Violence Meets Solitude at Jewish Museum's Jack Goldstein Exhibit

Late Artist Spent His Career Trying To Disappear

Falling Man: Jack Goldstein’s 1978 film ‘The Jump’ depicts a man diving into darkness. The film proves an apt metaphor for the career of the late artist whose work is now on view at The Jewish Museum in New York.
james welling
Falling Man: Jack Goldstein’s 1978 film ‘The Jump’ depicts a man diving into darkness. The film proves an apt metaphor for the career of the late artist whose work is now on view at The Jewish Museum in New York.

By Adam Langer

Published June 04, 2013, issue of June 07, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

This is probably the ideal way to view the new Jack Goldstein exhibit at The Jewish Museum in New York — on a nearly silent morning when the only sounds to be heard are those of a whirring projector and the eerie, ethereal soundtracks the artist himself created. The gallery halls are empty save for one security guard and, of course, the art.

Today, the museum is hosting a press opening for “Jack Goldstein x 10,000,” which was first shown at the Orange County Museum of Art. But at this particular, wondrous moment, everyone else is upstairs enjoying the complimentary bagel breakfast and awaiting opening remarks from the exhibit’s curator, Philipp Kaiser, and the Jewish Museum’s director, Claudia Gould.

For this writer, who grew up fantasizing about being Jamie or Claudia Kincaid camping out at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in E.L. Konigsburg’s “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, in which two kids have the museum to themselves overnight, these conditions would be ideal for seeing any exhibit.

But the solitude is particularly appropriate for viewing the work of Goldstein, an artist who seemed to spend a good portion of his entire career attempting to disappear, never signing his artwork, finally performing the ultimate disappearing act in 2003 at the age of 57 when he committed suicide by hanging himself at his home in San Bernardino, Calif. He had reportedly struggled with drugs and depression.

Near the start of the exhibit, a neon-orange Lite-Brite diver in the artist’s 1978 short film “The Jump” appears to provide an apt metaphor for Goldstein’s career — an anonymous figure shimmering and twirling for a few brief moments before disappearing into blackness.

The name of the exhibit itself, “Jack Goldstein x 10,000,” focuses one’s attention on the mutability and ultimate insignificance of identity — no, there’s not just one Jack Goldstein; he was one of thousands.

Part of the so-called Pictures Generation, a group that comprised such artists as Robert Longo, David Salle and Cindy Sherman, Goldstein was born in Montreal to a Jewish family who later moved to Los Angeles.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.