Tom Freudenheim

Heist of Ages

There are 1 million new books every year — literally — but it’s impossible to know what to read.

Andy Warhol (American, 1928?1987), Sarah Bernhardt from Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century, 1980, synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen ink on canvas. Private collection. © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society, New York/Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York.

Warhol’s Chosen People

Will the irony of New York’s Jewish Museum’s fascinating new exhibition, “Warhol’s Jews: Ten Portraits Reconsidered,” on view through August, be lost on most visitors? Probably. I had commented to a friend that Andy Warhol’s 1980 project, a series of 10 portraits (from photographs) of famous (dead) Jews, looks today like the same rip-off it was when the newly minted works were first shown, at this Jewish Museum and elsewhere: The artist pandering to a Jewish market. My friend corrected me, reminding me that the definition of “rip-off” is “a swindle or exploitation, assuming an unequal relationship between the parties,” whereas this set of works was warmly received by a Jewish art world thrilled to have the attention of superstar Warhol. Given this insight, maybe it was a fair exchange, with the two parties exploiting each other.

Sowing the Seeds of Christianity

You don’t need to be a born-again Christian to understand the critical role played by the Holy Land in the development of Christianity. That’s probably what the folks at Cleveland’s new Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, which opened last October, are counting on by showing Cradle of Christianity, a major exhibition from the Israel Museum in

Lightness & Dark

“Don’t believe everything you read,” was my first reaction to the news that the American Jewish Historical Society plans to sell six of its valuable, Colonial-era portraits of the Franks family. If only my hopefulness were justified.The society’s sale is another nail in an ever-expanding coffin being built to inter the remains of dying