Object of the Month - July - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Object of the Month - July

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July 2018

Samuel Bak (b. 1933) Menorah

Samuel Bak (b. 1933) Menorah Serigraph United States, ca. 1997 Gift of Mike and Toby Chernin B’nai B’rith Klutznick Collection of the Skirball Museum

Samuel Bak survived the destruction of the Vilna ghetto and immigrated with his mother to Jerusalem in 1948, where he studied at the Bezalel School of Art and Design. After studying in Paris and Rome, he eventually settled in the Boston area. Bak’s work weaves together personal and Jewish history to articulate an iconography of his Holocaust experience. In Bak’s images, there is always evidence of a world destroyed—crumbling stone, fragments of architecture. Here, the iconic menorah of the Temple in Jerusalem balances precariously atop a desolate surreal seascape. And yet, there is hope—the menorah is provisionally pieced back together; green plants take root and grow in the disintegrating stone.

This print was recently installed in the core exhibition of the Skirball, taking its place among works by other artists who studied at the Bezalel School of Art and Design.