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Mark Podwal: All This Has Come Upon Us...

On View November 10, 2015 – March 13, 2016

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The artist, author, and illustrator, Mark Podwal, is best known for his drawings on The New York Times OP-ED page. The exhibition features Podwal’s drawings and paintings of historical threats of antisemitism, combined with verses from the Book of Psalms. With so many recent incidents of antisemitic acts throughout Europe and the U.S., and even right here in Florida, the topic has never been so relevant.

ImageJMOF-FIU is the only Florida recipient to date of one of the limited numbered copies of this body of work, signed by the artist. Podwal originally planned to limit the edition to 10, but due to high demand, he was encouraged to produce 60 numbered copies. These works have already been acquired by prestigious institutions such as: Yale, Harvard, Columbia and Oxford universities, the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. and Yad Vashem in Israel. The portfolio, donated to the Museum by longtime supporter, Dr. Paul Drucker, is number 10 of 60.

Each image in this series depicts a tragedy or injustice in Jewish history, from slavery in Egypt through the Holocaust, and is paired with a verse from Psalms. According to Podwal, “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 ImageAuschwitz…The menorah in the first image, carried away by goose stepping Germans, appears again in the last image with the seven biblical fruits sprouting from its branches. A verse from Psalm 126, the psalm almost chosen as Israel’s national anthem, proclaims, ‘Those who plant with tears will harvest in joy.’ ”

JMOF-FIU Executive Director and Chief Curator, Jo Ann Arnowitz explains the exhibition’s significance, “This exhibit’s 42 drawings all have one common theme: survival. As the exhibit title says, with All This Has Come Upon Us, the Jewish people have survived for more than 5,000 years, through every instance, even the most unthinkable acts of tragedy. With everything happening today in our own communities, across the country and throughout the world, people often express the feeling that, “things have never been so bad.” This exhibit offers a message of hope, inspiration and survival.”

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The original exhibition, All This Has Come Upon Us…, premiered in April 2014 at the Terezin Ghetto Museum outside of Prague, and is scheduled to travel to other institutions in the Czech Republic. In addition, Czech Television has produced a documentary film offering a portrait of the artist and the creative process behind these works. Filmed in Prague, Terezin, Auschwitz, Krakow and New York, the documentary includes interviews with leading personalities discussing Podwal’s art. Podwal is represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, Israel Museum and Library of Congress, among many others.

Exhibition sponsors include Funding Arts Network, Robert Arthur Segall Foundation, Dr. Paul Drucker, Burton Young, Kenneth and Barbara Bloom, Elliot Stone and Bonnie Sockel-Stone, Isabel Bernfeld Anderson, and Anonymous Donor.

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