a better world."

Tamar Hirschl began drawing during her childhood in Zagreb, Croatia. After witnessing the horrors of the Holocaust in a Nazi detention camp in Hungary and later moving to Israel during its struggle for independence, she maintained a focus on her artistic talents. She studied at the Bezalel School of Art in Jerusalem, the Tel Aviv Kalisher School of Art, the State College of Art in Tel Aviv, and received her MA at Lesley College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After living in Israel for fifty-one years, Hirschl moved to New York City in 1999. Hirschl has been deeply concerned, as a world citizen, with the forces in life that disrupt and separate people, nations and religions. She brings to her art a global perspective, born out of her European, Middle Eastern and American background, fluency in five languages, and extensive travels around the world during the past five years. She records her impressions constantly, exploring new ways of seeing and synthesizing the world, and everything in it.

Hirschl's recent work has been featured in a number of significant exhibitions, including a solo show at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, and projects during the 51st Venice Biennale and the 9th International Istanbul Biennial. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Queens Museum of Art and in many private and corporate collections. A documentary about her art and life, "Bridges of Memories," narrated by Martin Sheen and directed by Jakov Sedlar, was produced by Jerusalem Films and the Government of Croatia. Her painting, "The Window," was selected by the Film Society of Lincoln Center as the official poster of its 38th Film Festival. The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalog, featuring an essay by Tom Finkelpearl, executive director of the Queens Museum of Art.

Catalog and images available: please contact Rachel Litcofsky,
(212) 824-2205; rlitcofsky@huc.edu

Museum Hours: Mondays - Thursdays, 9 AM - 5 PM; Fridays, 9 AM - 3 PM; Selected Sundays, 10 AM - 2 PM, October 22; November 5 and 19; December 10; January 14 and 28.

Information/Tours: (212) 824-2205 www.huc.edu/museum/ny

Admission: Free, Photo ID Required