Mix, mingle, and marvel. Our ArtSpace gallery (located in the lobby of the Basile Theatre) features a rotating bi-monthly exhibit calendar showcasing the work of emerging and established artists of all disciplines.
Shared History Project: 1700 Years of Jewish Life in German-Speaking Lands
Traveling Exhibit: Leo Baeck Institute
The year 2021 marked the 1700th anniversary of a Roman imperial edict authorizing the municipal authorities of the Roman colony at the site of modern-day Cologne to recruit Jews to serve on the municipal council. This document, preserved in the Vatican Library, is the earliest evidence of a Jewish presence north of the Alps, and institutions in Germany and beyond marked the occasion with a year-long festival of exhibitions, events, and commemoration.
The Leo Baeck Institute (LBI), a New York-based library and archive, joined the commemoration with its Shared History Project, an online exhibition of 58 objects drawn from dozens of institutions and accompanied by essays from leading scholars. This traveling exhibition presents a selection of those objects organized according to recurring themes of Jewish life with links to further reading on the “Shared History Project” Website. A German-language version of the exhibition traveled to German State Parliament buildings in 2021 and 2022, and the English-language exhibition has been displayed in several locations.
ArtSpace Artist: Karen Baldner
The Jewish/German Dialogue Project
How do two Germans talk to each other in a post-Shoah world if they come from a Jewish and a non-Jewish family background? We explore this question through a dialogue that moves not only through the verbal realm but more substantially through the language of the visual arts. We have created works of art that take on the medium of the visual book, a format rooted in the German and the Jewish traditions. Our book-objects are catalysts to our exchanges and witness the process of our intensely personal and artistic dialogue. The work we have created focuses on topics that have emerged from sharing our family histories and the experience of the ‘here and now’ against the backdrop of the Shoah.
Both of us have individually explored issues of the Holocaust through our respective work. Karen Baldner comes from a Jewish-German family persecuted during the Nazi era. She grew up in postwar Germany but today resides as a visual artist in the United States. She works in the media of Artist Books, addressing issues of victimization, empowerment and identity. She teaches book arts at Herron School of Art & Design in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she has established a program for minoring in the book arts. Björn Krondorfer comes from a non-Jewish German family, grew up in Germany, and is now Director of the Martin Springer Institute and Endowed Professor of Religious Studies at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, USA. As a scholar, his research and projects center on the legacy and the intergenerational transmission of the Holocaust. We met in 1992 at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Since then we have cultivated a friendship based on inspiration by each other’s dedication to the legacy of the Shoah as well as larger issues related to violence.
The choice of materials in our joint creative work is influenced by Karen’s aesthetic sensibilities but ultimately rises from the moment of our dialogue and from joint creative inventions which depart from Karen’s visual work. The combination of format and material, such as text, printers ink, turnable pages and multiple layering stems from our joint interest in the book as a cultural tradition, a form of expression and a shared conceptual base.
The exhibit kicks off on the First Friday of the month with a special reception from 6pm to 9pm. Our bar is open and ready to make this the best way to kick off your First Friday gallery tour.