History museum

Philadelphia Museum of Jewish History reopens

As it stands on the museum’s second floor, Horowitz’s sinister “Untitled” sculpture stands as a massive and mysterious black presence, representing an act of covering up racism and anti-Semitism rather than suppressing it. Horowitz called him Darth Vader.

“It struck me that the form…was kind of like a Readymade response with what to do with these racist monuments from the past,” Horowitz said in the audio tour. “I decided to redo the sculpture in this form, to freeze this moment in time.”

Horowtiz also installed a series of large decals on a second story wall depicting the raised fist emoji in different skin tones. The original raised fist emoji was first introduced in 2015 in a relatively neutral yellow color. It was later offered as a pop-up menu of different skin tones, ranging from white to black.

Artist Jonathan Horowitz has installed giant decals of the raised fist emoji on the second floor of the National Weitzman Museum of American Jewish History, which come in different skin tones. (Peter Crimmins/WHY)

The raised fist, often used to express defiance, took on Black Power and Black Lives Matter meanings when offered in black tones. Horowitz thinks the skin tone context menu unwittingly lends equal credence to white power.

“I think one of the hallmarks of the moment we live in is to explore America’s ideas and ideals more deeply than ever before,” Perelman said. “As a museum located on Independence Mall, our mission is not just to celebrate these ideals, but to unpack them and understand where they succeeded, and were beacons of opportunity, and where we failed.”

Perelman said this approach to the museum’s historical content, presenting it in a contemporary context, will set the standard for Weitzman’s future programming.

“History museums have had problems,” Galperin said, pointing to the recently closed Philadelphia History Museum in Atwater Kent and the transfer of material to Drexel University. “We have redesigned our history museum. We believe history, including American Jewish history, is relevant to the present.

As part of its reopening after the bankruptcy, the Jewish Museum will be free to the public. Galperin says the museum had experimented with free admission in the past, which quadrupled attendance.

Even with free admission, Galperin is convinced that the future of the museum with a larger endowment will be financially solvent. He also said the museum is ready for national exposure, expanding its board to include members from San Francisco and Washington, D.C., and taking a leadership role in American Jewish Heritage Month, which takes place is currently taking place, coordinating programming among 125 partner organizations across the country.

“Not only are we a museum of the history of American Jewry, located in the Independence Mall, but what we have to say and what we have to share is important and relevant today,” he said. he declares. “It’s part of thinking about how to move forward.”