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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

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‘The Borscht Belt' at the Laundry King

By:
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Contributed Photo by Marisa Scheinfeld
Guest Room, Tamarack Lodge, Greenfield Park.
LIVINGSTON MANOR — The Catskill Art Society and the Livingston Manor Free Library present author and photographer Marisa Scheinfeld with a reading and photo show from her book “The Borscht Belt: Revisiting the Remains of America's Jewish Vacationland” at the Laundry King, an alternative exhibit space of the Catskill Art Society located at 65 Main Street in Livingston Manor, NY, on Saturday, September 3 at 2 p.m.
Today the Borscht Belt is recalled through the nostalgic lens of summer swims, Saturday night dances, and comedy performances. But its current state, like that of many other formerly glorious regions, is nothing like its earlier status. Forgotten about and exhausted, much of its structural environment has been left to decay. “The Borsch Belt”, which features essays by Stefan Kanfer and Jenna Weissman Joselit, presents Marisa Scheinfeld's photographs of abandoned sites where resorts, hotels and bungalow colonies once boomed in the Catskill Mountain region of upstate New York.
The book assembles images Scheinfeld has shot inside and outside locations that once buzzed with life as year-round havens for generations of people. Some of the structures have been lying abandoned for periods ranging from four to twenty years, depending on the specific hotel, or bungalow colony, and the conditions under which it closed. Other sites have since been demolished, or repurposed, making this book an even more significant documentation of a pivotal era in American Jewish history and Catskill history.
“The Borscht Belt” presents a contemporary view of more than forty hotel and bungalow sites. From entire expanses of abandoned properties to small lots containing drained swimming pools, the remains of the Borscht Belt era now lie forgotten, overgrown, and vacant. In the absence of human activity, nature has reclaimed the sites, having encroached upon or completely overtaken them. Many of the interiors have been vandalized or marked by paintball players and graffiti artists. Each ruin lies radically altered by the elements and effects of time. Scheinfeld's images record all of these developments. THE BORSCHT BELT will be released on October 4, by Cornell University Press.
Marisa Scheinfeld's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is among the collections of Yeshiva University Museum at The Center for Jewish History, The National Yiddish Book Center, The Simon Wiesenthal Center, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art & Life and The Edmund and Nancy K. Dubois Library at the Museum of Photographic Arts.
Marisa will be speaking at the Laundry King in Livingston Manor, on Saturday, September 3 at 2 p.m. At the Laundry King she will show selections from her photographic series and upcoming book which contains 129 photographs and a selection of Borscht Belt ephemera. Her book will be available for pre-order.
The Catskill Art Society is a nonprofit organization cultivating public interest, participation, and enjoyment of the arts. Through its multi-arts center, CAS explores contemporary art practices and facilitates creative and professional development for established and emerging artists. Located in Livingston Manor, the renovated 4,500+ square foot facility includes a designated fine arts gallery, a large multi-purpose space, a pottery studio, a painting studio, and a digital arts lab. For more information, visit www.catskillartsociety.org.
Funding for CAS is provided in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.





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