‘Roman Vishniac’s Life and Legacy’

Presented simultaneously at Jewish Museum London and The Photographers’ GalleryRoman Vishniac Rediscovered is the first UK retrospective of Russian born American photographer, Roman Vishniac (1897–1990).

An extraordinarily versatile and innovative photographer, Vishniac is best known for having created one of the most widely recognised and reproduced photographic records of Jewish life in eastern Europe between the two World Wars.

This lecture and panel discussion, led by Maya Benton, the curator of Roman Vishniac Rediscovered (curator at the International Center of Photography in New York), situates Vishniac’s work in the context of historical, artistic and contemporary developments, exploring his relevance and resonance today. Panellists include Hans Rooseboom and Laura Wexler.

Maya Benton has been working as a curator at the International Center of Photography in New York since 2008. She lectures widely and is a frequent contributor to magazines and museum catalogs where she writes about photography, museums, and Jewish visual and material culture. Maya has worked in museums for more than twenty years, including The Getty Museum and Getty Villa, The RISD Museum, the Harvard University Art Museums, the Jewish Museum of Florence, Italy, and the Jewish Museum of Venice, Italy. She has organized traveling exhibitions that have been presented at more than twenty international museum and exhibition venues. Her 2013 exhibition, Roman Vishniac Rediscovered, is traveling internationally through 2022.

Most recently, Maya organized an exhibition of photographer Gillian Laub’s contemporary images of racial segregation in the American South, Southern Rites, that will travel through 2024; Maya is also currently organizing a mid-career survey of Laub’s work that will open at ICP in 2020.

Maya’s next book will be an anthology of seminal texts on Jews and Photography, published by Aperture. She is a graduate of Brown University, Harvard University and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.

Hans Rooseboom (1966) is one of the two curators of photography at the Rijksmuseum. He has (co-) curated many exhibitions, including Modern Times. Photography in the 20th Century (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, 2014-2015) and New realities. Photography in the 19th Century (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam 2017). Both shows were accompanied by books with the same titles (co-authored with Mattie Boom). He has also written on Man Ray (Électricité. Ten Advertising Photographs by Man Ray, Amsterdam 2013), Daguerre (What’s Wrong with Daguerre? Reconsidering Old and New Views on the Invention of Photography, Amsterdam 2010) and the first 50 years of Dutch professional photography. He is now preparing a thematically organized history of photography (to be published 2019).

Laura Wexler holds a Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. She has taught at Amherst College, Trinity College, Wesleyan University, and Peiking University, and is currently Professor of American studies, film and media studies, and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Yale. She is also founding director of the Photographic Memory Workshop, a founding member of the steering committee of the Feminist Technology Network (FemTechNet) and Principal Investigator of the Photogrammar Project, which has received NEH and ACLS support to make a web-based interactive research system for visualizing the more than 170,00 photographs created by the Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information between 1935-1945. Her scholarship presents and critiques intersections of race, gender, sexuality, class and nation within the visual culture of the U.S., from the nineteenth century to the present. Currently she is six years into a team project entitled Collaboration: A Potential History of Photography, along with Magnum photographers Susan Meiselas, Wendy Ewald, and photography historians Ariella Azoulay (Brown) and Leigh Raiford (Berkeley), that is rewriting the history of photography through the lens of collaboration, multiply viewed through a collection of over 120 collaborative projects. She is the author of Tender Violence: Domestic Visions in an Age of U.S. Imperialism (Kelley Memorial Prize, AHA), coauthor of Pregnant Pictures, coeditor of Interpretation and the Holocaust, and The Puritan Imagination in Nineteenth Century America, as well as the author of many essays, book chapters, and exhibitions, including most recently essays on Roland Barthes and Keiji Nakazawa and on the photographs of Pablo Delano, Frederick Douglass, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Jim Goldberg, Lorie Novak, Roman Vishniac, Jo Ann Walters, and Donovan Wylie. She is working on a book about the visual culture of American racism, entitled The Awakening of Cultural Memory.

Organised by Sarah Wilson (The Courtauld Institute of Art), The Jewish Museum and The Photographers’ Gallery

7:00pm, 14 Feb 2019

Thursday 14th February 2019

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Vernon Square, Penton Rise, London