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Letters to Afar Opens at the Museum of the City of New York on October 22, 2014

The YIVO Institute and the Museum of the City of New York present a Video Art Exhibition, LETTERS TO AFAR, by Award-Winning Artists Péter Forgács and The Klezmatics

October 22, 2014 - March 22, 2015

(June 9, 2014) The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and the Museum of the City of New York proudly announce the U.S. premiere of Letters to Afar, a groundbreaking video art exhibition by award-winning artists Péter Forgács and The Klezmatics. The exhibition will be on view at the Museum of the City of New York from October 22, 2014 through March 22, 2015. 

Letters to Afar is an immersive video art installation based on home movies made by New York City's Jewish immigrants who traveled back to visit Poland during the 1920s and 30s. The films document poignant family reunions and everyday life in cities and small towns in the years before the Second World War, capturing a culture on the brink. Unknowingly, they also provided a snapshot of the extraordinary autonomy and richness of Jewish life in interwar Poland, and the great diversity of school, youth, self-help and cultural organizations that existed at the time. The installation was created by Hungarian artist Péter Forgács with a haunting soundtrack by the New York-based band The Klezmatics. These "letters" bring to life a lost world in startling and moving detail.

Letters to Afar was commissioned by the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in 2013. This unique multimedia exhibition is based on a YIVO collection of home movies that were digitized with support from the Righteous Persons Foundation in 2006.   

This exhibition is made possible with generous support from the Seedlings Foundation, the Kronhill Pletka Foundation, and the Righteous Persons Foundation.

This fall, the YIVO Institute is pleased to welcome Péter Forgács as its first Artist-in-Residence. During his six-week residency, Forgács will install Letters to Afar, participate in public programs, and perform research for a new work on YIVO. 

For more information, contact YIVO Director of Development Suzanne Leon at

Museum of the City of New York
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YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research was founded in Vilna, Poland, in 1925, and relocated to New York City in 1940 with the mission to preserve, study and perpetuate knowledge of the thousand-year history and culture of Jewish life in Eastern Europe. Today, YIVO's archival and library collections are the single largest resource for such study in the world. YIVO offers cultural events and programs throughout the year, educational programs, scholarly publications, and fellowships.