02 March 2008


A further explanation and deeper look at the collaborative piece with Michael.

I thought some of you may wish to view the images that did not make it into the article about our piece in Cloth Paper Scissors Issue 16.

At the outset I would like to say yet another thanks to CPS for their generosity of space that they afforded this piece. It was remarkable and I am eternally grateful.

The box, which houses the books, represents an oven at Auschwitz. As I take you through, you will understand more.

When viewing the front of the piece one can see the train tracks leading into Auschwitz which sits behind a piece of smashed glass that has been treated with paint.

The word Zachor, which in Hebrew means “remember” and is the symbol of the Holocaust, is placed in the very middle of the front of the box.

The wire coming from that attaches to the pressure gauge, unifying the elements but more importantly purveying the message of the what really went on when so many people were told they were going to have a shower only to find that they were crammed into a room and xyclon b gas emitted from the so called shower heads – the gauge – allowing the Nazi’s to know when the right amount of gas was released to kill hundreds at a time.

Michael had torn the number 120 from an old ledger. Little did he know what that number meant? For in Judaism, when someone celebrates their birthday,

We say, may you live to be 120 – emulating, as it were, the life of Moses who lived to that age.

Hence his picking 120 out of a ledger with 400 pages was extraordinary in context to the subject matter.

The image of the woman is one who was killed. She, representing the 6 and the million written just above her head.

The Star of David was found on an old lock that we found so that was detached and placed at the crown of the piece. The main part of the lock was used later as you will see.

The crystal pieces represented the fires burning at the crematoria, 24 hours a day for many years, killing, not only Jews but Homosexuals, Gypsies’, Little people and others that did not fall into the Aryan criteria.
The crystals emanate from a sink drainer - which looks very similar to the small hole in the ceiling from which came out the gas.

The piece with the door opened.

You should be able to see 3 rocks placed in a grate at the base.

Jews do not take flowers to a gravesite. Instead we place a rock, a piece from the earth, on the grave of the departed. Hence the 3 rocks representing the 3 immediate family members, that my father lost in Auschwitz. His mother, younger sister and brother.

The back of the piece where cleverly Michael took apart a pipe type object which is almost identical to the look of the actual oven doors where the bodies were cremated. He is a genius!

The 111 – representing the 3 family members.

Side view...
Behind the rusted grill is an image of a little boy waiting to go to Buchenwald Concentration camp. The transparency is difficult to see here but he is wearing an armband with that name on him.

The other side view ...
There is another image of a man with his religious shawl on and those around him in their striped garb.

This is how the books look inside the piece with the door opened.

I will blog about the books in the next post.
The Art and Soul Portland workshops are up for viewing.
You can see the classes I will be teaching there.


Karine said...

Thank you Judy for sharing this piece and its story. As usual, it is an amazing piece.

Erasmuse said...

I am speechless...I will be watching for the next post.

May this piece help others to learn from the atrocities of the past.


Sue said...

I have never seen art speak as loud or as clear as this does of something that must continue to be told over and over until people really hear it. Thank you for sharing it.

Steph said...

Breath taking and strong and moving and heavy in meanings ...

Teresa said...

This is an awe-inspiring piece - thank you for sharing it with us. It tells a very powerful story, and you and Michael are doing it justice.

Lelainia N. Lloyd said...

Can you explain a bit more about the stones? I know poeple do this-I have done it and I wondered what the significance is. I know that for me it is like saying "I was here" and bringing a piece of the place I have been with me for the person who died so we can be connected. It's sort of symbolic of showing them where I have been.

Christie said...

Amazing piece and heart wrenching story. I can't wait to see about the books.

lindaharre said...

Oh Judy......once again you have shocked me into reality! Any problems I might be having seem so sunny by comparison.........OMG...your pieces move me so!!!!!!!!!! Thank you to you and Michael for keeping alive the story...WE MUST NEVER FORGET! The box and books are magnificent and as always such attention to detail and story line! You are a creative force that is just now finding it's way to the public......can't wait to see what comes next:D Linda

Cheralyn said...

I was lucky enough to see this astounding piece at Michaels workshop in Sydney. As maganificent as your photography is in capturing it Judy... STILL in 'real life', believe it or not everyone,... it's EVEN MORE BREATHTAKING. An amazing creation that is beautiful, significant and layered so richly with meaning and history.

Ro Bruhn said...

This is definitely a work of art Judy, should be in the National Gallery. Thanks for showing the detailed photos.

azirca said...

What an absolutely stunning piece, both in creation and meaning. I am truly moved.
It must have been a somewhat emotional experience creating this, especially being able to share the journey with Michael.

Tricia Scott said...

simply stunning judy!
as always!
i thank you for sharing this. i am always amazed at the synchronicites.

Jen Crossley said...

Stunning!!! Just Stunning!!
What amazing piece of ART I agree with Ro It should be in a art gallery.
I found it a very moving piece.
Outstanding as always

artfulzebra said...

Thank you, Judy & Michael, for sharing this inspiring piece. So powerful and moving.

thealteredpage said...

Extraordinarily meaningful and moving. I applaud you both for consistently creating art that is truly important, relevant, and soul stirring.

Leslie said...

