Faculty, Program News, Special Projects

Researching and Restaging the Ghez Collection of Jewish Artists Who Perished in the Holocaust: A Curatorial Experiment – Collaboration with the Hecht Museum and a new course!

rachel_Perry.pngWe are elated to announce a new course we will be offering to our students in the 2016-2017 academic year.  Through this course we will be partnering with the Hecht Museum, and offering our students a wonderful opportunity to learn about museum studies and curation. Read about the course, taught by Dr. Rachel Perry, below:

 

Course description:  In 1978, the Swiss art collector, Dr. Oscar Ghez, donated his important collection of works of art by artists who perished in the Holocaust to the University of Haifa.  Consisting of oil paintings, watercolors, drawings and sculptures, the dscf0160.jpgcollection includes over 130 works by 18 artists who lived and worked in Paris before the Holocaust in what was known as the “School of Paris.”  Arrested by the Nazis and their French collaborators, many of these artists were interned in the transit camps of Drancy, Gurs, Compiègne before being deported East to death camps.  Ghez conceived of the collection as a memorial to artists who perished in the Holocaust, but it is also an important record of their lives and creativity.

hecht-art

In this course, we will collaborate with the Hecht museum on a unique research project revolving around the Ghez collection and culminating in an exhibition which the class will curate and install.  The last exhibition catalogue of the Ghez collection is over 20 years old.  The time is ripe for a reassessment of the collection, relying on new scholarship and new methodological approaches.  Little research has been done on these artists; for many, the dates and place of death is unknown.  Like detectives, we will explore the archives and trace the provenance of the art works before Ghez acquired them (ie. where they were purchased, when, by whom).  Where did these artists emigrate from?  What social, religious, political networks and organizations were they affiliated with?  Where did they go to art school, with whom?  Where did they exhibit (galleries, museums) and who were their patrons?  What subjects and media did they gravitate towards?  Answering these questions will contribute to a fuller picture of the rich diversity of Jewish culture in the prewar period, when Paris was a magnet for Jewish artists across Europe.

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Final Research Project:  During the semester, students will work independently or in small groups on one aspect of the exhibition.  For their contribution, students are encouraged to think outside of the box.  Whether it is a documentary film detailing our research and progress as a group; a collection of poems and literary texts which relate to the art; a sound track of testimonies; documents relating to each artists (photographs, Pages of Testimony, artifacts); wall labels which provide important contextual information; an educational guide for students or a web based project (blog or website) – this course welcomes interdisciplinary approaches and original ideas about how to curate these works of art in the museum.  No prior knowledge of art is necessary.

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Museum Visits and Film Screenings: Throughout the semester we will study other museums and collections devoted to art and the Holocaust.  Visiting lecturers and museum visits, as well as films about art and the Holocaust and academic articles and books, will complement class sessions in the Hecht museum and its archives in front of the works of art and relevant historical documents.  Film screenings are scheduled throughout the semester both in class and as homework assignments.  If you cannot make a screening, you must inform me in advance.  Attendance at museum visits is absolutely mandatory.  In addition to the class meetings held in museums, you may be required to visit museums on your own to complete assignments.

Learn more about our courses here.

Interested in applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program?  You can find the application and more information at our website: http://holocaust-studies.haifa.ac.il/

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