By: Joshua Danker-Dake | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: April 2010
“Made It” by Michael Knigin.
The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art is currently featuring Michael Knigin’s Remembrance 2000 exhibition, a visual exploration of Jewish life and culture before, during and after the Holocaust.
Knigin stated that his goals with this collection are to pay tribute to the heroes and victims of the Holocaust, both dead and living, and to educate the audience. “These pieces cover a horrific event, but this is not a horror show,” says Arthur Feldman, the museum’s executive director. “The exhibition is suitable for all ages.” This is because Knigin tends to focus on the human element in his pieces – figures and faces – leaving the horror largely implied.
Knigin works with familiar images, objects, and environmental elements, and strives to create uniqueness through his use of color, texture, photography, drawings, paintings, symbols and fragmentation. Many of Knigin’s pieces begin as hand-created collages, which are then digitally manipulated and colorized, and ultimately printed on canvas or paper as unique pieces. “Knigin’s work, to me, suggests a combination of Robert Rauschenberg’s collages and Andy Warhol’s bright colors,” says Feldman.
The tremendously accomplished Knigin was born in 1942 in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, and has taught at the Pratt Institute in Manhattan since 1966. His work is currently on display in over 60 museums and collections, including the U.S. Air and Space Museum, NASA, the Israel Museum, the U. S. Department of State, and the Phillip Morris Collection. He has been featured in a number of national publications, including The New York Times.
The Remembrance 2000 collection features three groups of images, each exploring the world that was for European Jewry. The first covers a period beginning before the Nuremberg Laws were passed in Germany in 1935 and running through the liberation of the concentration camps in 1945. The second features the Jewish immigration to Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel. The third honors Jews and “righteous Gentiles” who risked their lives to help and save others.
“This exhibition fits very well with what we’re doing with our permanent Holocaust exhibit,” says Feldman. Later this month, the Sherwin Miller Museum will be permanently adding a series of Anne Frank-themed images to its Holocaust exhibit. “World War II and the Holocaust are ancient history to many children, and we want to change that,” says Feldman. “Anne Frank is iconic and has remained so, particularly because so many children still read her book in school.”
The Sherwin Miller Museum has a number of other exhibits scheduled for 2010. In June and August, it will host an exhibition of the paintings of American artist Burton Silverman, who is best known for his portrait work. From October through January of next year, the museum will feature three wedding-themed exhibits. One will take a look at the wedding customs and practices of the people of Oklahoma, and another will present wedding memorabilia from famous Oklahomans. The other will feature symbolically significant pieces of wedding jewelry from cultures around the world.
The Michael Knigin: Remembrance 2000 exhibition will remain on display until June 15. The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit them on the web at www.jewishmuseum.net. For more information on Michael Knigin, visit www.michaelknigin.net.