Friday, March 12, 2021

Video" "Three With a Pen" Gallery Show Opening: Lily Renée, Bil Spira, and Paul Peter Porges - March 11 - September 3, 2021

 Above: Lily Renée's artwork from a golden age comic book.


The Austrian Cultural Forum hosts the "Three With a Pen"  exhibit through September 3, 2021. It showcases:

  • Lily Renée, a golden age comic book artist who celebrates her 100th birthday this year;
  • Bill Spira (1913 - 2000), an illustrator who documented life in concentration camps, and
  • Paul Peter Porges (1927 - 2016), known for his cartoons in The New Yorker and Mad Magazine. 

 Above: Bill Spira draws in 1938, © Wien Museum. Photo by Robert Haas.


Here's a preview, with "opening remarks from ACFNY Director Michael Haider and Jewish Museum Vienna Director Danielle Spera, as well as statements from Friends of Jewish Museum Vienna president Eric Huebscher, the exhibition’s curators, and the artists’ family members." It's wonderful to see and hear Lily Renée talk about her life in comics. What's especially fun is seeing Paul Peter Porges' daughter Vivette talk about watching her father draw when she was a little kid.


"... Three with a Pen: Lily Renée, Bil Spira, and Paul Peter Porges featuring works by the three Jewish artists driven from their homes in Vienna after the German annexation of Austria, the so-called 'Anschluss,' in 1938. On view March 11 through September 3, 2021, the exhibition showcases examples of their signature work in comic books, New Yorker cartoons, Mad magazine spoofs, caricatures, portraiture, fashion design, advertising, and children’s books, among other formats. Biographical material and ephemera amplify the artists’ personal stories of survival and, in part, help contextualize their professional achievements.

"The exhibition, organized by the Jewish Museum in Vienna, intentionally displays the artwork and biographical information separately so visitors may consider the quality of the artists’ output apart from their experiences during the war and the Holocaust. Depicting a range of subjects and using distinctive techniques, some works were intended to expose and ridicule Nazism and fascism and comment on political and historical events. Others reveal aspects of human nature and contemporary society—both in satirical terms and affectionately. Born in Vienna to Jewish parents, Lily Renée Willheim (b.1921), Wilhelm Spira (1913-1999), and Paul Peter Porges (1927-2016) each showed early promise as artists. When Nazi Germany annexed Austria in 1938 and the persecution of Austrian Jews began, Willheim and Porges’ parents placed them on children’s transports to what they thought were safe havens—England and France, respectively. Spira was repeatedly arrested, escaped multiple times, and finally interned in concentration camps for the duration of World War II. Willheim and Porges eventually settled in New York and Spira in Paris where they made successful careers as illustrators and graphic artists."

Above: A Peter Paul Porges cartoon.


The event opened virtually on March 11th. Here's a gallery tour:


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