The Steerage on view September 25, 2015 – February 14, 2016
By Debbie Wells
Attending the Press Preview
On September 21st, I was invited to a media/press preview of the latest exhibits at the Jewish Museum to report my observations on our Artful Circle on-publication, Artful Observer. I hadn’t been to the Jewish Museum in a long while, but was quickly reminded of its beauty as I approached its stately home on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street directly across from Central Park. Housed in the elegant Warburg Mansion on Museum Mile since 1944, the building was designed in French Gothic chateau-style by architect Charles P.H. Gilbert in 1908.
The Deputy Director Jans Hoffmann and the museum curatorial staff presented all its newest exhibits to the press and then encouraged us to explore the galleries for a few hours on our own before the museum opened to the public. I was immediately attracted to an exhibition that I thought would be of interest to our Artful Circle members. Many times, our groups have enjoyed the work of Alfred Steiglitz and his wife, famous artist Georgia O’Keefe at art galleries and museums. This exhibit at the Jewish Museum centers around a single photograuvre by Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) entitled, The Steerage which the artist considered the greatest of his career. He even stated later in his life, “If all my photographs were lost, and I’d be represented by just one, The Steerage, I’d be satisfied.”
I met with Rebecca Shaykin, Leon Levy Assistant Curator, for a close-up look at the exhibit. First, she explained the concept behind their popular Masterpieces & Curiosities series, in which The Steerage is the fifth exhibit. The series showcases individual works in the Jewish Museum’s world-renowned collection.