On the Consequences of Hate Speech

Art exhibition at the Manny Cantor Center, 197 East Broadway, New York, NY 10002.

Presented by the Manny Cantor Center and the Jewish Art Salon.

Photos of the opening reception here.

Exhibit on view Mon-Sat 10-6, until January 18, 2019.

Words have always had the potential to be catalyst for civil discord. In the current
climate, hate speech is increasingly prevalent, tearing apart the fabric of our communities in ever more violent and destructive ways. It passes from generation to generation by written and spoken word, inculcating attitudes of intolerance, anti-Semitism, racism and discrimination in both children and adults. This exhibit illuminates hate speech, its historically destructive manifestations, and its consequences for humanity. The exhibit also advocates the antidote: educating ourselves and taking responsibility to condemn hate speech in any form. In this respect, the show is both timely and timeless, resonating across ages and cultures.
ARTISTS 
Ellen Alt • Audrey Anastasi • Robin Atlas • Shoshannah Brombacher • Elaine Clayman • Nancy Current • Dorit Jordan Dotan • Chana Wiesenthal Elias • Alan Falk • Charlotte Hart • Erling Hope • Yohana Junker • Rachel Kanter • Katarzyna Kozera • Nazanin Hedayat Munroe • Jennifer Anne Moses • Frank Sabatté • Joel Silverstein • Doni Silver Simons • Ali Shrago-Spechler • Phillip Schwartz • Leslie Tucker • Vitaly Umansky • Yona Verwer • Joyce Ellen Weinstein
Curator: Rachel Kanter
Assistant Curators: Robin Atlas & Nancy Current.

RSVP HERE

The Manny Cantor Center is a living laboratory of the universal Jewish values of inclusion, diversity, and community. Housed in the flagship building of the historic Educational Alliance, on NYC’s Lower east Side, the newly-renovated space offers award-winning programs, critical services and exciting events.

The views and opinions expressed in the artworks are those of the artists and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Jewish Art Salon or the Manny Cantor Center.. 

Art info and statements:

  1. Nazanin Monroe

Layli (1 of 5), Digital drawing printed on 100% cotton rag., 20″ x 24″ framed, 2018

“Layli” is one of 5 digital drawings in a series about women from Persian literature; the images of these idealized women are juxtaposed against a background of translated Persian poetry by a 14th c. female poet, whose work questions the nature of people’s hatred and jealousy. The second works are garments, displayed on dressmaker forms, which deal with the idea of words/speech as talismans; the garments are meant to protect the wearer from the evil eye and behavior, based on 16th-17th c.

Persian talismanic garments. The white garment with Rumi poetry is overlaid with a figure in a gesture of supplication, praying for protection through the poetry. The black garment displays the Khamsa, a protective symbol that is used in various iconographic forms in both Judaism and Islam, and lights up in response to the proximity of the viewer: further distance is indicated by green lights; as the viewer approaches, light turn yellow and red and blink, indicating alarm on the part of the wearer. These garments are photographed on live models this summer, by the California ocean and in NYC respectively.

2. Joyce Ellen Weinstein

The Witness I, Lino cut/mixed media/collage, 25″ x 19″ framed, 2015

People are often witnesses to hate speech and abhorrent behavior. When you are blinded by your own agenda it is impossible to see or act upon what is morally indefensible.

3. Yohana Junker

Wordquake: A Cartography of Hate Speech, Print Ink and Permanent Black Ink on Paper, 24X36, 2018

In this work, I juxtapose a topographic and a seismic map of the location of the White House in Washington, D.C. so as to visually posit 45’s occupation of presidential office as one of the epicenters of the catastrophe of hate speech in the U.S.

Words–not lines–will delineate and outline the map. These words will draw from Trump’s exact pronouncements made publicly over the past year as well as mentions of particular passages of the Bible to underscore how “Christian” speech has been instrumentalized to normalize discriminatory and hateful speech. In the last 6 months, for example, Trump has pronounce the following: “You wouldn’t believe how bad these people [immigrants] are. These aren’t people. These are animals,” or “can you imagine these people–these animals over in the Middle East that chop off heads,” as well as “and this is why we call the bloodthirsty MS-13 gang members exactly the name that I used last week. What was the name? [unidentified crowd]: Animals!”

