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Micaela Amato: Exile Traces

Derfner Judaica Museum
5901 Palisade Avenue, The Hebrew Home at Riverdale, 718-581-1596
March 6 - May 22, 2011
Reception: Sunday, May 22, 3:30 - 5 PM
Web Site

This exhibition includes selections from three series, “Ancestral Traces” (2002-2004), “Exiles and Nomads” (1997-2006) and “Ants and Luminous Insects” (2004). These works include transparent photograph collages and gouache paintings on wood or plate-glass, some appended with paper flowers or tulle, and gouache drawings on Japanese paper featuring spiraling “dots,” or “celestial bodies,” suggesting biological cells that refer to a blood disorder from which the artist has suffered. Many of Amato’s works utilize handwritten text, montage, collage and multiple viewpoints to suggest the complexity of her background as a daughter of a Ladino-speaking Sephardi New York émigré family, who originated in Spain and lived in Rhodes and Turkey, and ultimately emigrated to the Bronx.

“Through my work, I am investigating my ancestral history, and in doing so, I attempt to reconcile my sense of exile and reconstruct my identity. My intention is to undermine racist dictums of ‘purity and blood’ and ethnic cleansing that continues to devour the world,” the artist has stated.

Micaela Amato has exhibited widely since the 1970s, including autobiographical mixed media works that make connections to both historical figures and ordinary people from other times and places. Amato was born in New York City and received her BFA from Boston University and an MFA from the University of Colorado. She is Professor of Art at Pennsylvania State University and has received numerous awards and grants, including from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American-Sephardi Federation. Micaela Amato: Exile Traces is the artist’s first one-person show at a New York museum since 2001. Her recent solo exhibition in Los Angeles was reviewed in the December issue of Art in America.

As a member of the American Association of Museums, The Hebrew Home at Riverdale is committed to publicly exhibiting its art collection throughout its 19-acre campus, including the Derfner Judaica Museum and a sculpture garden overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades. The Derfner Judaica Museum + The Art Collection provide educational and cultural programming for residents of the Hebrew Home, their families and the general public from throughout New York City, its surrounding suburbs and visitors from elsewhere. The Home is a nonprofit, non-sectarian geriatric center serving more than 3,000 elderly persons through its resources and community service programs. For further information visit our website at

This exhibition is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional support is provided by the Estate of Wallace Katz in honor of Max Munn and Family.
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