[Chicago Crossings: Bridges and Boundaries, reel 66; Gallery Interviews]

The Kartemquin video crew interviews two women about their reactions to the work on display at the Spertus Museum of Judaica's 1994 exhibition "Bridges and Boundaries."

0:00Copy video clip URL Tone over incidental footage of a man sitting at a desk, followed by footage inside the exhibition as the crew prepares their shot.

1:28Copy video clip URL A woman attending the exhibition comments on Esther Parada and Hamza Walker’s installation. “It doesn’t make any difference who you are. … It’s all the same facial features. It’s beautifully illustrated and I think it’s easy enough for anyone to understand. … The features in the background image really aren’t important—just that it’s a human being.” She also comments on Claire Wolf Krantz’s piece.

4:45Copy video clip URL Jerry Blumenthal presses the woman to discuss if there are still differences between blacks and Jews, even if at our core we are all the same. She says it is a reality that there is distrust, but that it’s fictitious because that trust “has no real basis.” She cites Gerda Meyer-Bernstein’s piece as showing the current state of things, but doesn’t think the work provides any sense of hope for the future, which she feels should be there. Blumenthal provides context about how hope might still be expressed in Meyer-Bernstein’s piece, including its title, “Phoenix.”

7:30Copy video clip URL They move over to Joel Feldman’s pieces, which the woman says are “beautiful” but she admits she doesn’t understand them. Blumenthal helps explain Feldman’s intentions to her. They then move to Edith Altman’s installation, which the woman talks about at length.

15:25Copy video clip URL She comments on another piece, “When I first saw this, I was looking to identify, are these blacks, negros, or Jews? Who are they? And then a moment later I realized it didn’t make any difference. … It has a feeling of poverty that both groups have had experience with.” Blumenthal also asks her about why she lives in Jerusalem and she talks about her Zionism.

19:35Copy video clip URL At Blumenthal’s request, the woman moves to Kerry James Marshall’s photographic series. She has a negative reaction to it. She says she is turned off by seeing it used in graffiti, and feels like she is being made fun of. “It’s not worthy of my attention.” She says the various ways the Jewish star has been appropriated feels like a “violation” to her.

22:30Copy video clip URL B-roll of Marshall’s work.

23:00Copy video clip URL The crew records another woman as she looks at Parada and Walker’s work.

26:18Copy video clip URL They ask the woman about her response to the exhibition. She says she’s still thinking about the work in the show and is still taking everything in, but thinks it is “admirable, laudable” that the museum would do a show like this. She says she is very pleased with the content of the show, overall. They ask her about her familiarity with multicultural issues and she says that she is Dean of Multicultural Affairs at the Art Institute. She wonders if the show will be able to attract people who aren’t already concerned with these problems and issues. Blumenthal suggests that the mural project may help widen the project outside of the more secluded museum culture. The woman says, “But I wonder, if you ask many people if they knew what [the mural] was, if they would be able to articulate that, because so many people just pass by so many images. … I wonder how many people actually stop and process what they’ve seen.”



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