I was asked to create a new walking tour to coincide with the exhibition at the Jewish Museum and the centenary of the First World War and, to my delight, it sold out!
On 6 April, despite the threat of rain, our group of walkers met outside the Whitechapel Art Gallery looking forward to a stroll through the Jewish East End, discovering buildings and personalities associated with the First World War. The plaque honouring Isaac Rosenberg on the ex-Whitechapel Library was a perfect place to start. Killed in 1918, Rosenberg was already a noted poet and artist, and it was here that I recited his powerful poem, ‘Break of Day in the Trenches’.
Then we made our way to Half Moon Passage for the story of the March of the Jewish Legion (in February 1918) and their lunch at Camperdown House. The Legion marched eight miles that day. Our tour was shorter but the varied and fascinating stories came thick and fast: recruitment of the Jewish soldiers but also the Conchies who refused to fight; Mark Gertler, the East End born artist and his famous anti-war picture, ‘The Merry Go Round’; Basil and Rose Henriques of the Oxford and St George’s Settlement and their WWI work; Issy Smith, who went to school in Berners Street and became one of five WWI Jewish winners of the VC; anarchists and socialists; internment; the work of the Jewish chaplains; the Jewish officers who lost their lives.
The tour ended at the Brick Lane Mosque, once the Machzike Hadass Synagogue. During the First World War, Rav Kook was stranded in London but led this community before returning to Palestine, becoming its first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi.
The tour provided a wonderful way to learn about the First World War and to see the Jewish East End from a different angle.
Editor’s note: bookings are open for a repeat tour on 15 June 2014, which is filling up fast – click here to book now!
In just one week we had an exhibition launch, a barmitzvah party and a birthday reception.
An evening reception to open our new exhibition brought in a fantastic crowd. We loved seeing the veterans in their military regalia exploring the Jewish experience of the First World War.
Chief Exec Abigail Morris with AJEX President, The Rt Hon the Lord Sterling of Plaistow GVCO, CBE
Saturday night saw the museum transformed with a red carpet, sparkling dance floor, DJ booth and a Beatles cover band entertaining 190 barmitzvah guests. Best part of the evening? A smiling, happy hostess and a barmitzvah boy enjoying the party!
Once the party was over there was just enough time to get ready to be open at 10am on Sunday morning for our regular visitors. Then we transformed the museum again with white linen table cloths and beautiful flowers for an elegant birthday celebration on Monday.
A fantastic article from Time Out about the upcoming Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait exhibition, at the Jewish Museum London from 3 July - 15 September.
We are excited to announce Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait, an intimate exhibition co-curated with Amy’s brother Alex and sister-in-law Riva featuring never before seen photographs and personal objects.
Click here for more details and to book tickets.
R. B. Kitaj “Los Angeles No. 9”, 1996-2002.
Telling of devotion and togetherness, the pictures in Kitaj’s Los Angeles Series express his longing for his dead wife, Sandra Fisher. While most of the pictures in the series portray in mystical compositions, here they are sitting together in their car, against the background of an excerpt from a modernist art magazine.
R. B. Kitaj Obsessions exhibition, Jewish Museum, London.
I feel that I shouldn’t be concentrating on the list of names in the magazine.
Read more at the Paris Review.
Two exhibitions of late artist R.B. Kitaj are on view at the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester and the Jewish Museum in London’s Camden town.
They were recently reviewed in The Economist in an article that recounts Kitaj’s life and work as exemplified through these two exhibitions. It also makes mention of the painting pictured above, identifying the figures and themes featured in this elaborate work:
“In ‘The Wedding’ (pictured), completed in 1993, Kitaj himself, wearing the yarmulka, dances with his wife at their wedding surrounded by his best man, David Hockney, and their Jewish friends—Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossoff—whom he had dubbed the School of London.” — The Economist, March 2013
Read the article in its entirety here.
R.B. Kitaj: Obsessions - The Art of Identity at the Jewish Museum London until 16 June
If Not, Not, 1975, Oil and black chalk on canvas, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; R.B. Kitaj Estate.