Sunday, January 25, 2009

Long, Good Day

What a great day! It started early, with lil E time and making challah french toast, then i took lil E out to his grandparents, so Karen and I could spend the day in SF, invited to cultural stuff -- a Tehiyah Day School Leadership event at the new Cal Academy of Sciences and a MAGNES lecture at the CCA campus in SF.

At the Academy we were toured around by Tehiyah Day School parent Kang Kiang. it was a great tour. And it was my first visit to the Academy, though Lil E's been several times already with his grandparents and mom.

We got a little lost making our way to CCA. I almost always get lost looking for that campus, and never remember to take the directions. We had to ask for help at the Slow Club. And they were VERY helpful -- GREAT place!

The MAGNES/CCA program included:

Alla Efimova, PhD, MAGNES Acting Director and Chief Curator
Dora Apel, PhD, Wayne State University, Author of “Memory Effects: Holocaust and the Art of Secondary Witnessing”
Naomie Kremer, Artist, CCA (MFA 1993)
Gale Antokal, Artist, CCA (MFA 1984)
Lisa Kokin, Artists, CCA (MFA 1991)

The panel was crafted by MAGNES intern Analisa Goodin. It was a great discussion.

A slight and interestingly unfortunate point was that all the artists were striving to recreate fictional first-hand encounters and Apel was wrapped up in a media driven second-hand accounting [phrase mine] theory, wrapped up in Norman Kleeblatt's brillaint Mirroring Evil; Nazi Imagery/Recent Art at The Jewish Museum, New York from like ten years ago.

Myself, I hated the show then and getting to know Norman, only after I started working at MAGNES five years ago, and then reading the catalog opened my mind in many ways.

Apel didn't really do Mirroring Evil justice. She covered old ground. Still, she was great. The whole group was. And, basically, MAGNES, on-the-ground, schoalrship in-motion is exceeding printed scholarship...as it should. I wasn't able to stick around for the discussion though.

Hey, Leah Garchik was there -- which always floats my boat. I figure, since Leah's the SF Chronicler of where to be, when she is where you are you gotta feel like you are where you are supposed to be.

A dear friend Monte Toole has passed away and I had to be ready to be at the first shiva for minyan with his family at his house in Mill Valley.

At the minyan at Monte's house I saw my friend Dan Schifrin whose work with Josh Kornbluth at San Francsico's Contemporary Jewish Museum just got a write up in The New York Times!

Dan just wrapped up an oral history of Monte, working with the MAGNES.

I prayed the evening prayers with a room full of people, a silent amidah in Mill Valley. It made for a strong, circumspect closure to a rich day. We were gathered for a man I respected greatly, to be with his family at that time. It's a mitzvah. On the ride home there was a show on NPR called "The Good Death."

Gale Antokal's "Procession 3", which she showed during her presentation, is about spilled milk. It is a deeply beautiful work.

No comments: