Gershman Gallery


Borsct Belt image 1

The Borscht Belt: Revisiting the Remains of America’s Jewish Vacationland by Marisa Scheinfeld
Curator: Susan Isaacs
August 11 – November 18, 2016

Special Tour and Joke-Telling Competition
Thursday, August 11
6:00 – 8:00 PM
Free admission with RSVP here or call 215-545-4400, and click here to enter the joke competition and win great prizes!

Artist reception and book talk
Thursday, October 13
6:00 – 8:00 PM

For much of the 20th century the Borscht Belt was a thriving vacation destination, home to hundreds of hotels and motels, from famed high-end resorts such as Grossinger’s and the Concord to modest bungalow colonies. In its heyday, the area was known especially for its nightlife, with top comedians and other performers appearing regularly there.

By the time photographer Marisa Scheinfeld was growing up there in the 1980s and ‘90s, however, economic and other factors had sent the region into rapid decline, leading many of the hotels and clubs to close. For the past five years, Scheinfeld has documented that decline through a series of evocative, sometimes ghostly, large-scale images of dozens of empty hotels. Revisiting the Remains of America’s Jewish Vacationland will include resort and hotel memorabilia that Scheinfeld has collected over the years as well as selected images from her “re-photographic” series, in which she used promotional shots from the region’s glory days as inspiration for new photos showing the same settings as they look now.

The Borscht Belt: Revisiting the Remains of America’s Jewish Vacationland was developed and curated by Marisa Scheinfeld and Yeshiva University Museum.

On Thursday, August 11, take a special tour of this nostalgic exhibition, and make us laugh with your best joke! The joke-telling competition is open to the first 20 people who e-mail us to confirm their participation. There will be fantastic prizes for the top three joke tellers, as voted by the audience!

The Rules:
– Your joke can be original or a classic.
– You have up to three minutes to tell your joke.
– Your joke doesn’t have to be G-rated, but keep it in good taste.

The Borscht Belt served as the training ground for comedy legends including Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Sid Caesar, Joan Rivers, Jerry Lewis, Billy Crystal, Phyllis Diller, Robert Klein, Rodney Dangerfield, and many more. Come take a look at the Borscht Belt’s past and present, and have a laugh!

When Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable Met the Y

In the Gershman Gallery: December 1, 2016 – January 4, 2017
Curator: Cheryl Harper
Opening reception: December 1
5:30 – 8:30 PM
Free with RSVP at 215-545-4400

In the 1960s, the Arts Council of the Gershman Y played an important role in bringing the avant-garde cultural scene to Philadelphia – introducing the works of Pop Art artists including Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, and Roy Lichtenstein to Philadelphia audiences before they became household names, presenting the poetry of E.E. Cummings and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, hosting a Happening by Allan Kaprow, and featuring such illustrious performing groups as the Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham dance companies.

December 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of a two-evening appearance at the Gershman Y by Andy Warhol, the Velvet Underground, and superstar Nico. The Arts Council of the then YM&WHA (today’s Gershman Y) brought two psychedelic evenings of music and underground films, described as a “mixed-media discotheque,” to the alternately fascinated and flabbergasted city of Philadelphia on December 10 and 11, 1966.

The Velvet Underground was an American rock band, active between 1964 and 1973, that formed in New York City. The group, which included such distinguished musicians as the late Lou Reed, is recognized as among the most influential acts of the rock era for its integration of rock music with the avant-garde. Briefly managed by Andy Warhol, it served as the house band at The Factory and Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable events from 1966 to 1967. The provocative subject matter, musical experimentation, and often nihilistic attitudes explored in the Velvet Underground’s music proved influential in the development of punk rock and alternative music.  In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the band No. 19 on its list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time,” and the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

Cheryl Harper, an emeritus curator of the Gershman Y, is organizing an exhibition for the Gershman Gallery that celebrates this history by bringing together rarely and never before seen images of Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground at the Y, featuring a newly discovered cache of photos by Philadelphia photographer Sam Moskovitz, and augmented with ephemera and other images of the era.

The Gershman Y is also planning a major fundraising event in the spirit of the Warhol extravaganza on Thursday, December 15, featuring musicians influenced by the Velvet Underground, 1960s garb and visual effects, a dance party, and special guests who were part of the original 60s scene. Stay tuned for more details!