Seeing Jews in Art: Networks, Fantasies and Dreams
A lecture series organised by the Leo Baeck Institute London in cooperation with the German Historical Institute London.
This season’s topic will 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 them? How does Jewish material culture influence Western visual culture, and how were Jews entangled with the art world?
Dr Daniel Wildmann (Director, Leo Baeck Institute London) has pleasure in inviting you to the third lecture in the series:
Cilly Kugelmann (Jewish Museum Berlin, Germany) – 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 self-confidence 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 departments. Previously, Kugelmann directed the education program, ran public relations, and curated historical exhibitions at the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt am Main.
Welcome and introduction by Professor Christina von Hodenberg (Director, GHIL) and Dr Daniel Wildmann (Director, LBI):