This word-map will visually articulate how 45 speech permits and normalizes hate and will demonstrate how seemingly abstract and “harmless” words actually move across the landscape and enters into houses, circulates through bodies. I want to raise questions of whether we can read and identify the severity of these seismic “Hate Speech” waves and which kinds of traces they leave in our communities. I want to reveal socio-cultural processes that are normally hidden beneath physical mappings. Finally, I want viewers to partake in the imaginative making of this work to think of how Hate Speech circulates in their own realities–how it comes out from their mouths. The intention is to connect people, words, landscapes, and navigational maps so that we can call forth our sense of response-ability–the ability to “respond” to the urgencies of our times, finding new language to move forward in solidarity, resistance, and change of speech-acts.

  1. Audrey Anastasi

Man With No Eyes (Isaac Woodard Jr), 14″ x 11”

Isaac Woodard Jr. was blinded while still in uniform, returning by bus, from WWII, by South Carolina police, a hate crime that shocked the country and spurred the civil rights movement.

  1. Erling Hope

Kafir 1, mixed media, 35-1/4″ x 45-3/4″, 2018

Kafir 2, mixed media, 35-1/4″ x 45-3/4″, 2018

One of a series of works exploring dynamics of the word “Kafir”. This is the Arabic word for “unbeliever,” often translated as “infidel”, (from the root K-F-R “to cover”). Islamic traders with non-Islamic sub-Saharan Africans came to call them by this epithet, which was later picked up by white Afrikaners and became the South African N-word. So it is a word of hate, a word of scorn, but also a word about belief.

As a person of faith—as a skeptical person of faith—I have been torn and fascinated by the ways that belief can undermine faith for individuals, and the ways belief has become a central destructive force of our time. Belief in tribal / racial supremacy, belief in religious exclusivism, un-belief in science and climate change, belief in conspiracy theories, etc.. Conspiracy theories in particular preoccupy me. The traction they have in the neo-fascist movements in the West is only matched by their tenacity in the Islamic world. “Kafir” —unbeliever— engages all these dynamics.

But there is also a sense that these properties are inherent to humanity, that they are part of a larger pattern of life in a competitive evolutionary context. Humans are built to “other” others. We are at a moment when the question of how and whether we can transcend this instinct is a living and urgent one. Is it a question of suppressing or burying this impulse (K-F-R: “to cover”)? Of rising above our human nature? Or is it a matter of finding ways to engage, acknowledge, and redeem this faculty, of blessing our human / animal nature, and what could that possibly mean?

  1. Frank Sabatte

No Number, Cambodia 1975, Random stitch, free-motion embroidery, 20”x20″, 2008

Number 37, Cambodia 1975, Random stitch, free-motion embroidery, 20”x20″, 2008

Number 24, Cambodia 1975, Random-stitch, free-motion embroidery, 58″ x 22”, 2017

Both works are based on photographs of two of the victims of the Khmer Rouge genocide in the 70’s. Photographs were taken of these children before they were killed, usually by being thrown out of a window. Hate speech is scapegoating and those who scapegoat are blind to what they do. Hate speech that is “normalized” or “legitimized” is required for genocides to happen. When hate speech is no longer seen as hate but as rational then it becomes powerful and terrifying.

  1. Dorit Jordan Dotan

Mixed Message Media, Graphic Art, 24″x18″, 2018

Women are portrayed in the media as either doll-like objects or the opposite. The mixed messages about women are blatantly confusing, allowing malicious gossip to punish us no matter how we are seen.

  1. Charlotte Hart

Torn, Pencil on Paper, 11” x 14”, 2017

Torn: You kill me with your words, you kill me with your silence.

Emergence of a Solution, Pen and Ink, 9 7/8” x 10”, 2017

Emergence of a Solution: Walking through the carbonation of hateful words.

