Ben Uri Gallery and Musuem and Lily Ford from Birkbeck University of London
Aimée Taylor, Ben Uri Gallery and Musuem
Lily Ford, Birkbeck University of London
Professor Lynda Nead, Birkbeck University of London
Ben Uri in context: Émigré Artists in the Early 20th Century East End of London
Founded in 1915 the Ben Uri Gallery and Museum holds the world’s most distinguished body of work by British and European artists of Jewish descent. Originating as the Jewish / Yiddish National Decorative Art Association Ben Ouri not much is known about the founders and key figures early activities, minutes from meetings were infrequently recorded, written in haste and in Yiddish, paperwork, letters, pamphlets and programmes survive haphazardly.
Coinciding with Ben Uri’s centenary celebrations and an exhibition at Somerset House, Out of Chaos – Ben Uri: 100 Years in London, this researcher in residence project placed Lily Ford from Birkbeck University of London with the gallery to help establish a cohesive narrative of their first fifteen years. Working with archival material, many recently translated from Yiddish, and cross referencing with documents housed at the Whitechapel Gallery and the Jewish Museum, Ford has produced considerable original research.
In March 2015 Ford presented a 3,000 word document detailing the direction of her research, approved by Ben Uri the research developed into a 20,000 word piece which will be published in Jewish Quarterly or by Ben Uri later this year. Ford has also contributed a blog entry to Ben Uri’s website.
A presented by Ford, titled Hopscotch into the Archives, was presented at Somerset House in July and again in October 2014, it will be presented once more in May 2016 as part of the exhibitions move to Christie’s South Kensington gallery.
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