Yiddishkeit: The Exhibition

by CJS
A panel of ‘Yiddishkayt in the 21st Century,’ by Joel Schechter, illustrated by Spain Rodriguez. (Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular & the New Land, Edited by Harvey Pekar and Paul Buhle, Published by Abrams ComicArts)

A panel of ‘Yiddishkayt in the 21st Century,’ by Joel Schechter, illustrated by Spain Rodriguez. (Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular & the New Land, Edited by Harvey Pekar and Paul Buhle, Published by Abrams ComicArts)

Opening Reception:
January 28, 2013,
4:00 p.m.

UW Hillel
(611 Langdon Street)

Free and open
to the public
during Hillel’s regular hours
(8:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.)

Click here for a slideshow of select images from the exhibition!

The Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies presents an exhibition of comic art posters exploring the concept of Yiddishkeit, roughly translated as “Yiddish culture or sensibility.” Drawn from the 2011 book Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular and The New Land, edited by the late comic art icon Harvey Pekar and distinguished cultural historian (and UW alumnus) Paul Buhle, the posters feature comic art that examines the impact of pivotal figures and movements in Yiddish literature, theater, music, politics, and comedy.

Pekar and Buhle collected comics from artists who work in a wide range of styles; the posters on display feature both well-known and underground comic artists, including Sharon Rudahl, Peter Kuper, Sabrina Jones, and Nick Thorkelson. In addition to sketching the biographies of Yiddish-culture luminaries like Molly Picon, Moishe Oysher, and “Yip” Harburg, the comics in the book also trace the history of the Yiddish language, the transmission of Yiddish culture to America, and its influence on American popular culture.

Harvey Pekar, author of numerous comics and graphic novels and subject of the award-winning film American Splendor (2002), drew upon his own heritage as the child of a Yiddish-speaking household in editing this collection. Yiddishkeit was the last completed major work on his life; the book and posters are influenced by Pekar’s distinctive style. Paul Buhle, who studied with UW–Madison history professor George Mosse and received his PhD from UW–Madison in 1976, recently retired from Brown University. He has published a number of books on a wide range of topics that include Jewish-American history, the history of left-wing politics in America, comic art history, and Wisconsin history.

The Yiddishkeit exhibition is sponsored by the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies through the generosity of Marv and Babe Conney, and UW Hillel. Additional support comes from the Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture.