Neues Bauen in Tel Aviv 1930-1939. An exhibition of the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen Stuttgart at the Jewish Museum Vienna
February 13 to April 17, 1995
In the 1930s, the largest urban ensemble of modern architecture was created in Tel Aviv. In Eretz-Israel, Europe-trained architects found an opportunity to continue developing an architecture that had been banned by the Nazi Germany. Israel, and above Tel Aviv, the “White City”, are the only places where latter-day observers can experience the full richness and urban potential developed by the oft-criticized classic modernism in architecture.
The photographs by Irmel Kamp-Bandau which will be shown in this exhibition are the outcome of a research project whose objective it was to preserve and safeguard these unique architectural ensembles for posterity. The photographs document the richness and surprising diversity that the “International Style” invented in Europe has produced in Tel Aviv.
In the book “Tel Aviv - Neues Bauen 1930 - 1939” the architectural historian Winfried Nerdinger (Munich) writes:
“In the 30s Jewish architects who had immigrated from Europe in the face of fascism and racism to the then British mandate of Palestine, called Eretz-Israel by the Jewish immigrants produced the most extensive set of buildings ever erected in the spirit of Modern Architecture, and they have hitherto been largely ignored by architectural historians. It is still possible to see today, in Haifa, Jerusalem and especially in Tel Aviv, the ‘White City’ what diversity and possibilities there were in Neues Bauen, but also its limitations.”
Some of the architects featured in the exhibition were either born in Austria or had studied at Austrian universities: Robert Hoff, Josef Neufeld, and Jacov Ornstein.
Curator: Bernhard Purin
Isidor Kaufmann at the Jewish Museum of Vienna: “Rabbis - Bokhers - Talmudic Students”, the first comprehensive retrospective
February 24 to May 7, 1995
The largely unknown world of Eastern European Jewry is at the centre of the first art exhibition organized by the Jewish Museum of the City of Vienna in 1995. The comprehensive retrospective “Rabbis - Bokhers - Talmudic Students — Paintings by the Viennese painter Isidor Kaufmann (1853-1921)”, the Museum presents the leading Jewish genre painter of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Born in 1853 in Arad/Hungary, Isidor Kaufmann, a denizen of the assimilated Jewish class in turn-of-the-century imperial Vienna, created images of a world he had discovered in the east of the vast Hapsburg Empire. Far removed from all modish artistic trends, the painter looked for old Jewish places of worship in Moravia and Hungary and in particular in the shtetls of Galicia and Bukovina. There he found a world of venerable rabbis, industrious students and young Talmudic scholars, which he immortalized in numerous portraits. In addition to his atmospherical genre paintings, he brilliantly executed interiors of synagogues and prayer-houses. In his works, Kaufmann recorded impressions of a culture, of a spiritual and intellectual world that is gone forever. Yet today as in the past, Kaufmann’s paintings are more than mere nostalgic souvenirs of a lost world.
For this comprehensive retrospective, numerous works by Kaufmann were offered as loans by their owners in many countries including Chile and Israel and above all the U.S. and Great Britain; in all, these loans to the Jewish Museum comprise nearly 60 of Isidor Kaufmann’s best works.
Curator: Tobias G. Natter
The Power of Images - Anti-Semitic Prejudices and Myths
April 27 to July 23, 1995
Fifty years after the end of the National Socialist regime that annihilated six million Jews, anti-Semitism has by no means been overcome in the Austrian consciousness. It is above all in private life but also in the mass media that anti-Semitic prejudices resurface more or less openly. Various studies and surveys have shown that this attitude is not limited to a small group of “incorrigibles”. Rather, it consists in a widespread basic frame of mind which is characterized by a rejection of Jews although this is seldom expressly stated. For example, this rejection can be identified in numerous everyday expressions that are determined by images and concepts about what Jews allegedly are or should be. These stereotypical “Jewish images” are not the outcome of actual experiences with Jews but rather result from centuries-old, socially acquired images of strangeness and hostility rooted in the Western process of civilization.
The exhibition presents all significant aspects of the emergence and tradition of anti-Semitic prejudicies and stereotypes, from their first origins to present times. It is to stimulate discussions about the subject, to combat the decades of tabuizing and suppressing the phenomenon of anti-Semitism in the public mind, and to create greater sensitivity regarding all types of prejudices. This complex subject-matter will be rendered visible in the exhibition by means of paintings, objects and documents; the main objective is to represent the “power of the image” for the emergence of prejudices as a result of the interaction of religious, politico-ideological and socio-economic factors.
