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Officially Trending: Jews in Artistic Boxes

From Berlin to Venice

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Berlin Jewish Museum(NYDN)

Following Jamie Kirchick’s stellar dispatch yesterday from his time as the Jew in the Box at the Berlin Jewish Museum, we thought we had perhaps heard the last of the phenomenon.

Then we checked our e-mails today:

The Jewish Museum of Venice/ Museo Ebraico di Venezia is proud to announce a solo exhibition of works by Dwora Fried: Outsider in a Box. Powerful and provocative, and at times humorous, Ms. Fried’s mixed media capture people, places and emotions under glass – literally. Composed in wooden boxes with glass fronts, the pieces ask unsettling questions about identity, beliefs and space. They recreate imaginary scenes of displacement, entrapment and isolation. The confines of these small, wooden boxes allow the viewer to share in the intimate world of the artist.

“Growing up as a Jew in Vienna, I have always felt like an outsider and that perspective is reflected in my art,” explains Fried. “It is by far my most autobiographical work; it contains elements of my life as a jewish/austrian/lesbian child of a holocaust survivor.”

I’m not sure how literally this exhibit is going to take the idea of boxes, but for the Austrian-born, Israeli-educated, American artist, the bar has been set pretty high. Or pretty low, depending on your take.

With any luck, the next stop on this artistic diffusion won’t be Japan’s Jewish Museum. I think to have all the former Axis powers with the same exhibit might send the wrong signal–assuming it hasn’t been sent already.

Related: Being The Jew in the Box

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hblume@world.std.com says:

Then there is Deutsche in a Box:

** I have received word from a friend in Tel
Aviv that Helmut Schmittenkracken, a German school teacher on vacation, has
volunteered to serve as Deutsche in a Box, in a display parallel to the
so-called Jew in a Box exhibit currently underway in Berlin. Helmut will be
supplied with falafel, Nescafe, and access to the internet, so that he can
field questions from all over the world.

** More on Deutsche in a Box, the display in Tel
Aviv inspired by the controversial Jew in a Box exhibit currently in Berlin.

Helmut Schmittenkracken, a German school
teacher on vacation, has volunteered to sit in a three-sided glass vitrine,
munching on felafel and sipping Nescafe, while answering questions Israelis might
have about his country.

It’s not working out too well. Seems Israelis who
drop in on Deutsche in a Box have zero interest in Deutschland. Maybe zero
interest is putting it mildly. More like negative interest.

Helmut went on a bit of a riff about the beers
of munich, the glories of the black forest, the poetry of Goethe. He became
enthusiastic about how unruly packs of wild pigs, genuine boars, with big tusks
and snouts, have now settled in Berlin where they root about as they please
even in broad daylight.

Helmut thought this was spectacular.

Israelis were less impressed. One said, what,
we need this Schmittenkracken to tell to us about chazririm running wild in Berlin?
This is news?

Another said: so enough about Germany already,
Helmut. let us now if you don’t mind talk about Eretz Yisrael. so how do you
like Judea and Samaria?

Helmut, polishing off the falafel, said: well,
Judea sounds familiar. He’d heard of it somewhere. But when it came to Samaria,
he drew a blank. Where was it? Could he visit?

There are divisions in Tel Aviv about Deutsche
in a Box. Some want to close it down and forget it ever happened. Others want
to give it a little more time, maybe trade Schmittenkracken in for a different Deutsche.

2000

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Officially Trending: Jews in Artistic Boxes

From Berlin to Venice

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