This week, Jared Bowen reviews a Worcester Art Museum exhibition of art looted by the Nazis. Plus, a selfie museum at the CambridgeSide mall and “Songs for a New World” presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company.

“What the Nazis Stole from Richard Neumann (and the search to get it back),” on view at Worcester Art Museum through January 16, 2022

What the Nazis Stole from Richard Neumann (and the search to get it back)
Giovanni Battista Pittoni, the younger (Italian, 1687–1767), Hannibal Swearing Revenge against the Romans, about 1720s, oil on canvas
The Selldorff Family, courtesy of the Worcester Art Museum

During World War II, it is estimated that the Nazis looted around 20% of the art of Europe. Such was the case for Richard Neumann, a Jewish textile industrialist with a renowned art collection in Vienna. He and his family successfully fled the country during Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, but ultimately lost most of their art collection to the Nazis. Over the last 75 years, the Neumann family has worked to retrieve their stolen art and 14 of those works are now on view in “What the Nazis Stole from Richard Neumann (and the search to get it back)” as part of a long-term loan to the Worcester Art Museum.

“It's a mixture of a personal honoring of the legacy of Neumann, and the understanding that this is indeed not a national heritage, but it's a world heritage,” says Worcester Art Museum Director Matthias Waschek. “It should be put on view in a museum. And we are extremely lucky that the Worcester Art Museum is qualifying for that.”

“Go Pixel Yourself,” a selfie museum now open at CambridgeSide

Five teenagers pose in a shiny decorative room
Go Pixel Yourself is an all-ages selfie museum.
Courtesy of Go Pixel Yourself

Billed as “Boston’s only selfie museum,” “Go Pixel Yourself” is a new, interactive installation at the CambridgeSide mall. The exhibition features 13 rooms with various themes, and 20 interactive LED screen walls, each ten feet by twenty feet. “Go Pixel Yourself” features works by artists including Beeple and Johnny Swing. However, the driving idea behind the exhibition is that those who visit the space are themselves artists, as they use the interactive and customizable environment around them to create their photos.

“[The screens] can all be programmed at a moment's notice. So they can be very oriented to what's going on in culture at the time,” says John Carter, former street artist and CEO of Parker 3D which has created the installation. “We can give the whole thing over to one artist, we can give it over to ten artists, we can have competition between artists. So I really almost feel like it's video graffiti and that people can almost compete.”

“Songs for a New World,” presented virtually by SpeakEasy Stage Company through June 8

Songs for a New World
Rebekah Rae Robles, Victor Carrillo Tracey, Alexander Tan, and Mikayla Myers in SpeakEasy Stage Company's "Songs for a New World (2021)"
Courtesy of SpeakEasy Stage Company

SpeakEasy Stage Company presents a virtual production of “Songs for a New World.” Created by Tony-winning multi-hyphenate artist Jason Robert Brown, the musical features an array of characters addressing stories of hope and self-discovery.

“Gorgeously shot and staged, 'Songs for a New World' is perfectly prescribed for this moment,” says Jared. “From the rousing to the serene, the comedic to the sobering, the musical hinges upon the pivotal moments that can define the rest of our lives — which is especially resonant in this moment.”

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