Exhibitions

Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War and the Holocaust
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Although World War II is one of the most documented conflicts of the 20th century, western audiences have had little exposure to Soviet photographic images. 

Opening April 25, 2013 at Holocaust Museum Houston, the exhibition “Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust” features 58 photographs revealing the war as presented through the lens of the most important Soviet photojournalists.

The exhibition remains on view through Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013 in the Museum’s Central Gallery.

Printed over six decades, the collection highlights works by Evgenii Khaldei, Georgii Zelma and Dmitrii Baltermants, among others, from the dawn of the Soviet era and throughout the Great Patriotic War, also known as the war’s Eastern Front. A large number of Soviet photojournalists were Jewish, and the exhibition explores aspects of what this religious and cultural identity might have meant when confronting war and Nazi persecution through Soviet and Jewish eyes. Charged by the Stalinist state to tell the visual story, these artists were emotionally and intellectually connected to recording the Holocaust. With their compelling war photography, they were the first to document the liberation of Nazi sites of atrocity – three years before others chronicled the liberation of concentration camps in Germany. 

The exhibition encompasses art, culture and aesthetics with photographs spanning the Nazi-Soviet war, from June 22, 1941 until V-Day on May 9, 1945. The opening section contextualizes the wartime images within the Constructivist and Socialist Realist tradition of Soviet photography from the 1920s and 1930s.

On loan to Holocaust Museum Houston by the CU Art Museum, University of Colorado Boulder, the exhibition was curated by David Shneer, director of the Program in Jewish Studies and professor of history at the University of Colorado and Lisa Tamiris Becker, director of the CU Art Museum. 

Inspired by Shneer’s critically acclaimed book of the same title and National Jewish Book Award finalist, “Through Soviet Jewish Eyes” highlights the central challenge to avant-garde aesthetics and to “art” itself that was posed by the war and by Soviet culture of the time.

Featured photographs include several currently housed in private collections that have never before been displayed to the public. Ranging from large-scale dramatic prints to intimate-scaled vintage prints, the exhibition calls attention to the afterlife of the photographs and the continued interest of contemporary society and the art world in viewing them.

The public is invited to a free reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 16, 2013. Admission is free, but advance registration is required for the reception. Visit http://www.hmh.org/RegisterEvent.aspx to RSVP online.

For more information, call 713-942-8000 or e-mail exhibits@hmh.org.

April 25, 2013 — October 27, 2013

M – F: 9 am to 5 pm
Sa: 10 am to 5 pm
Su: Noon to 5 pm

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