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23 Sep 2022

In the Wilds of Brooklyn: A Jewish American Tale

3:00-4:15 p.m. EDT

Morris Hirshfield Rediscovered is the first retrospective of the artist in over seventy-five years. 

Join Hirshfield’s grandson Robert Dennis Rentzer and exhibition curator Richard Meyer for an hour of remembrances and stories. This intimate in-person gathering will celebrate the extraordinary life of a Brooklyn Jewish immigrant artist who was propelled to fame in the 1930’s by the New York avant-garde, after a forty-year career in the garment industry in the Lower East Side.  

Personal relationships and social memory will serve as a starting point to discuss Hirshfield’s participation in a large wave of Jewish emigration from Eastern Europe at the turn of the 20th century, and understand the painter’s direct references to his Jewish faith, his Polish heritage as well as his assimilation of American culture. 

Space is limited; advance registration is required. Please click here to register. For questions, please email

Immediately after the tour, Richard Meyer will hold a meet-and-greet and book signing for Master of Two Left Feet Morris Hirshfield Rediscovered, which is being released in conjunction with the show. The book is available to purchase at the Museum and in our online Shop. Become a member today and receive a 10% discount on the book and all purchases.

Robert Dennis Rentzer is a lawyer and the executor of the Estate of Morris HIrshfield. He lives in Utah.

Richard Meyer is Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor in Art History at Stanford University, where he teaches courses in twentieth-century American art, the history of photography, arts censorship and the first amendment, curatorial practice, and gender and sexuality studies.  He is author of Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art and What Was Contemporary Art? (MIT Press) as well as coeditor, with Catherine Lord, of Art and Queer Culture, and coauthor, with Peggy Phelan, of Contact Warhol: Photography without End.  Meyer served as guest curator of Warhol’s Jews: Ten Portraits Reconsidered at the Jewish Museum in New York and the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco and of Naked Hollywood: Weegee in Los Angeles at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.


Morris Hirshfield (1872, Poland–1946, United States) “Angora Cat,” 1937–1939 Oil on board on canvas 22 1/8 x 27 1/4 in. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection, 1967, 607.1967. © 2022 Robert and Gail Rentzer for Estate of Morris Hirshfield / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. 

3:00 pm–4:15 pm

In person; free with registration