(Editor’s note: A more extensive story will appear in next week’s Chronicle.)
“The Eye of the Collector: Images of the New World from the Sigmund Balka Collection” will makes its Pittsburgh debut at the American Jewish Museum as this year’s Anna L. and Irene V. Caplan Exhibit.
The exhibit, which is being as a leading collection of Jewish 19th and 20th century art.
The exhibit runs from Jan. 21 to March 28 in the Perlow Weis Gallery.
Balka includes works in the collection that provides a panoramic impression of Jewish life and Jewish cultural production, all of which represent the creativity of Jewish artists.
The collection reveals a unique perspective of the collector as part of the art world.
“Being a collector enhances my opportunity to capture my own little worlds that hopefully represent more than just things of interest to me,” Balka said in a prepared statement, “but that have a significance that stems from the spring of the human spirit to be the force that helps to regenerate mankind.”
Indeed, the American Jewish Museum will focus on this idea of the human spirit, particularly seen in the great wave of immigration that brought many Jewish people to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The exhibit’s works look at world of the immigrant, whose everyday living in a new world reflect the common human experiences of displacement, change and adaptation. Works by numerous artists explore the gritty urbanized environment that immigrants stepped, showing both joys and hardships.
Other works are infused with social commentary and depict human figures wrestling with the weariness and isolation that result from economic and cultural anxieties.
Balka is a graduate of Williams College class of 1956 and Harvard Law School. His professional career includes service in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, as well as with the New York State Power Authority and in positions of leadership in the Greater New York Metropolitan Food Council, American Corporate Counsel Association and Foundation, American Bar Association Committee of Corporate General Counsel and other entities.
Call the AJM at 412-521-8011, ext. 105, for more information.