Robin Schwartzman

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About the Artist

Robin Schwartzman is a Minneapolis based artist who works as the Digital Fabrication Technician as well as a Lecturer in the University of Minnesota Department of Art. Her large-scale projects have been commissioned by the Walker Art Center, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Elmhurst Art Museum, BLINK Cincinnati and Canal Convergence Scottsdale, to name a few. She is a recipient of a 2011 Minnesota State Arts Board Grant and the 2013-2014 Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Artists. Schwartzman’s obsession with play has led her to theme parks and miniature golf courses around the world.

Last Resort, 2020, mixed media, dimensions variable.

Statement About Work

Last Resort is a series of works inspired by the bygone era of the Borscht Belt. At its peak, the Catskills region in upstate New York had over 500 hotels that offered visitors fresh air, Kosher meals, nightly entertainment, swimming, dancing, golf, ice skating and more. This summer getaway might best be known for the many famous Jewish comedians whose careers began in its glitzy nightclubs and lounges. The sculptures and prints of Last Resort are directly inspired by artifacts of the era and draw upon the carefully crafted design elements used by various Resorts to establish their brand in the ethos of an attainable, yet aspirational, all-inclusive Kosher vacation.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Sabes JCC hosted an event called “Borscht Belt Time Machine,” where the gallery became a backdrop for local Jewish comedians to read some of the best, sappiest routines from the pioneers of stand up, accented by a drummer playing rimshot sounds after each punchline. Virgin versions of period appropriate drinks, tacky snacks, and laughter were all served.

This work was on display from January 13-February 20, 2020 at the Sabes JCC Tychman Shapiro Gallery in conjunction with the 2020 Twin Cities Jewish Humor Festival. Photography by Lauren Cutshall.