Jewish Museum presents Isaac Bashevis Singer and His Artists

From May 3rd through Aug 18, 2011.

Partisans in the Forrest. Original painting by Irene Lieblich. Courtesy of the Estate of Irene Lieblich
Partisans in the Forrest. Original painting by Irene Lieblich. Courtesy of the Estate of Irene Lieblich
On May 3rd, the Jewish Museum of Florida opens a new temporary exhibit, titled Isaac Bashevis Singer and His Artists. Singer created a legacy of 86 books and numerous stories that continue to delight people of every age, circumstance and nationality.

He depicted, with a sense of humor and clarity, the vanished world of Polish Jews prior to and during World War One, and a post-Holocaust world, no longer provincial, but rife with contemporary chaos and paranoia. His works continue to live in our collective memories. The fictional characters come to life in this exhibition.

Born in Poland around 1903 and educated by his Hasidic rabbi father, Isaac Bashevis Singer, winner of the 1978 Nobel Prize for Literature, immigrated to the U.S. in 1935 and lived part of his life in Surfside, north of Miami Beach. He died there in 1991.

The Nobel Committee’s official biography sums up his writing in these words: He wrote “about the world and life of East European Jewry, such as it was lived in cities and villages, in poverty and persecution, and imbued with sincere piety and rites combined with blind faith and superstition.”

Writing in Yiddish, he spun tales that unleashed a rich storehouse of Jewish popular imagination, interweaving everyday life with wonders emerging from dreams and nightmares. He referred to the English translations, frequently serialized in newspapers, journals and magazines, as his “second originals.” His acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize was made in both Yiddish and English.

Matching strong drawings to immemorial words takes courage. Thirty-two of Singer’s books were illustrated by 17 artists, including Larry Rivers, Raphael Soyer, Ira Moskowitz, Roman Vishniac, Antonio Frasconi, Leonard Everett Fisher, Maurice Sendak, Eric Carle, Irene Lieblich (of Miami Beach), Uri Shulevitz and William Pene DuBois.

This exhibit, created and curated by Laura Kruger, is on loan from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum in New York City, and runs through August 28, 2011.

Jewish Museum of Florida
301 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
305.672.5044
www.jewishmuseum.com

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