An exhibit and lecture on the history of anti-Semitism featuring Mark Podwal, artist, and Marc Epstein, Professor of Religion on the Mattie M. Paschall Davis and Norman H. Davis Chair, Vassar College.
Thursday, April 27, 2017, 4:10 p.m. Lecture and Exhibit Presentation
Williams Hall, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA.
Admission is free and open to the public.
For more information and to register, visit here. or contact Elsa Collins at 610-758-6764.
All This Has Come Upon Us is Mark Podwal’s portfolio of archival pigments, which features 42 drawings and paintings of historical threats of anti-Semitism combined with verses from the Book of Psalms. Each image in this series depicts a tragedy or injustice in Jewish history, from slavery in Egypt through the Holocaust. Podwal notes, “the paintings and drawings in this series are a disturbing reminder of how Europe’s extensive history of ‘Jew- hatred’ laid the groundwork for Terezin and Auschwitz.” Lehigh will host an installation in Williams Hall, showcasing five prints each academic semester.
To describe Mark Podwal only as an artist would be imprecise. The native New Yorker is a physician, a filmmaker, a professor at New York University School of Medicine, and an author of more than thirteen books. But foremost, Podwal is a Jewish historian, a storyteller, and a custodian of the past.
Podwal, who always loved to draw yet never pursued formal art training, eventually became a physician following his parents’ encouragement. Motivated by the boisterous 1960s, he created a series of political drawings while he attended New York University School of Medicine. These images came to the attention of The New York Times Op-Ed page art director who commissioned drawings from Podwal for the newspaper.
Through this work, Podwal rose to greater public recognition, and soon, his images appeared in books, larger scale art works, and animated films and documentaries. Most of his pieces focus on Jewish legend, history, and tradition. His art is represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Israel Museum, the Jewish Museums in Prague and New York, the Vatican, the British Library, and Yad Vashem, among many others. His book King Solomon and His Magic Ring, in collaboration with Ellie Wiesel, won a Silver Medal from the Society of Illustrators in 1999. His latest book is entitled, Reimagined: 45 Years of Jewish Art by Mark Podwal. Copies of the book will be available for Podwal to sign.
Co-presenter Marc Michael Epstein is the Mattie M. Paschall (1899) & Norman Davis chair in Religion and Visual Culture at Vassar College and was the university’s first director of Jewish studies. He is a graduate of Oberlin College, earned a Ph.D. from Yale University, and conducted much of his graduate research at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Widely published, Epstein has written on various topics in visual and material culture produced by, for, and about Jews. His 2015 book, Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink: Jewish Manuscript Illumination, is a National Jewish Book
Award winner. During the 1980s, Epstein was director of the Hebrew Books and Manuscripts division of Sotheby’s Judaica department and continues to serve as consultant to various libraries, auction houses, museums, and private collectors throughout the world.