Conversations on Art and Memory: An Intergenerational Conversation with Mayer Kirshenblatt and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett discussing exhibition opening of They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust at The Judah L. Magnes Museum.
They Called Me Mayer July is the result of a 40-year collaboration between Yiddish anthropologist, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, and her father, Mayer Kirshenblatt.
Alla Efimova is the Chief Curator at the Judah L. Magnes Museum.
Mayer Kirshenblatt grew up in Apt, Poland, and immigrated to Toronto in 1934. Through conversations and interviews with his daughter, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, the acclaimed Yiddish anthropologist, Mayer recreated in remarkable detail a Jewish life in a small Polish city before the Holocaust. In 1990, at the age of 74, Mayer taught himself to paint and has since been illustrating the stories of his hometown. The result of this rare intergenerational collaboration between father and daughter is They Called Me Mayer July, a book and major art exhibition.
Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is University Professor and Professor of Performance Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, where she chaired the Department of Performance Studies for more than a decade. She teaches courses on the aesthetics of everyday life, world's fairs, museum theatre, tourist productions, food and performance, and Jewish performance, folklore, and ethnography. She is affiliated with the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and has served on advisory committees for six interdepartmental programs - American Studies, Liberal Studies, Metropolitan Studies, Religious Studies, Museum Studies, and Asian/Pacific/American Studiesâ€”as well as for the Department of Food Studies and Nutrition at New York University.
She is currently co-convening the Working Group on Jews, Religion, and Media at New York Universityâ€™s Center for Religion and Media, New York University, with Jeffrey Shandler. A major project of the Jewish Working Group is Modiya, an online resource for scholars, teachers, and students (http://modiya.nyu.edu). She is also co-convening the Jews and Performance colloquium, jointly sponsored by the Jewish Theological Seminary and New York University, with Edna Nahshon.