Justice Illuminated: The Art of Arthur Szyk - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Justice Illuminated: The Art of Arthur Szyk

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Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Contact: Rachel Litcofsky, 212-824-2205; rlitcofsky@huc.edu for information 

Justice Illuminated: The Art of Arthur Szyk
February 1-April 28, 2006 

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum
The Brookdale Center
One West 4th Street
New York 10012-1186 (Broadway and Mercer) 

Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Reception: 5:00 PM
Lecture: 6:00 PM with Irvin Ungar, Szyk Society Curator 

Justice Illuminated: The Art of Arthur Szyk at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum focuses on three overriding themes of Szyk's life: World War II, America, and the Jewish Response. The exhibition explores Szyk's artistic vision of a world of beauty and horror, of hope and despair, of freedom and terror - a world not very different from our own. 

Arthur Szyk (1894-1951) was a prolific master illuminator in the tradition of the 16th century miniaturist painters. A Polish Jew who escaped Europe in the wake of the Holocaust, he emigrated to the U.S. in December 1940. He was influenced by certain ideologies and motifs that derived from Polish literature, folklore and nationalism. His work galvanized the public to the horrors of injustice and oppression. This traveling exhibition explores the powerful issues and events of the era. 

Thirty-two photo-murals make up this exhibit and introduce viewers to the life and art of Arthur Szyk, within the context of the cultural and political movements of the first half of the 20th century. Szyk often utilized often-obscure art forms, such as medieval text illumination, to articulate contemporary issues. Sometimes he combined what many would consider irreconcilable art forms such as the delicate traditions of sixteenth-century miniature painting and the overt bluntness of modern political caricature. The works presented in this exhibition further demonstrate how and why Szyk's mission and message relate not only to the challenges of the past but also to the complexities of the present. Justice Illuminated is meant to be a catalyst to enable the viewer to think, to reflect, and to respond passionately to the world-in which we dwell today. 


The exhibition is accompanied by a study-guide, sponsored by the Arthur Szyk Society, and displayed in way to provide both useful information and to stimulate questions and discussions amongst visitors and those studying art, art history, philosophy (aesthetics), American history, modern European history, World War II studies, holocaust studies, Slavic studies, Jewish studies, ethnic studies, and political science. 

The Arthur Szyk Society, an not-for-profit organization founded in 1991, presents the artist's prolific body of works to broad and diverse audiences in the United States, thus preserving Szyk's legacy as an important artist and champion of both democratic and Jewish values. With active participation (as consultants and curators) in exhibitions at nationally recognized institutions such as the Library of Congress (1999-2000), the University of Scranton (2000), the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (2002), and UC Berkeley (2002), The Arthur Szyk Society is uniquely qualified to bring its traveling exhibition program and its companion educational materials to universities and colleges nationwide. The exhibition may be viewed in its entirety on The Arthur Szyk Society web page: www.szyk.org/szykonline 


Irvin Ungar, Szyk Society Curator presents The Art of Arthur Szyk 

Reception and Lecture: Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Reception: 5:00 PM---Lecture: 6:00 PM 

R.S.V.P.: rlitcofsky@huc.edu or (212) 824-2205 by March 16, 2006 

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum
One West 4th Street (between Broadway and Mercer Street), Manhattan 

Museum Hours: Mondays-Thursdays, 9 AM-5 PM; Fridays, 9 AM-3 PM;
Selected Sundays, 10 AM-2 PM, Feb. 12, 26; March 12, 26; April 9, 23 

Information/Tours: (212) 824-2205 www.huc.edu/museums/ny
Admission: Free, Photo ID Required 

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates leaders to serve North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu