Spertus Moves Back to the Edge

After their last edgy exhibition was shut down by the Chicago Federation, the Spertus Museum has come back undaunted with “Twisted Into Recognition: Cliches of Jews and Others.” Their latest offering, which comes from the Jewish Museums of Berlin and Vienna,

explores the ways images and objects that depict stereotypes are seen, perceived, and classified. Stereotypes and clichés are an integral part of our perception, shaping our image of ourselves and others as well as our sense of belonging to a distinct group or nation apart from others. Through their simplification, these characterizations may help us to overcome our fear of the unknown, but at the same time, serve as a breeding ground for racist ideologies.

Kudos to Spertus (and especially curator Rhoda Rosen) for continuing to offer probing and challenging explorations of the contemporary Jewish experience – and for refusing to be intimidated by those who are threatened by such.

For more on “Twisted,” check out this recent review in the Chicago Tribune.

1 thought on “Spertus Moves Back to the Edge

  1. Lesley W.

    Yup, stereotypes stink, and we all buy into them mindlessly. The photo of Barbie in a tallit reminds me of the odious Fox humor piece, “The NBA Celebrates Hanukkah”, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STXCPg-PHhE which played on two of our most pervasive stereotypes: the dumb black athlete and the dumb blond, (in this case Paris Hilton).

    I was delighted to see Hilton get some of her own back with her witty video rejoinder (www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6I-g0tSuPE) to John McCain’s “dumb blonde celebrity” campaign ad. Let’s hope more targets of stereotypes do the same, and that more thoughtful people like the rabbi and curator Rosens will draw attention to this.


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