Media Burn Archive unveils newly digitized Bridges and Boundaries: Chicago Crossings

This week Media Burn Archive unveiled a newly digitized collection of 100 tapes from our 1994 film, Bridges and Boundaries: Chicago Crossings. The collection is a result of an 18-month project funded by the National Endowment for the Arts––consisting entirely of materials never before seen by the public.

In 1994, the Spertus Institute of Judaica brought together six Black artists and six Jewish artists to create new work for an ambitious art exhibition. The artists were given minimal constraints on what to produce, with only the guiding principle that the work should in some way connect to the exhibition’s overarching theme—the relationship between the Black and Jewish communities in contemporary America.

The 25 minute film was originally made by Kartemquin to accompany the art exhibit at The Spertus Museum, and takes the viewer inside the studios of 12 artists, six Black and six Jewish, as they prepare their work for the show.

Watch the most complete version of the film:

Kartemquin shot dozens of tapes documenting the artists as they worked and spoke about their experiences with racism and anti-Semitism, as well as their thoughts on the intersections of power and oppression experienced by Black and Jewish people in America, where the rifts existed between these two groups, and how their relationship might be healed.

The artists included: Othello Anderson (co-curator), Claire Wolf Krantz (co-curator), Edith Altman, Joel Feldman, Marva Jolly, Kerry James Marshall, Gerda Meyer-Bernstein, Esther Parada, John Rozelle, Hamza Walker (under the pseudonym Sonny Venice), Fan Warren, and John Pitman Weber.

In addition to digitizing all 100 tapes shot for the program, Media Burn Archive also created a collection guide that highlights the major themes and characters in the footage. Dive in here.