Holocaust Bone Structures

From Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program

Artist: Roy Strassberg
March 6-April 19, 1998
Minnesota Artists Gallery

With this wall-to-wall installation of ceramic bonelike structures, Roy Strassberg responded to the midcentury Holocaust in Eastern Europe. In so doing, he honored his own Jewish heritage as well as the awesome endurance of a people who suffered unspeakable atrocities.

The exhibition was the culmination of five years' work and a radical departure from what Strassberg had created previously. Since the 1970s his elaborately glazed, colorful ceramic sculpture, emphasizing planar, architectural construction, has been critically acclaimed. However, Strassberg intermittently created images related to ethnicity. His series of stark white “guard tower” and chilling “roll call” pieces of the early 1980s predicted the simpler and more accessible process and original aesthetic of the early 1990s.

Simultaneously horrifying and hauntingly beautiful, Strassberg's rough, assembled “bone structures” evoked a variety of images-boxcars, houses, skeletal fragments, animal forms, piles of bones, dancing figures, fire. Their elemental purity urged us to pay attention, to never forget; but it also reminded us that the human spirit can never be destroyed.


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  • Opening Reception: Thursday, March 5, 1998.
  • Public Slide lecture: April 2, 1998 in the Pillsbury Auditorium.

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