Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In Praise of the American Folk Art Museum

Like many of you, I was saddened to hear of the financial troubles of the American Folk Art Museum. I’ve seen some wonderful exhibitions there of outsider art, art by women, and Americana, but my favorite exhibition was one that relates very much to our own mission. Gilded Lions and Jeweled Horses: The Synagogue to the Carousel, which was on view in 2007 and 2008, traced the journey of Jewish woodcarvers from Eastern and Central Europe to America through their beautiful secular and sacred works. While I’ve always loved carousel horses, I now have a special appreciation because I know that the carousel animals were a testament to a history of survival and transformation for immigrant Jewish artists who transferred symbolic visual elements into a beloved American icon that brings joy to so many people.

I thank the American Folk Art Museum for sharing this and so many other stories with us over the years and I urge you to go and visit. It is free, although donations are gratefully accepted and very much needed.

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