Shalom Life | May 24, 2015

Show Features Look at Houdini and his Magic

"Houdini: Art and Magic" Opens at NY's Jewish Museum.

By: Dan Verbin

Published: November 1st, 2010 in Culture » Stage » News

Show Features Look at Houdini and his Magic

A new exhibit on Harry Houdini titled “Houdini: Art and Magic” opened last Friday at the Jewish Museum in New York.

The exhibit features handcuffs, shackles, a torture chamber, a straightjacket, and a life-size model of the Chinese Water Torture Cell that Houdini miraculously escaped from, captivating audiences everywhere and earning a reputation for defying death.

The front of the Water Torture Cell is glass and audiences would watch in distress as Houdini was lowered by his ankles into the tank.

The show includes photos, posters, never before seen private diaries and silent films of Houdini performing.

However, none of Houdini’s secrets will be revealed. The show does not delve into how the influential and pioneering escape artist was able to accomplish his amazing feats. "The exhibition is not a how-to show. There is a tradition in the magic field that performance secrets aren't revealed and we are respecting that," curator Brooke Kamin Rapaport told Reuters.

"The show is an interdisciplinary exhibition. We integrate historic posters, broadsides, photographs, film and Houdini's magic apparatus with contemporary pieces," she added.

Harry Houdini, born Erik Weisz in Hungary in 1874, is considered the most famous magician and escapist in history. He was known for his ability to break out of seemingly insurmountable situations. Known as the “Handcuff King,” Houdini first thrilled audiences by escaping from handcuffs provided by audience members. He later stunned crowds of the day by escaping from a straightjacket suspended upside down high above the ground. During his career, he escaped from jail cells, locked crates thrown into lakes and canvas mailbags, among others.

However, he is most known for his on stage tricks, including the Water Torture Cell.

Rapaport said that Houdini was not only a source of inspiration to generations of magicians who came after him but also to the general public of his time.

"For the thousands of spectators who would watch his escapes that performance was probably symbolic because liberation from political, racial or religious oppression was a true aspiration to the 19th century immigrant community who traveled to America in those years.”

“Houdini: Art and Magic” runs at the Jewish Museum until March when it moves to San Francisco and then Madison, Wisconsin.

Israeli Makes Eurovision Finals for First Time in 5 Years Israeli Makes Eurovision Finals for First Time in 5 Years TrendingJewish Community Center Cancels Marijuana Art Classes Jewish Community Center Cancels Marijuana Art Classes TrendingWATCH: Lady Gaga Accepts ADL's Making a Difference Award WATCH: Lady Gaga Accepts ADL's Making a Difference Award Trending
 

Israeli Makes Eurovision Finals for First Time in 5 Years

May 22, 2015 | By Shaleni McBain
Israeli Makes Eurovision Finals for First Time in 5 Years

'Golden Boy' Nadav Guedj hopes to live up to his name

Read More

Israeli Companies Make Gartner's Innovative 'Cool Vendors' List

May 22, 2015 | By Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels
Israeli Companies Make Gartner's Innovative 'Cool Vendors' List

18 out of 350 companies selected by leading American IT research firm Gartner are from the Holy Land

Read More

Jewish Community Center Cancels Marijuana Art Classes

May 22, 2015 | By Shaleni McBain
Jewish Community Center Cancels Marijuana Art Classes

Class that welcomed cannabis usage at Aspen Community Center in Colorado quickly nixed

Read More

Israel in Top 10 Countries for Gay Men

May 22, 2015 | By Shaleni McBain
Israel in Top 10 Countries for Gay Men

Country ranks #7 on the happiness index

Read More

Canadian Holocaust Survivor Recognizes Himself in Online Photo

May 22, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
Canadian Holocaust Survivor Recognizes Himself in Online Photo

Yehuda Danzig of Toronto was stunned when he came across a pic of himself and his younger brother while reading The Times of Israel

Read More

Seven Ways to Celebrate a Meaningful Shavuot

May 22, 2015 | By Maayan Jaffe, JNS.org
Seven Ways to Celebrate a Meaningful Shavuot

Here are a few ways to infuse some meaning and minhag (tradition) into your Shavuot this year

Read More

WATCH: Israeli, Muslim Footballers Unite For "One World, One Ball"

May 22, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
WATCH: Israeli, Muslim Footballers Unite For "One World, One Ball"

"Play the ball, not the state," say soccer players of various ethnicities to FIFA in new video

Read More

Obama: Our Commitment to Israel is Unshakeable

May 22, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
Obama: Our Commitment to Israel is Unshakeable

The U.S. President also spoke of the need a two-state solution on the inaugural "Solidarity Sabbath" in D.C.

Read More

More Headlines