When, at the beginning of the semester, Prof. Francesco Spagnolo, Curator of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, worked with Prof. Isabel Richter, DAAD Professor of History to plan a class visit to The Magnes for her course on Politics and Culture in 20th-Century Germany: Fascism and Propaganda, social distancing requirements were not a consideration. However, due to the global Covid-19 pandemic and governmental shelter-in-place orders, an in-class visit was no longer possible.
Rather than canceling the visit, Francesco was able to leverage the extensive digital resources of The Magnes to prepare an online lecture and guided tour of one of our most recent exhibitions, In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights, which focused on the recently acquired Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection. All images from the exhibition are available online, along with a PDF of the exhibition catalog, gallery installation shots, video interviews with scholars like Deborah Lipstadt (Emory) and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (NYU and Polin Museum), as well as samples of the digital research conducted at The Magnes with UC Berkeley students.
The lecture allowed students to both appreciate the rich background of the collection and of Arthur Szyk’s impressive body of work. It also “zoomed in” on select works by the artist, offering deep visual and intellectual insights on how Arthur Szyk used his art to make Nazi crimes against the Jews during World War II known to the American public in 1943, to document the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and to both ridicule and attack Hitler and the “culture” of Nazi Germany.
You can follow the video recording of the lecture, including the final Q&A with students attending the class remotely, and view a slideshow of the presentation.