UCLA lecture January 16, on the occasion of the Leve Award

Risky Business: The Future of Jewish Museums
What is the role of Jewish museums? Who are they for? Recent Jewish museum scandals in Berlin and Munich, competing concepts of museums and their role in society, and  efforts to control historical narratives and have made these questions more urgent than ever. What are the implications for the future of Jewish museums in America, Europe, and Israel? This talk will explore these questions in the context of UNESCO’s International Council of Museums’ controversial attempt to redefine “museum” as agents of change.

Legion of Honor, San Francisco, February 22,  on the occasion of the renovation of this work
Cast from Life: George Segal’s Holocaust
In retrospect, it seems inevitable that George Segal would create The Holocaust. The ghostly aura of his earlier white figures, cast from life, seems to prefigure the ensemble that stands today next to the Legion of Honor. Holocaust survivors on the jury for a memorial in San Francisco wanted a powerful statement. Segal won the competition by delivering just that. How did The Holocaust speak to its time and and how does it speak to ours – to Holocaust denial, resurgent antisemitism, and “Never again”? This lecture explores the creation and reception of The Holocaust in relation to these questions and to other works of contemporary art.

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
is Chief Curator of the Core Exhibition at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Poland and Advisor to the Museum’s Director. She is University Professor Emerita and Professor Emerita of Performance Studies at New York University.

She was honored for lifetime achievement by the Foundation for Jewish Culture and received the Yosl Mlotek Prize for Yiddish and Yiddish Culture, honorary doctorates from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and University of Haifa, and the 2015 Marshall Sklare Award for her contribution to the social scientific study of Jewry. She was decorated with the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland for her contribution to POLIN Museum. Most recently she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

She serves on Advisory Boards for the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, Council of American Jewish Museums, Jewish Museum Vienna, Jewish Museum Berlin, and the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, and is an advisor for museum and exhibition projects in Lithuania and Israel. Her publications include Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage and They Called Me Mayer July: A Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust.