Deborah Kass, “Six Blue Barbras (The Jewish Jackie Series),” 1992. Screenprint and acrylic on canvas. 30 1/2 × 24 × 1 1/2 in. (77.5 × 61 × 3.8 cm). The Jewish Museum, NY, Gift of Seth Cohen. Credit: (C) Deborah Kass

Personas: Artists on Artists 
Now Through April 2023

The installation Personas: Artists on Artists explores artists’ portrayals of other artists and themselves, offering an historical view of Jewish identities in all their many facets. Artists included are Ethel Fisher, Andrea Geyer, Lyle Ashton Harris, Deborah Kass, Alex Katz, Alice Neel, Arnold Newman, Gordon Parks, Larry Rivers, Joan Semmel, Andy Warhol, Hannah Wilke, and Martin Wilner. Personas: Artists on Artists is on view in the Jewish Museum’s third floor collection exhibition, Scenes from the Collection, Now through April 2023.

The Jewish Museum’s collection includes portraits dating from antiquity to the present, most either by Jewish artists or of Jewish sitters. The depictions of Jewish artists and subjects express a range of perceptions related to the human fascination with identity and our sense of the self and the collective.

The installation includes 25 works from the Jewish Museum’s collection. Andy Warhol’s obsession with mass media, art, photography, film, and fame is expressed in his screenprint of the Marx Brothers from 1980, using the bold color, stark geometry, and incisive lines of Pop art. Deborah Kass appropriates the methods of Warhol for her own canon of Jewish celebrities, ironically adopting his techniques in her work Six Blue Barbras (The Jewish Jackie Series) (1992), in which she places Barbra Streisand in the pantheon of famous Jewish women. 

Giving intimate attention to her own body, Joan Semmel inverts the western artistic tradition in which the female nude is the passive object of the male gaze in her large-scale self-portrait painting titled Sunlight (1978). A selection of Hannah Wilke’s self-portraits from 1990 are made of interlaced smears of paint in a precisely dated sequence, fixing the fatal passage of time as she was treated for cancer. 

Arnold Newman photographed many illustrious cultural figures of the twentieth century in a black-and-white style of emphatic, gritty elegance, which became classic in modern portrait photography. The installation includes a selection of portraits, from the 1940s to the 1980s, of luminaries such as Marc Chagall, Louise Nevelson, Man Ray, Lisette Model, George Segal, and Ben Shahn, among others.

About the Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum is an art museum committed to illuminating the complexity and vibrancy of Jewish culture for a global audience.  Located on New York City’s Museum Mile, in the landmarked Warburg mansion, the Jewish Museum was the first institution of its kind in the United States and is one of the oldest Jewish museums in the world. The Museum offers diverse exhibitions and programs and maintains a unique collection of nearly 30,000 works of art, ceremonial objects, and media reflecting the global Jewish experience over more than 4,000 years. The public may call 212.423.3200 or visit TheJewishMuseum.org for more information.