Legacies & Crossing Points:
Boris & Lisa AronsonFor thirty-five years, my husband’s parents, Boris, and his wife and assistant Lisa, were a legendary, collaborative husband-wife team that created extraordinary, inventive sets for the Broadway theater. Yet their legacy extends even further back–to Lisa’s own family, the Jalowetzes, who were at the epicenter of European modernism, and who eventually fled Hitler’s Europe to contribute to the American avant-garde.  Heinrich Jalowetz was a conductor who was part of the Second Viennese school, premiering many of Schoenberg’s works; his wife Johanna would join him at Black Mountain College where he led the music department, and she would teach book binding and voice.  Trude Guermonprez (Elsesser), their older daughter was a Bauhaus-trained weaver who survived World War II under a false identity, and also came to BMC, and then onward to become part of the American crafts movement.  On Boris’ side, it reaches back, before Broadway, to the Yiddish theater, and the avant garde and constructivist movements in Russia. This is an initial page where Marc and I shall be posting about these rich crossing points of culture, art, and history.

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Recent Exhibitions, Books & Events

Doppelhouse Books has recently published a fascinating book, “Jacques and Jacqueline Groag, Architect and Designer: Two Hidden Figures of the Viennese Modern Movement.”  Jacques was Johanna Groag’s brother, and thus Marc’s great-uncle and he and Jacqueline became emigres in London.  Now available in English, it adds yet another dimension to this cultural legacy.

The Portland Museum of Art, in Maine, has a new exhibition, “In the Vanguard,” on the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts where Trude Guermonprez taught.  Indeed the opening press materials include a picture of Trude teaching and showing work.

In 2017-2018 the Wien Museum exhibited Lisa’s student work, when she was a theater design student, creating costumes and sets for Max Reinhardt.  While she was a student, the Anschluss occurred and she was forced to flee.  Yet Lisa knew enough to take her designs with her–how apt that they were shown back in Vienna, as part of a larger exhibition on refugees, flight, and what we take with us:

Lisa Aronson: Fluchtspuren

The exhibition also featured a short film I created, Before Broadway: A European Childhood:

Lisa Jalowetz Aronson: Before Broadway: A European Childhood from Seventh Generation Stories on Vimeo.

A new interview just found of Lisa about her experiences at Black Mountain College:


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Lisa’s Obituary in Playbill.com

 Lisa Jalowetz Aronson: A Door Opens (Marina Budhos)

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Lisa was a talented illustrator and designer Lisa in her own right.  She chronicled her life with Boris & Marc with a witty, whimsical eye.


 

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Boris’ earlier Yiddish Theater work was also previously unknown.  However, it’s recently been exhibited in Paris, Tel Aviv, and Moscow, London and is now in New York City at Gallery Vallois America:

A series of interviews with Marc by The Yiddish Book Center

Boris Aronson’s Sets for Yiddish Theater Take Center StageNew York Times

A Yiddish Theater Artist Finally Gets His DueThe Star Ledger

How Boris Aronson’s Designs Came To LifeThe Jewish Week

The Works of Yiddish Set Designer Boris AronsonTablet

Preparing the Miracle: From the Bronx to BroadwayPlaystosee.com

Marc Aronson in Conversation with Paul MeltzerPlaystosee.com

Exhibition at the Ben Uri Gallery in London

The Avant-garde Theater: Costume & Set Designs, 1917- Kiev – 1929 New York

Video: Galerie Minotaure Opening in Tel Aviv

Marc speaking at the Ben Uri Gallery in June, 2013:

Press & Events

Chance magazine monograph video on Boris Aronson

2014 marked the anniversary of “Fiddler on the Roof” with many relevant events.

On Monday, October 6th, at Lincoln Center, for Fifty Years with Fiddler, Marc joined Sheldon Harnick, Alisa Solomon, Amanda Vaill for a talk on Fiddler, making use of various objects from the show.  The Lincoln Center Library and Archive houses many of Boris’ designs and papers.

Symphony Space held its annual Gala honoring Fiddler on the Roof.  We were so pleased to take part, loaning the model of Tevye’s house, along with some of the Fiddler art, and original Playbills for the event.  Perhaps the highlight of the night was Leslie Uggam singing “Happy Birthday” to the 90-ish Sheldon Harnick!

Marc & I at the Gala