In an interview with Jerry Blumenthal as part of Kartemquin Films' 1994 project "Chicago Crossings: Bridges and Boundaries," artist Claire Wolf Krantz talks about her current project, race relations, and growing up as a Jewish-American woman in the mid-20th century.
0:40Copy video clip URL Claire Wolf Krantz talks about the Hebrew Book of Life as inspiration for her piece for the “Bridges and Boundaries: Chicago Crossings” show. “What the meaning of this prayer is, and [Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur], is that you have to create a society you can live in, and that you’re not an individual living by yourself,” Krantz explains.
4:50Copy video clip URL Krantz reveals and explains the plan for her piece, a multimedia piece comprised of paintings and text: “I decided to make a giant Book of Life that would look like one of those big Webster’s dictionaries, open.”
9:03Copy video clip URL Krantz talks about some of the phrases she wrote to be included in her piece outlining the problems between Blacks and Jews, as well as the difference between tolerance and respect.
10:42Copy video clip URL Krantz explains to the Kartemquin crew that the act of showing and explaining unfinished pieces is very hard for her. “I always know what I did better after I did it…I find out what I’ve been thinking after I do it,” she says.
12:03Copy video clip URL Krantz and Kartemquin crew member Jerry Blumenthal return to their conversation on the difference between tolerance and respect, and Krantz talks about the barriers she and other Jews faced growing up. “I used to get really angry when Blacks or Latinos would make me the establishment because I have white skin. As a woman? As a Jew? You’re making me the establishment? I’m not blonde! And I’m not a young man!” exclaims Krantz.
15:40Copy video clip URL Krantz talks about how the Chicago Crossings project has helped her gain a more sympathetic view of others. “I think the process of working with these words is also a process for me to open up to other peoples’ problems that are different from mine, but come from the same sources,” she explains.
18:40Copy video clip URL “I don’t think that Blacks are as different for Jews as they are for other kinds of Whites, who have never had to deal with being the Other. I don’t think Blacks know that at all,” Krantz suggests.