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December Issue 2005
Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach, SC, Presents Holocaust Exhibit & Works of Littleton Studios
The Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin
Art Museum in Myrtle Beach, SC, is presenting two exhibitions
including: The Last Album: Eyes from the Ashes of Auschwitz-Birkenau
and A Crystalline Place: Southeastern - Artists 2at Littleton
Studios. Both exhibits will be on view through Jan. 1, 2006.
Visitors should expect a unique and moving experience while at the Museum's fall photography exhibit. "The exhibition emphasized the humanity that was destroyed in the Holocaust. They (stories and photos) made the horrific Holocaust more personal and therefore more tragic... It's important to remember the past to prevent it and understand how tragedies develop...," said a student from Indianapolis, age 17, about this exhibit.
In 1943, doomed Jewish travelers transported
personal photographs to Auschwitz-Birkenau packed carefully in
their pockets, bags and suitcases. Like many other sentimental
possessions, the photographs were collected by the Nazis and scheduled
These photos were not of broken-hearted, emaciated prisoners, but of vibrant children, smiling parents, friends on vacation and happy wedding days. Other photos showed still healthy people with the government regulated Star of David sewn on their clothes and troubled facial expressions.
Adolf Hitler's bitter hatred of the Jewish people and their legacy led to the near destruction of an enti2re nation. But somehow, similar to the Jewish people who survived the Holocaust, 2,400 images carried by one small group of Jews from Bendin ghetto in Poland were saved. The photographs represented a way for these war-weary people to preserve the happy life that was slowly slipping away from them.
Kept locked in a room at Auschwitz for more than 40 years after the end of the war, very few people knew the photographs existed. By chance, American Ann Weiss, while working as a journalist, was visiting the Auschwitz prison camp turned museum in 1986 and was offered a sneak peak into the room where the pictures were entombed.
"From the moment I first saw these photos, I have been haunted by them, inspired by them, shattered by them and humbled by them," Weiss wrote in her 2001 book, The Last Album: Eyes from the Ashes of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Weiss, a child of Holocaust survivors from Poland, was so moved by this discovery that she focused her life's work on the photos. She started with the task of getting permission from the National Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland to duplicate the photos and continuously works to find names and stories to go with the faces.
In the 1930s and 40s, some of the photographs were sent to friends and family members living in Poland from areas outside Hitler's reach. In some cases, this allowed Weiss to connect with surviving family members to hear their stories. In other cases like Cvi Cukierman's, Weiss met him because an exhibit visitor in Detroit recognized his photograph.
In her book, Weiss writes about when she met Cukierman, and his response to the photographs.
"Until you brought me these pictures,
I could not show my family who I am. Now, in black and white,
I can say, 'See, I come from someone! Here is who I come from!
This is my family!' My tears have been locked inside me for fifty
years. You have given me back my tears! Now I can die a rich man!"
The exhibit includes 140 carefully selected photographs from the 2,400, text panels with the interesting stories behind many of the faces, personal correspondence and musical instruments.
Museum visitors will also have a rare opportunity
to see Vitreograph prints in the exhibit, A Crystalline Place:
Southeastern - Artists at Littleton Studios.
Vitreography, or the art of using glass to make prints, is a process that was experimented with in the 1840s but did not become popular because of the expense and danger associated with the process.
In the mid 1970s, artist Harvey Littleton, known as the father of the studio glass movement in America, began using new technologies and techniques to improve glass printmaking. Images are created by using engravers, acid, resists, sandblasting and a wide array of devices and methods.
Unlike metal or wood printmaking, glass plates are chemically inert and do not oxidize or change with the composition of printing inks. This allows vitreograph colors to remain true and have remarkable luminosity.
Forty vitreograph prints from Littleton Studios in Spruce Pine, NC, will be on view in the Museum's upstairs galleries.
For more info check our SC Institutional
Gallery listings, call 843/238-2510 or at (www.MyrtleBeachArtMuseum.org).
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