New videos by Kartemquin documenting visual artists

Chicago Crossings: Bridges and Boundaries
(Kartemquin Films, 1994)

We’re pleased to unveil a newly digitized collection of 100 camera original tapes by Kartemquin Films. The tapes were shot for an uncompleted project documenting visual artists called Chicago Crossings: Bridges and Boundaries. The entire collection is now available for free online as the result of an 18-month project funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

In addition to digitizing all 100 tapes shot for the program, we also created a collection guide that highlights the major themes and characters in the footage. Dive in at:


In 1994, the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership brought together six African-American artists and six Jewish artists to create new work for an ambitious art exhibition.

The artists were given minimal constraints on what to produce, with only the guiding principle that the work should in some way connect to the exhibition’s overarching theme—the relationship between the Black and Jewish communities in contemporary America.

The artists included: Othello Anderson (co-curator), Claire Wolf Krantz (co-curator), Edith Altman, Joel Feldman, Marva Jolly, Kerry James Marshall, Gerda Meyer-Bernstein, Esther Parada, John Rozelle, Hamza Walker (under the pseudonym Sonny Venice), Fan Warren, and John Pitman Weber.

Kartemquin’s Jerry Blumenthal and Gordon Quinn shot dozens of tapes documenting the artists as they worked and spoke about their experiences with racism and antisemitism, their thoughts on the intersections of power and oppression experienced by black and Jewish people in America, where the rifts existed between these two groups, and how their relationship might be healed.

The end result was this 23-minute video that accompanied the exhibition at Spertus:

The exhibition was originally intended to be a co-production of both the Spertus Institute and the DuSable Museum of African American History. After the close of the exhibition, Blumenthal and Quinn continued to pursue a larger, unfinished project exploring this breakdown in communication by interviewing the principals from both museums. These tapes are also available as part of the collection.




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