What if?

During the week of October 21 to 27, 2013 the Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin, in cooperation with Kulturkind e.V., will host readings, workshops, and an open day for the public with the theme “Multifaceted: a book week on diversity in children’s and young adult literature.” Employees of various departments have been vigorously reading, discussing, and preparing a selection of books for the occasion. Some of these books will be introduced here over the course of the next few months.
Multifaceted books for children and young adultsThe German cover of the young adult book A Time of Miracles shows a girl balancing in shallow water on a barrel. It strikes me as a pretty, melancholy cover. However, it doesn’t fit the book. (The beach plays no role in the story and the protagonist is a boy.) I hand the book to my 12-year-old daughter and she thinks it looks like a book for adults. My question – whether this is a good or a bad thing – is answered with a shrug.
Never judge a book by its cover.
Crack it open and read:  continue reading

Naked Ladies, Political Messages

R.B. Kitaj, Juan de la Cruz, 1967 © R.B. Kitaj Estate. Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo

 Only now do I realize, really examining my favorite Kitaj painting closely, that Juan de la Cruz also has those explicit and aggressive sexual components so peculiar to his work: naked women are a vehicle for political messages (here about the Vietnam War) and historical episodes, for instance about St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, and their Jewish origins, which I find inherently problematic. Despite this, however, I like the painting: the many powerful colors, the deep blue sea under the brilliant blue sky, the green cap on the soldier’s head, and the yellow behind him. The painting and the contradictions it binds together – the soldier’s finely-drawn features beside the sober geometric forms – they emanate something of summer’s optimism.

For more on R.B. Kitaj, see: www.jmberlin.de/kitaj/en

Christine Marth, Publications