Joseph Strasser ’53, G’58, H’20 was just 8 years old in 1940 when he and his brother escaped Nazi persecution on a Kindertransport rescue boat. Two years earlier, the Third Reich had annexed their home country, Austria. Their father, Paul,…
SU Press releases second edition of book on the art of VPA professor Jerome Witkin
SU Press releases second edition of book on the art of VPA professor Jerome WitkinFebruary 21, 2006Jaime Winne Alvarezjlwinne@syr.edu
Syracuse University Press has released the second edition of author Sherry Chayat’s “Life Lessons: The Art of Jerome Witkin,” a volume on the work of contemporary realist painter Jerome Witkin, professor of painting in the School of Art and Design in SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. A public discussion with the artist and author, including a slide presentation and book signing, will take place Tuesday, March 7, at 6 p.m. in Watson Theater (316 Waverly Ave.). It is free and open to the public. Paid parking is available in SU pay lots.
“Life Lessons” was first published in 1994. This second edition includes a foreword by San Francisco Chronicle art critic Kenneth Baker and incorporates Witkin’s most recent material from the last decade, including 10 of his most provocative and important paintings. One hundred twenty-two pages in length, the second edition plots the impact of Witkin’s personal life on his creative output and includes new chapters and a new conclusion, 40 color plates, 29 black-and-white illustrations and an updated chronology. It can be purchased for $34.95 (paperback) or $75 (hardback) at booksellers, including the SU Bookstore, located in the Hildegarde and J. Myer Schine Student Center.
Witkin’s art deals with moral issues that have both personal and social significance. His most complex and critically acclaimed works?dark, intense and often disturbing scenes of the Holocaust?have earned him a growing international audience and are often regarded as belonging to an artistic pantheon that includes the works of Lucien Freud, Manet, Ingres, Goya and Courbet. Witkin’s work can be found in the permanent collections of major art museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Smithsonian Institution’sMuseum of Modern and Contemporary Art located in Washington, D.C.; and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.
“My work is about human history and the vulnerability of people. I don’t paint to sell, I paint to tell,” Witkin says. “The past decade has been one of the happiest, exciting and most challenging times of my life, and I am glad to have that period included in this second edition.”
During the past decade, Witkin’s young son has been fighting a rare blood disease with which he was born. His strength, character and the lessons he taught Witkin and his wife about life and death became a “super glue of that time period,” according to Witkin. Over the past decade, Witkin’s son?now almost 12?has become significantly stronger. Witkin’s life experiences during the period became inspiration for his work.
“My destiny is to make pictures which show how we live and what we learn from life,” Witkin says. “Sometimes my son will see a work I’ve done and say, `Wow Dad, that’s over the top.’ My work is dark because I want to express that this is what it’s like to live, to exist?this is reality. Sometimes we live in fear, sometimes we wonder what happens if something goes wrong.”
Chayat, award-winning art critic, author and an adjunct professor at SU’s University College, brings readers into intimate contact with Witkin’s works of the dense, interior landscapes of people and life. She explores Witkin’s paintings on a number of levels, providing interpretations of the works based as much on his life and private journal notes as on formal description. “Life Lessons” is intended for art historians, artists and scholars of contemporary realist art and Holocaust studies.
For information on the discussion and book signing or to obtain review copies of “Life Lessons,” contact Lisa Kuerbis at SU Press at 443-5547or email@example.com.
With more than 1,200 titles in print, SU Press publishes new and groundbreaking books each year in specialized areas including the Middle East, Irish and NativeAmerican studies, Judaica, geography, religion, television and popular culture, and New York state. For more information visithttp://www.syracuseuniversitypress.syr.edu/.