  1. Joel Silverstein

Lashon Hara, Acrylic on found canvas, 29.5” x 39.5”, 2018

Lashon Hara is squarely about “hate speech” but also gossip, negativity and ranchor . I look at myself with utmost candor and through a spiritual struggle try to stifle these negative impulses, or at least understand them. My thought is that hate speech’ begins at home and how you represent yourself to others is the hallmark of how you wish to be treated. i also remember in my past how observant Jews in the Brooklyn would sport bumper stickers on their cars stating, ” Put the Brakes on Lashon Hara!!!! Wise advice!

  1. Ali Shrago-Spechler

EXECUTIVE ORDER: PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES March 2017

Executive Order printed on Toilet Paper, hanging on gold paint roller. 10″ x 5″ x 3″, 2017

  1. Chana Wiesenthal Elias

Avert the Gaze, vii’, Photography – dye transfer on metal, 16″ x 20”, 2016

Avert the Gaze, v’, Photography – dye transfer on metal, 16″ x 16”, 2016

Hate can echo across generations. I was born in 1969, in the United States, to Jewish parents who were born during World War II. The Holocaust exists for me as a reconstructed memory, the weight of which only increases as the fact of the event recedes. I have created work that serves as an amalgamation of my responses to literature, film, histories, personal contact with survivors and travel to the places where the consequences of hate speech still leave furrows in the earth. My work is a search for meaning and identity in a world where cultural holocausts have become commonplace; it is made from a desire to restore a full sense of humanity to the victims. As Edmond Jabes wrote,

” There is no present. There is a past haunted by the future and a future tormented by the past.”

  1. Alan Falk

Miriam and the Kushite Woman, Oil on Canvas, 30h” x 60w”, 2011

“Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Kushite woman that he had taken, for he had taken a Kushite wife.”In this interpretation of the biblical narrative, a parallel is drawn between Miriam’s remark against Moses and his Kushite (Nubian or Ethiopean) wife to her punishment of tza-ra-at (an affliction that whitened her skin) as a moral warning against acts of malicious gossip (Lashon Hara) and bigotry.

  1. Ellen Alt

Islam, Mixed media on board, 23″ x 33”, 2009

Judaism, Mixed media on wood, 23″ x 31”, 2009

LOVE OR HATE THY NEIGHBOR: Two Roads Diverge

Religion is a set of beliefs, often with contradictory messages. Proponents of violence and seekers of peace find quotes within their own scripture to support their views. The same is true for leaders talking about their neighbor’s religions. White supremacists (often Christian) stir up anti-Semitism and racism, while Muslims target Christians in the Middle East and Muslims are targeted in the West.

As an antidote, places of worship have joined with “hate has no home here” to clearly and publicly state that religion will not be used against another’s beliefs, at least within these four walls.

  1. Shoshannah Brombacher

The Golem of Charlottesville, Pastel and ink on paper, 18 X 12 inches, 2017

Mayn Shtetl Brent (My shtetl is burning), Ink on paper, 18 X 24 inches, 2016

Ever since Trump was elected president there has been a surge in hate crimes, antisemitic “incidents”, and racist bigots coming out of the woodwork. Bigots are from all times and all societies, but hate speech and polarizing society in “us and them”, i.e., the foreigners, the immigrants, all the people whose “true patriotic feelings” are doubted because they are too liberal, too leftwing, or too whatever, has led to what greatly diminishes America, the traditional melting pot, instead of making it great again. What hate speech can lead to we have seen in Charlottesville and many other places. It is an eery reminder of how things started in Germany. Give the bigots space and tools and they will use them, encouraged by hate speech.

  1. Jennifer Anne Moses

Don’t Mess with God, Mixed media on cast-off wood cabinet door, 28″ x 52″, 2015

In “Don’t Mess With God,” I take up the theme of the Jewish Exodus as it relates to the “slogans” surrounding the dehumanizing of the Egyptian Jews. The Jews carry God-centric slogans on their way to freedom as figures of pharaonic power send out spurts of demeaning rhetoric, themselves surrounded by biblical verses. Which version of speech prevails? In the painting, the Hebrew are on their way to freedom but, not having yet arrived, are surrounded by blood-red waves.

