Exhibit Information

Jewish Museum

Address 1109 Fifth Avenue @92nd Street
New York, NY 10128

Click here for quick directions
Phone Number 212-423-3200

Website http://www.thejewishmuseum.org

HOUDINI: Art & Magic

Opening: 29 October 2010 - Closing: 27 March 2011

Many popular Vaudeville & Variety Artists of the early 20th Century have now been forgotten: George M. Cohan, anyone?

 

For that matter, whatever became of Doug Henning? [He died, but Houdini lives on & on…]

 

One name stands out from all of these, a Man who became a Legend: Harry Houdini!

 

The interesting new show at the Jewish-Museum is the first—in an Art-Museum—to throw the spotlight on Houdini, not only as a Stage-Magician & a famed Escape-Artist, but also as an Inspiration to Contemporary-American-Artists.

 

Notably Matthew Barney

 

Barney’s Cremaster 2, with Norman Mailer as Houdini—is worth a one-minute film-clip in this show, but an entire Sealed-Chamber is devoted to his Cremaster 5: The Ehrich Weiss Suite. Houdini’s birth-name was Ehrich Weiss.

 

In this Installation, SEVEN LIVE KITE JACOBIN PIGEONS deface Houdini’s Coffin. As if this were an actual Outdoor-Gravesite, exposed to the Natural-World.

 

This Artwork teaches us that Nature Endures, while Life Is Fleeting. Barney’s Pigeons remind us of Houdini’s Fate, as well as of Human-Mortality!

 

These modern artworks do help pad-out the show, but Houdini’s Posters, Escape-Photos & Film-footage, as well as his actual Handcuffs—a case full of them, Straight-Jacket, Escape-Trunk, Milk-Can, & reconstructed Water-Torture Cell are far more interesting.

 

Of course, it was good to be reminded—by the Movie-Poster!—that the recently-deceased Tony Curtis played Houdini on the Silver-Screen. Alas, neither Ehrich Weiss nor Bernie Schwartz could escape from the Coffin-of-Death

<- Back