In honor of Women’s History Month, the Maltz Museum would like to honor the accomplishments of women by highlighting the stories of women that can be found in our collections. This week we are focusing on a female artist whose work can be found in The Temple-Tifereth Israel Gallery.
Judith Weinshall Liberman. Six Million. 1988. Fabric, embroidered and appliqued; beads; block printing.
Judith Weinshall Liberman was born in Haifa, Israel (then Palestine) in 1929 and moved to the United States after she finished high school. Liberman went on to receive four degrees from prestigious institutions such as: University of Chicago Law School, University of Michigan Law School, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts-Boston, among others.
After spending a period of time as a law lecturer and writer, she decided to devote her time and attention to art. Since then, she has created several different series that all relate to the human condition, including The Holocaust Wall Hangings. This series contains forty-five pieces that are broken into two categories, Scenes of the Holocaust and Maps of the Holocaust. The piece on display at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, Six Million, is included in the Maps portion of the series and depicts a cropped image of Europe made of disembodied arms in an ominous black and red palette.
Interestingly, each of the arms depicted in this work contain a number which corresponds to the number of Jews murdered in that location. This symbol is a clear allusion to the way in which Nazis would mark and identify their victims. Moreover, the piece also includes red beads sewn throughout the work which adds to the disorienting effect of the wall hanging. By doing this, Liberman further emphasizes the horror and confusion of the Holocaust. The repetition of the disembodied arms highlights the horrors of the Holocaust and the alarming number of deaths that occurred due to the Nazi onslaught.
Liberman’s work seeks to explore the Jewish experience during the Holocaust while also symbolically reinforcing its lasting impact in European and world history. Her inventive and creative techniques truly accentuate her artistic skill and talent. During this month, we celebrate the accomplishments of women artists, like Judith Weinshall Liberman and their courage, expertise and talent in creating art that culturally impacts viewers for years to come.
You can find Liberman’s piece Six Million on display in the Maltz Museum’s The Temple-Tifereth Israel Gallery. Liberman’s series “The Biblical History Wall Hangings” and “Zodiac Series” are currently on display at The Temple Museum of Jewish Art, Religion and Culture. Click here to find out more about Threads of Identity: The Biblical History Wall Hangings and the Zodiac Series (https://www.ttti.org/threads-of-identity-the-biblical-history-wall-hangings-and-the-zodiac-series-by-judith-weinshall-liberman/)
-Wesley Aaron Bane, Manager, Volunteers & Visitor Services