I am always amazed at the thought that goes into every small detail of your work and how powerful the finished pieces are. It is special that Michael and you worked together on this piece. It is stunning. Thank you for the further explanation. It looked great in CPS, by the way.

And I have been poring over the course descriptions for Art and Soul since they opened up Friday night. If it was a paper catalog, it would be dog-eared by now!

Cindy Dean said...

This piece should be at the Holocaust musuem. It is so incredible.

Sue said...

I am at a complete loss for words Judy. Thankyou with all my heart for sharing such a deep, emotional piece.

Julie H said...

Judy I feel honoured and humbled to have read this post. I know the holocaust is a public event and needs to be remembered and yet this is such a personal interpretation, even before I see the books. The blending of your heart and history with Michaels talent is truely amazing.
How I wish you could come to my school and take the students through this.

kelsey said...

Well, what can I say that hasn't already been said so succinctly by the others about this wonderfully inspiring piece of art. What a collaborative effort between you and Michael, yep....you are definitely soul-mates!!!

Karen Cole said...

I knew that there was so much more to what I saw in the magazine. Your images are hauntingly beautiful, as always.

What a team you two make!

I still think you should send these photos to the Holocaust Museum in Washington or the Liberty Museum in Philadelphia.

Judi Delgado said...

Judy. You break my heart each time I look at your blog. And yet, I am uplifted as well.

Is it only me? The back of the piece looks to me like a terrifying face with a mouth that is wide open to swallow everything..as it does the "111". I suppose we all see different things in art and yours is so rich and deep that one can continue to find meaning each time. Thank you and Michael for these gifts.

See you at Artfest.

Lissy said...

Fabulous and wonderful and amazing as always Judy :)

Susan Tuttle said...

This piece moves me on such a deep level, that I cannot find the words to describe the feelings.

Your collaboration with Michael is brilliant.

I am so excited that you will be teaching at Art and Soul.


katie said...

deeply moving and hauntingly beautiful. i try to imagine what it was like working on this piece, infused with such personal and historical meaning and sorrow, for all those days/weeks/months you and michael were creating it (sigh...). i agree with ro, it should be in the national gallery. thank you for providing us a deeper gaze into the piece - i'll be looking forward to hearing about the letters.

Your art and soul classes look fabulous!

Judy Wise said...

It's taken me more than one day to get through this post. I am filled with sorrow that you lost your grandmother, aunt and uncle. Your work is so powerful. Thank you again for taking the time to share it with us. Only in that way can we learn from the past and grieve with the families who lost so much. Your work is just incredible - I can't resist saying it again.

Sam Marshall said...

What an amazing piece-it is incredible.

rochambeau said...

Dear Judy,
So much thought and consideration has gone into your collaboration with Michael such power your work has. I did see you article in CPS, and am grateful to have the chance to see these photos too. The part about the rocks really gets to me. Made me tear up.


burntofferings said...

i must tell you that i was very affected by your book and it gave me chills. being adopted, i never knew my personal history and even though i was raised in an italian family, i always believed i was jewish and everyone who meets me asuumes that i am. your piece is brilliant and speaks volumes.
~ linda

donnaj said...

Amazing to see more of this work-beautiful in a sad way.

Lynn said...

Judy, I am sure I am not alone in my emotions being evoked from looking closely at this incrediable piece of art. Everything, every part, the words, the numbers, the pictures, the pieces chosen all so rich in meaning of the most horrible, unimaginable, horror of our times.

Today, in my office a woman relayed to me a Jewish slur her boyfriend had "called her". (She is not Jewish, and I do not think she knew how offensive what she said was to me.) I felt so torn, do I stop the therapy and teach her what her words mean and how they hurt? (me, others?)I said something softly quickly but do not think it registered. Maybe I will bring it up next time. She should know this is not right, not okay. Shame on him. Shame on me for not speaking up more loudly, definitively. Oy.

I wonder if you might take this work to schools and tell the history and show it through your art?

Janine said...

I too have been privileged to see this amazing creation in person.

Judy, to hear you explain this amazing piece of artwork was wonderful. There is so much love put into it and it shows. I was both fascinated by the workmanship and saddened by the history at the same time.

Thank you for allowing us the honour of viewing it.


Redness said...

Thank you Judy for your generosity in sharing and explaining this mind boggling creation! Applause, applause too on another brilliant mention from a reader in the latest CPS ... deservedly so!

Kim Logan said...

this is a very beautiful and sentimental piece of work,CPS doesn't do it justice at all,I hope you consider publishing a book in the future, its most certainly worthy.

Carla said...

I'm so glad that you posted these pictures--the CPS article was great, but the photos accompanying the article didn't even begin to capture the detail of this artwork.

Here's to getting it all done before Artfest :D I'll send along positive thoughts for you.

Have a great weekend Miz Judy--I'm busy in your Protection book!

vintagemoonstudio said...

I am, of course, way beyond words over the incredible significance of this piece of art. I only wish I could see it in person. Your A/S classes sound so wonderful - maybe next year! xox Deb

Roberta said...

This is sooooo wonderful!!! What a treasured gift you have, I love the latest work!!

symbologia.blogspot.com said...

Judy, your work is the most moving display of compassion and creativity. Do you exhibit anywhere (or will you in the future) in the U.S.? I would love to see it up close.