The Magnes is excited to announce its exhibition, In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights (1926-1951), created to showcase the Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection, will be traveling to The National WWII Museum from September of 2022 to May of 2023. As The Magnes’ first ever traveling exhibition, this partnership sets in motion plans to showcase the Arthur Szyk and Vishniac collections across the US and internationally.
Located in New Orleans, The National WWII Museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate with the designation by Congress as “America’s National WWII Museum.” The Museum’s mission is to tell the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world—why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today—so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn.
In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights (1926-1951) first opened to the public at The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, UC Berkeley, in January 2020. Following gallery closures caused by the pandemic, the exhibition will be on view again during the academic year 2021-22, prior to its temporary relocation to New Orleans.
Arthur Szyk’s compelling political cartoons placed Nazi genocide, tyranny and racism on the covers of America’s most popular magazines during World War II. Uniquely through art, Szyk was one of the first public figures to take immediate, direct action in bringing attention to the Holocaust as it was being perpetrated. The miniature size of his artwork stands in striking juxtaposition to the magnitude of the themes it confronted and the human rights violations it exposed.
Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University stated “Arthur Szyk becomes a prime mover in the fight against Nazism, in the fight against Fascism, in the greatest war effort the United States had ever undertaken.”
President Biden’s recently appointed United States Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism continued “I think the work is very important. It shows the absurdity of anti-semitism, it shows the horrific nature of anti-semitism and it also brings down the perpetrators, makes them human, it takes them off their pedestal.”
The exhibition includes over fifty original works of art from the Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection, acquired by The Magnes in 2017 thanks to an unprecedented gift by Taube Philanthropies, and features interactive digital workstations created by UC Berkeley students working under Magnes curators Francesco Spagnolo and Shir Gal Kochavi.
“The main work we did in acquiring the Taube [Family] Arthur Szyk Collection was to transform it from a privately held art collection into a publicly accessible one. We are not gatekeepers, we are sharers of cultural content,” said Professor Spagnolo
With this vision, The Magnes looks forward to sharing this exhibition with a wider audience as it travels to The National WWII Museum in New Orleans.