Symposium

In conjunction with the publication of Roman Vishniac Rediscovered (International Center of Photography and DelMonico Books•Prestel), ICP and the Center for Jewish History held a daylong symposium on October 25, 2015.

Attended by 500 people, the symposium featured more than 20 world-renowned speakers, including museum directors and curators, scholars in the fields of American, German, and Jewish studies, history, biology and medicine, internationally celebrated editors, archivists, film and art critics, and the award-winning graphic designer of the Vishniac publication. The symposium was co-sponsored by ICP, the Center for Jewish History, the American Jewish Historical Society, the Leo Baeck Institute, and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

The complete program:

Welcome
Judith C. Siegel, Director of Academic and Public Programs, Center for Jewish History
Brian Wallis, Curator, Walther Collection, Former Chief Curator and Deputy Director, International Center of Photography

Keynote Lecture
Maya Benton, Curator, International Center of Photography, Rediscovering Roman Vishniac

Session I

Option A: Berlin, 1920-38
Mitra Abbaspour, Independent Curator and Scholar, Former Associate Curator, MoMA, “A Living Whole”: The Cosmopolitan Culture of Interwar Berlin
Marion Kaplan, Professor, NYU, Jewish Life in Nazi Germany
Michael Berkowitz, Professor, University College, London, Russian Jews and Photography
Judith Cohen, Director, Photo Archives, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, A Different Kind of Holocaust Photographer
Moderator: Frank Mecklenburg, Director of Research, Leo Baeck Institute

Option B: Eastern Europe, ca. 1935-38
Adam Mazur, Art Critic, Art Historian and Curator, Warsaw, Poland, Outsider/Insider: Photographing Polish Jews
Shelley Helfand, Former Reference Historian, JDC Archives, New York, The Role of the Joint in Eastern Europe from 1935-38
J. Hoberman, Film Critic and Professor, the Cooper Union, A Melamed Lights His Cigarette: Vishniac’s Carpathian Outtakes
Eddy Portnoy, Academic Advisor, YIVO Institute and Instructor, Rutgers University, Vishniac and the Yiddish Press
Moderator: Jonathan Brent, Director, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

Lunch Session: Photography and Art Book Design
Designing Vishniac: Award-winning graphic designer Lorraine Wild of Green Dragon Office in Los Angeles, known for her spectacular art and photographic books, will discuss her working process with Brian Wallis, former Chief Curator and Deputy Director at the International Center of Photography.

Session II

Option A: The Netherlands, France and Germany: ca. 1938-39 & 1947
Joël Cahen,
Director, Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam, A Radically Different Style: Jewish Pioneers in the Dutch Polder
Laura Hobson Faure, Professor, Université de la Sorbonne, Paris, Taking a Closer Look at Vishniac in Prewar France
Atina Grossmann, Professor, the Cooper Union, Vishniac and the Surviving Remnant
Steven Hoelscher, Professor, University of Texas, Austin and Academic Curator of Photography, the Harry Ransom Center, A Landscape in Ruins: Roman Vishniac’s Return to Postwar Berlin
Moderator: Avinoam Patt, Professor, University of Hartford

Option B: America, 1941-90
Deborah Dash Moore, Professor, University of Michigan, Roman Vishniac’s New York
Herb Tam, Curator and Director of Exhibitions, Museum of Chinese in America, New York, Vishniac’s Chinatown
Eddy Portnoy, Academic Advisor,YIVO Institute and Instructor, Rutgers University, From the Shtetl to Burlesque
Hasia Diner, Professor, NYU, The Jewish Child in New York
Norm Barker, Professor, Johns Hopkins, The Curious Microscopist
Moderator: Rachel Lithgow, Director, American Jewish Historical Society

Concluding Session and Q&A
Alana Newhouse, Editor-in-Chief, Tablet Magazine in conversation with Judith Cohen, Director, Photo Archives, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C. and Maya Benton, Curator, International Center of Photography

Participant bios can be viewed here:

Generous funding for the program was provided by the Andrew and Marina Lewin Family Foundation, Joyce Linker, the Claims Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, the Center for Jewish History, the American Jewish Historical Society, the Leo Baeck Institute, and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.