Call for Art: The Jew As The Other


Yiddish New York* invites artists to submit work for a special exhibition, The Jew as the Other, which will be featured from Wednesday, December 23 – Wednesday, December 30, 2015 at the Abrazo Interno Gallery, Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center, 107 Suffolk Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The exhibition will open with a reception on Wednesday, December 23  from 5:00-7:45 PM.

Jurors: Tine Kindermann, Deborah Ugoretz and Yona Verwer.


Being Jewish has become fashionable in Eastern Europe and Germany in no small part due to the resurgence and popularity of klezmer music. Its sound has the power to evoke both emotion and curiosity about Judaism; klezmer is exotic. The Jew has been seen and fetishized as the unknown and exotic other by non-Jews for hundreds of years and has for centuries provided artists with sumptuous imagery. From the myth of Salome, the quintessential femme fatale, over the romanticized belle Juive, the beautiful Jewess, exemplified as Rebecca in Sir Walter Scott’s “Ivanhoe” to the dangerously attractive Jewish man, caricatured in anti-Semitic Nazi Germany pamphlets, Jews have been portrayed as mysterious and provocative.

What is it that makes being Jewish so exotic and appealing? There is no one answer. For some, being Jewish is to exist outside the mainstream, yet still hold true to its values. For others, it is to exist inside a community and hold fast to its culture and practice. For others it is a way to reconnect to a world that has been violently ripped away. However one identifies as a Jew, being one or wanting to be one has some kind of radical other-ness to it.

And so, one wonders…

Is it possible to distill the essence of what makes one Jewish and Other (provocative, different than) and make it concrete in your work? How might your work deal with the issue of being exotic within the context of history and experience?


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*YIDDISH NEW YORK is sponsored by the Center for Traditional Music and Dance, with support from the 14th Street Y, The Workman’s Circle and other organizations.