"The Synagogue to the Carousel" - Immigrant Jewish Artisans Exhibition #galicia

Pamela Weisberger <pweisberger@...>

There's a fascinating show at the American Folk Art Museum at 45
West 53rd Street in New York City that may be of interest to

"Gilded Lions and Jeweled Horses: The Synagogue to the Carousel"
October 2, 2007 - March 23, 2008

This show traces the journey of Jewish woodcarvers and other
artisans >from Eastern and Central Europe to America and the role
they played in establishing a distinct Jewish culture in communities
throughout the United States. It explores a little known aspect of
American carousel history and its connection to Jewish visual
culture through the artwork of immigrant craftsmen who were inspired
by their memories of the symbols and forms they left behind. Many of
these Jewish artisans who arrived in America at the turn of the
twentieth century found work carving horses and other animals for
the flourishing carousel industry. Until now, the important
historical and aesthetic link between the synagogue and the carousel
has never been documented.

The exhibition shows how the skill and artistry of carving wooden
bimahs and arks evolved into the creation of lions, horses and other
creatures for the carousels in places like Coney Island. The
exhibition features approximately one hundred artworks and objects,
including rare documentary photographs of Eastern European
synagogues >from Galicia and Ukraine, arks and carved gravestones,
sacred carvings, paper-cuts, and carousel animals and represents the
first major study of this important aspect of the Jewish
contribution to American folk art.

For those of you who can't come to New York, the online exhibition
is a treat:


It includes story of Solomon Stein and Harry Goldstein,
Yiddish-speaking immigrants >from Russia, who created the firm,
Artistic Caroussel Manufacturers. Their carousel installation in
New York's Central Park is still in use today.

On December 5, 2007 at 6:30PM the museum will host an illustrated
lecture in collaboration with the Tenement Museum:

"Immigration on the Lower East Side"

Speaker: Steve Long

Thousands of tenements sprouted up on the Lower East Side of New
York during the latter part of the 19th century to provide
inexpensive lodging for immigrants >from Eastern Europe who flooded
into Manhattan. Among the immigrants were Jewish artisan woodcarvers.

The museum's website with complete information on the exhibition,
program, catalog and directions is at:


Pamela Weisberger
Santa Monica, CA

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