We thought it wouldn’t happen here. Yet we knew it could.
America was our promised land. For any American Jew alive now, America saved your family one, two, or three generations ago. Three of my four grandparents fled Ukraine (then Russia) and Belarus, sites of famous pogroms. My great-grandparents from my mother’s side fled Hungary. My father’s parents had accents so thick I could barely understand them.
Ancestors? Killed somewhere in Eastern Europe. My parents didn’t know them and my grandparents didn’t speak of them. If the Cossacks didn’t get them, the Nazis did. It was the same for every Jewish kid I grew up with in our insulated New York suburb.
In the big cities, being somewhat White, if still different, we have flourished here for three or four generations, especially those of us lucky enough to grow up in post-war America. Our fathers fought in the wars, then went to college on the GI Bill, and a huge middle class was born. Jewish excellence in business, the arts, and sciences exploded. We were safe here.
And yet when I was a child my reoccurring nightmare was of armed Russians or Nazis knocking on our suburban front door to take us all away.
At 10:00am on September 11, 2001, in Tribeca on West Broadway, where I lived for 25 years, I told my partner Pattie to pack a bag with her original slides and underwear and change of clothes in case we had to flee. When my friend asked how did you know to do that, I said: “I have been waiting for this my whole life.”
We left at noon after the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers fell. That dust rolled by the windows, as we huddled on the other end of the loft with rumors of fireballs coming from the west side and cops saying it might be a good idea to leave now.
When to leave? That’s the question every Jew has embedded in our DNA. When did people know to leave Germany? Russia? Where do you go? What do you take? What do you leave behind? How will you live, if you live?
We are waiting for the midterms and then we will decide.
They say antisemitism is the oldest hatred. But it is hard to know who is historically more hated: Jews, women, or homosexuals. There is the problem of human nature and the question: Why do things never really change? But having those three giant targets on my back, the time might be now.
I don’t want to leave. I still harbor my fantasy that New York City secedes. I would stay here. The real land of E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one).
MTV’s The Exhibit Is Back With an Inflatable Dolphin
Episode four, in which artists tackled themes of justice and injustice, was the most lifeless of the reality TV show so far.
Florida Principal Ousted Over “Pornographic” Michelangelo Sculpture
Parents complained that the famous sculpture was shown to their sixth graders.
The Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation Presents The Feminine in Abstract Painting
Curated by Jennifer Samet and Andrea Belag, this group exhibition in NYC explores the feminine through aesthetics, as opposed to identity or gender.
Tickets to Sold-Out Vermeer Show Are Going for Hundreds
The online resale market for the Rijksmuseum’s smash exhibition is booming, with tickets selling on eBay for over $2K.
NYU Steinhardt Opens 2023 MFA Thesis Exhibitions
Taking place at 80WSE Gallery in New York’s Greenwich Village, Part I is on view from late March through April while Part II opens in May.
Miniature Worlds: Joseph Cornell, Ray Johnson, Yayoi Kusama
Through small-scale works, this exhibition at the Katonah Museum of Art in New York examines Cornell’s prominent role in the lives and careers of Johnson and Kusama.
Three Looted Antiquities at the Met Repatriated to Turkey
Nine other repatriated works were seized from Met Trustee Shelby White, whose collection was subject to a criminal investigation.
This week, the world’s lightest paint, Pakistan’s feminist movement, World Puppy Day, and were some of Vermeer’s paintings created by his daughter?
The Wider World and Scrimshaw
On March 28, join the New Bedford Whaling Museum online and in-person for a symposium on global carving traditions from across the Pacific Rim.
Who Will Decide on the Future of a Miami Native Burial Ground?
Native activists say sacred remains and objects dug up from a Brickell construction site should remain there, but mega-developer Jorge Pérez is pushing back.
How Can a Curator Approach South Asian Futurisms?
How do I acknowledge my shortcomings while reckoning with obscured histories and the exclusion of subaltern narratives in the fine art landscape? A working checklist for curators.
MCA Chicago Presents On Stage: Frictions
Will Rawls, Shamel Pitts | TRIBE, and Barak adé Soleil explore Blackness, queerness, movement, and dance in performances at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
The Complicated Legacy of Camilo Egas
The Ecuadorian painter, a leading figure of Latin America’s Indigenismo art movement, has been both praised and scorned for his representation of Indigenous peoples.
Tom Jones Zeroes in on Ho-Chunk Visibility
“I think about the young kids, the teenagers, and I think being able to see yourself represented in art is so powerful,” says the artist.