POSTED ON JULY 13, 2011:
From Pillar to Posters
A new exhibit highlights the history of nation-building
On exhibit at the Sherwin Miller Jewish Museum, 2021 E. 71st St., is Building the Land: Jewish National Fund Zionist Posters, which explores both the art created by the Jewish National Fund to garner public support for the organization and the history of the organization itself.
The Jewish National fund was founded in 1901 at the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, for the purpose of buying land in Ottoman Empire-controlled Palestine with the hopes of eventually creating a Jewish state.
Books and stamps were published in a fundraising effort, and Blue Boxes were placed in Jewish homes so that every family could contribute to the fund.
"The very act of collecting funds in a Blue Box strengthened the bond that the Jewish community felt with their homeland and its people," a press release from the museum reads. "It was an expression of the irrevocable ties between Diaspora Jewry and Eretz Yisrael, as well as a way to tie disparate communities together as one people. Alone, Jews could not attain their dream of a return to the Homeland, but together, through Jewish National Fund, they could build a nation."
Since its inception, the Jewish National Fund has developed more than 250,000 acres of land in Israel, planted more than 240 million trees, built more than 200 dams and reservoirs and created more than 1,000 parks.
"JNF's work is evident in every facet of life in Israel, from beautiful forests to vital reservoirs to the innovative farming techniques being used on kibbutzim throughout the nation," the museum says.
In the U.S., the Jewish National Fund has committed to education, connecting students to their homeland.
The posters in the exhibit at Sherwin Miller trace the development of the Jewish state through art, created in the 1950s and '60s, that was intended to both document the Jewish National Fund's progress and aid in worldwide fundraising efforts.
Images with titles like "In the Kubbitz," "In the Village" and "In the Orange Grove" depicted Jewish life in an effort to stir up support for the Jewish National Fund. By showing viewers how good life was (or could be) for Jews repatriated to Israel, those living in other parts of the world could be encouraged to donate funds to the JNF's efforts.
As important as the posters are to the Jewish National Fund's history, they're also beautiful works of contemporary art. The same elements that made them successful as posters -- bright colors, straightforward subject matter, layers of symbolism -- also make them interesting works of art.
Though the exhibit has been hanging since last Sunday, it officially opens with a reception and gallery talk on Thursday, July 14, at 5:30pm. The gallery talk, given by Tulsa Community Shalicha Edna Lapidot, begins at 6pm and is titled "Zionism in JNF Posters: The Real and the Ideal."
The exhibit is on display through Sept. 25. Museum hours are Monday through Friday, 10am-5pm, and Sunday, 1-5pm. More information is at jewishmuseum.net.
In the galleries
•On display at the Tulsa Artists' Coalition Gallery, 9 E. Brady St., is Tulsa Taboo, the third exhibit in the gallery's You Can't Show That in Tulsa series.
For Tulsa Taboo, a juried exhibition of works by local artists, TAC Gallery challenged artists to submit unexpected -- even controversial -- art, art that asks questions, challenges conventions and maybe even pushes a few buttons.
The exhibit opened July 1 and is on display through July 30. Gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday, from 6-9pm, or by appointment. More information is at tacgallery.org.
•Lot No. 6, 1323 E. Sixth St., is showing work by Venezuela-born designer Winston Peraza. The founder of Cubic in Tulsa, as well as other design firms, Peraza specializes in interactive design, print media, branding, and environmental design. His exhibition at Lot No. 6 consists of new work.
Gallery owner Vanessa Somerville said: "Winston's work shows a satirical side of everyday life that is on one hand comical and on the other had very honest. The most obvious message may in fact be that obvious."
More information and gallery hours are available at lotno6.com or by calling 918-582-9999.
There's still lots to see on stage this week, especially if you've got kiddos.
•Sapulpa Community Theatre, 124 S. Water St. in Sapulpa, continues its run of The Real Story of Little Red Riding Hood: A Children's Musical, July 15-17. In this version of the classic tale, the Wolf (not as big and bad as you might remember), feeling maligned by the traditional story, tells his side of it -- and asserts that Little Red Riding Hood isn't as sweet and innocent as you may think.
Evening performances of the show begin at 8pm, and Sunday's matinee is at 2pm. Reservations, ticket prices and other information are available at sapulpacommunitytheatre.com or by calling 918-227-2169.
•At the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, 110 E. Second St., Encore! Theatre Arts presents Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This version of the story is based on Roald Dahl's book and resembles the 1971 Gene Wilder flick. Performances begin at 2pm and 7:30pm in the John H. Williams Theatre July 15-17. More information and tickets are available at tulsapac.com.
•On July 15 at 8pm in the Tulsa PAC's Charles E. Norman Theatre, Seana Warren presents Morgan's Folly, an original two-act comedy about the role of social media in Hollywood.
The play centers on Samantha Morgan, an Oscar-winning actress whose life has recently fallen apart, thanks to the indiscretions of her husband. Soon, paparazzi and social media "journalists" swarm her Beverly Hills mansion, barricading a whole host of characters inside for one of the longest media days in Hollywood history. Personal assistants, agents, lawyers, servants and a locksmith join in the fun in this Simon-esque play about worshiping false idols made by the media.
Tickets to the show are $7 and available at the PAC's website.
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