  1. Phillip Schwartz

Loading A Funeral Cart, Egg Tempera and Gilding on Gessoed Wooden Panel, 20”x20”, 2018

This piece is part of a series of non-traditional icons done in a style reminiscent of Eastern Orthodox Christian Iconography. This piece is done based on public domain photographs in the image collection of The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It illustrates the very worst that has happened as a result of hate speech. The mass murder of Jews during the Holocaust is an example of where hate speech ultimately leads if allowed to go unanswered and unchecked.

  1. Elaine Clayman

Pajamas, Oil on linen, 18″ x 24”, 2018

pajamas… is an original oil on linen which is part of a series I’m working on called GATED COMMUNITY. A holocaust theme depicting victims who were seen by their captors as workers to be used up and discarded. I made them faceless except for the pajama stripes in their faces as they lost their identity. The dancer depicts the “false image” that the captors choose to present to the world. They are in a “Gated Community” presented as barbed wire.

  1. Leslie Tucker

Where I Am There You May Be Also

Photo-composite printed on Endura Metallic chromogenic paper, 24×34 inches, 2018

This work is from my DEVOTIONAL series, an inquiry into Technology and Moral Panic. A moral panic is a feeling of fear spread among a large number of people that some evil threatens the well-being of society. This work examines the tumultuous relationship between Twitter and hate speech, whereby Twitter is admittedly walking a tightrope between the idealism of free speech and verifiable monsters.

  1. Vitaly Umansky

Facebook Rage. Pen and colored pencils on paper, 9” x 12”

This work shows a progression from a heated discussion on social media to radicalization and acts of violence.

  1. Rachel Kanter

Laundry

Vintage drying rack, cotton, embroidery floss.

51” x 51” x 40”, 2018

“…and the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and warn them to stay pure today and tomorrow. Let them wash their clothes.””

Exodus 19:10

“Laundry” is about washing clothes as a form of purification. The sexist, disparaging words that are embroidered on each of the women’s tallit katan are in the process of being washed out and removed. The dye in the thread stains the undergarments just as these hurtful words that are said every day to women leave a mark on them.

21. Robin Atlas

20 fiber pieces, each 13” x 13”

Robin  Atlas’s  narrative  entitled  Lashon  Hara  (Hebrew  for  “evil  speech”)  reflects  her  own  personal  experiences  with  hate  speech  as  well  as  looking  at  the  effects  of  hate

speech  in  both  the  physical  and  spiritual  realms.  Her  work  features  twenty  deconstructed  pieces  of  diverse  elements  coalesced  on  hand-dyed,  manipulated  and  collaged  fabric,

using  methods  such  as  hand  embroidery,  freehand  machine  stitching,  printmaking  and  other  creative  techniques.

  1. Nancy Current

In Seeking Wisdom, the First Step Is Silence

Print on plexiglass of a glass painting. 27”x16.5″, 2018

In Seeking Wisdom, the Third Step Is Remembering

Print on plexiglass of a glass painting., 30.5”x16.5″, 2018

In Seeking Wisdom, the Fourth Step Is Practicing

Print on plexiglass of a glass painting. 25.5”x18″, 2018

L’Dor  Vador  (“from  generation  to  generation”  in  Hebrew),  Nancy  Current’s  series  of figurative  glass  paintings  and  prints,  uses  fragments  of  ancient  writings  as  a  metaphor for  the  education  of  children.  The  visceral  attraction  of  light,  color  and  glass  combined  with  non-traditional  glass  painting  and  print-making  conveys  the  responsibility  of  education  and  action  to  prevent  hate  speech  and  its  consequences.

  1. Yona Verwer and Katarzyna Kozera

    Urim & Tumim 5, digital and acrylic paint on canvas, 20 x 16 inches, 2017.
    Urim & Tumim 7, digital and acrylic paint on canvas, 20 x 16 inches, 2017.

The Urim and Tumim were part of a biblical tool of prophecy known as “The Breastplate of Judgment.” In Biblical times during war and national crisis, this breastplate was worn and consulted by the Jewish High Priest. Upon meditation, individual letters would sparkle to display prophetic messages: text messages from above! In these collaborative works by artists Katarzyna Kozera and Yona Verwer the Urim and Tumim are presented in this exhibit as the antidote to hate speech: a direct connection with a higher source of guidance. These talismanic devices guide us to a more elevated way of living / speaking.

 


 

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