August 31, 2007 06:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Groundbreaking Exhibition of Jewish Life in Pre-Holocaust Poland Premiers at Judah L. Magnes Museum, Berkeley, CA
91 Year-Old Self-Taught Artist Brings Pre-Holocaust Jewish Poland to Life with “They Called Me Mayer July” — International Travel Schedule and Major Companion Publication with UCPress

BERKELEY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A groundbreaking exhibit chronicling Jewish life in pre-Holocaust Poland makes its world premier next month in Berkeley.

They Called Me Mayer July, the first major exhibition of Mayer Kirshenblatt’s painting in the United States, will debut at the Judah L. Magnes Museum next month. The exhibition will run from September 9, 2007 to January 13, 2008. It will open with a special program and book signing by the artist.

Moved by a fear that future generations would “know more about how Jews died than how they lived,” Kirshenblatt, who turns 91 next month, first picked up an artist’s brush at age 74 at the urging of his daughter, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett. The artist was born in Poland, but immigrated to Canada in 1934, leaving him with memories of Jewish life in Poland before the Holocaust.

The exhibition and companion publication of the same name are the result of four decades of conversations between the artist and his daughter, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, a highly acclaimed scholar of East European Jewish culture. This unique project is a blend of memoir, oral history, and visual interpretation.