German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

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European Leo Baeck Lecture Series London, 2018-19

Seeing Jews in Art: Networks, Fantasies and Dreams

This season’s topic aims to explore the agency of Jews within the networks shaping visual culture. Spanning from the middle ages to the present, and across a range of different media, it will focus on the point of intersection of Art by Jews with Art about Jews and the complex interplay of Jewish reactions to their depiction in Western art and Gentile attitudes towards Jewish visual culture. How do Jews respond and attempt to re-shape their images, stereotyped by the majority societies surrounding them? How does Jewish material culture influence Western visual culture, and how were Jews entangled with the art world?

Organised by the Leo Baeck Institute London in cooperation with the German Historical Institute London.

Lectures will be held at the German Historical Institute London. Places are strictly limited and must be reserved in advance by contacting the Leo Baeck Institute, London
Email: info(ghi)leobaeck.co.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7882 5690

Admission is free. Lectures will begin promptly at 6.30pm. Latecomers may not be admitted.

2018

1 November
(6.30pm)

Katrin Kogman-Appel (Münster)
A Jewish Look on World Politics: The Catalan Mappamundi (1375)

The richly illustrated Catalan Mappamundi is among the most celebrated medieval maps surviving to this day. Commissioned by Peter IV of Aragon as a gift to Charles V of France it was put to parchment by Elisha Cresques, a Jewish scribe, illuminator, and cartographer in the City of Majorca. The talk explores how Elisha, from his delicate position as a Sefardi intellectual in the service of the Court coped with his patron’s agendas while, at the same time, voiced his own views of the politics of his time.

Katrin Kogman-Appel holds an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship (2015–2020), which she assumed in Jewish Studies at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster. She has published work on medieval Jewish art and is particularly interested in Hebrew manuscript illumination and its cultural and social contexts. Publications include A Mahzor from Worms (2012). She recently completed a study on Elisha Cresques ben Abraham, a fourteenth-century Jewish scribe, illuminator, and map maker in Majorca.

6 December
(6.30pm)

Ruth Oren (Haifa)
‘Coming back to History’: The Jewish Image in Landscape Photographs of ‘Eretz-Israel’, 1898-1961

This visual presentation about Zionist landscape photography in Palestine (Eretz- Israel), from its beginning in 1898 until 1961, explores the ‘returning’ of the Jews to modern history and geography and the formation of the ‘mental landscape’ of Israel as it was created in the Zionist photographic narrative. Landscape photography, produced and consumed within the National Zionist Institutions, created a utopian image of the Jewish environment by developing a coherent iconography rooted in the hegemonic ideology of cultivating and ‘building’ a country for the Jewish nation.

Ruth Oren’s academic and artistic work ranges from photography to visual communication. She has been a lecturer at the University of Haifa and other academic colleges and has published widely on the history of Israeli photography and Zionist imagery. Dr Oren has curated numerous exhibitions on photography, such as ‘Local Memory – Photography in Haifa 1912-1949’ (Haifa, 1998) and ‘Zoltan Kluger, Chief Photographer 1933-1958’ (Tel Aviv, 2008).

2019

24 January
(6.30pm)

Cilly Kugelmann (Jewish Museum Berlin)
Jewish Museums between Self-Assertion and Self-Defence

In the 19th century Jews gradually began to free themselves from their ambivalence towards the fine arts. Rabbis repeatedly placed the depiction of people in pictures and sculptures close to idolatry and viewed it with reservations. The discovery of a visual culture in Judaism by the Haskala, the Jewish Enlightenment, fulfilled a double function: it was intended to strengthen a new Jewish selfconfidence internally and at the same time to ward off the anti-Semitic prejudice that Jews were incapable of artistic expression. This process will be illustrated by the example of the emergence and development of Jewish museums in Europe.

Cilly Kugelmann was the Program Director and Vice Director of the Jewish Museum Berlin from September 2002 until March 2017 and she is currently chief curator on the museum’s new permanent exhibition. She had worked for the museum since May 2000, first as head of the Education department, and later also of the Science and Scholarship and Exhibitions departments. Previously, Kugelmann directed the education program, ran public relations, and curated historical exhibitions at the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt am Main.

14 February
(6.30pm)

Richard I. Cohen (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Moses Mendelssohn – The German-Jewish Icon of Modernity (1780s-2019)

Moses Mendelssohn has engaged artists of Jewish and non-Jewish origin from his lifetime until today. The lecture will show how, over this long period, Mendelssohn has been turned into the icon of German-Jewish modernity by being represented in a myriad of ways and techniques.

Richard I. Cohen is the academic director of the Israel Center of Research Excellence (ICore) for the Study of Cultures of Place in the Modern Jewish World. Formerly the Paulette and Claude Kelman Chair in French Jewry Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he has published widely on the history of Jews in western and central Europe and on the inter-relationship between art and society in the modern period. Among his publications: The Burden of Conscience. French-Jewish Leadership during the HolocaustJewish Icons. Art and Society in Modern Europe;  co-curator and co-editor of From Court Jews to the Rothschilds: Art, Patronage, and Power, 1600-1800,  and Le Juif Errant: Un témoin de temps. He recently edited and introduced Place in Modern Jewish Culture and Society [vol. 30 of Studies in Contemporary Jewry, Oxford University Press, New York].

4 April
(6.30pm)

Nathan Abrams (Bangor University)
Treyf Jews? Jewish Gangsters in McMafia and Peaky Blinders

In this illustrated lecture, Professor Nathan Abrams will explore recent British representations of Jews on television focussing on the role of the Jewish gangster in McMafia and Peaky Blinders in particular.

Nathan Abrams is Professor in Film at Bangor University in Wales where he directs the Film Studies programme and the Centre for Film, Television and Screen Studies. He is the author of Stanley Kubrick: New York Jewish Intellectual (2018) and Eyes Wide Shut: Stanley Kubrick and the Making of His Final Film (2019) and co-founding editor of Jewish Film and New Media: An International Journal.

 

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