Curator: Elisabeth Klamper
Volkshalle des Wiener Rathauses
“Hoppauf Hakoah” - A Jewish Sports Club in Vienna, 1909-1995
May 5 to July 30, 1995
In the interwar period, Hakoah Vienna was the most successful all-round sports club of Austria, producing top-class European athletes: the soccer team was Austrian champion in 1924/25; in 1932, Hakoah wrestler Micki Hirschl won two Olympic medals; the women swimmers also won numerous titles in international and national competitions. In other kinds of sport, too, such as hockey, waterpolo, table tennis, tennis, handball, fencing and various types of track-and-field sports, the Hakoah members were amongst the Austrian champions and record-holders.
The fact that Jewish athletes decided to found their own sports club around the turn of the century was rooted in two causes: firstly, Hakoah - the name means “strength” - was founded as an answer to the anti-Jewish sentiments of many sports clubs at the beginning of this century, which even led to Jews being excluded from some of these clubs. Secondly, Hakoah was intended by its members to become a public statement of their Jewish identity, thus disproving the anti-Semitic prejudice that Jews shied all physical exertion and consequently were unable of achieving athletic prowess.
By means of historical photographs, documents and objects, the exhibition at the Jewish Museum of the City of Vienna shows how, as a result of the self-confident attitude of its athletes and officials, the club could become a symbol and public means of expression for Jews who did not believe in assimilation or did not want to have it forced on them. The exhibition documents the consequences of the National Socialist régime for Hakoah, i.e. the prohibiton of the club and the persecution and killing of its athletes and officials. An overview of the postwar situation and developments until the present time concludes the exhibition.
Curators: Karl Haber, Arthur Končar
Emil Mayer - Viennese Types. Photographs of Viennese Life Around 1900
May 19 to July 27, 1995
Emil Mayer is one of the pioneers of modern photography in Austria. He was one of the first to use the new opportunities created by the development of new, small and lightweight cameras. By means of this equipment, it was possible for the first time to photograph people without them noticing and to leave the sterile atmosphere of the studio. Mayer developed a novel form of seeing and observing human behaviour through the camera which years later came to be recognized and referred to as “Life photography”.
In his photographs, Emil Mayer immortalized Viennese everyday life at the turn of the century. Looking at Viennese street-life, he discovered the exemplary and the odd. He observed confrontations of people from the multinational Hapsburg monarchy in its very heart, the Inner City of Vienna. This is also where Mayer had his lawyer’s office; on his way to work, he observed watchmen and porters, flowergirls talking to butcher’s boys, idle strollers and cabs… The vast green expanse called Prater - Mayer lived close by - was the second stage for his photographs. His photographic approach is suffused with life and truly shows people as they really were in those days.
Together with his wife, Emil Mayer committed suicide a few weeks after the “anschluss”, the annexation of Austria by Germany in 1938. His work was largely forgotten. Over many years, Franz Hubmann, himself a distinguished photographer, painstakingly collected what remains of Emil Mayer’s work. The Jewish Museum presents a selection of approximately 120 photographs and, in a separate part of the exhibition, also shows about 40 bromoil prints. This rare technique, all but forgotten today, lends a soft aura of graphic artwork to the original photographs. This technique was an ideal means of expression for Emil Mayer who knew how to use it to maximum effect.
Curator: Werner Hanak
Confiscated. The Collection of the Viennese Jewish Museum after 1938
October 12 to November 26, 1995
The inauguration, in January 1996, of the permanent collection of the Jewish Museum will also mean the first joint presentation, after 58 years, of numerous exhibits collected by the former Jewish Museum between 1896 and 1938.
The exhibition “Confiscated - The Collection of the Viennese Jewish Museum after 1938” refers to this fact by focusing on the history of these exhibits between 1938 and their restitution, which in the case of some items took place only a short time ago. The exhibition venues are identical to those institutions to which the collection of the old Jewish Museum was transfered after expropriation.
Each of these venues features one or several of these confiscated items and places them in a context with documents referring to their forced appropriation, such as an anti-Semitic exhibition at the Naturhistorisches Museum and the subsequent incorporation of the exhibits into other collections. The exhibition is thus presented at the museums and libraries which after 1938 were involved in the expropriation of the collection of the Jewish Museum. In this manner, the Jewish Museum is focusing on one specific aspect of its history while at the same time confronting the other museums and libraries with this history, which is also part of their own.
Curator: Bernhard Purin
Museum of Natural History Vienna
Museum of Ethnology
Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art
Austrian National Library
Vienna University Library