Battle Fatigue: 1942 - 1945
An Expedition of Discovery in Mixed Media
Hudson, NY – 510 Warren Street Gallery is pleased to present once again this important work by Nina Lipkowitz in a show entitiled “Battle Fatigue.” This very personal insight into the life and wartime experiences of her father is a powerful visual expression of her efforts to reassemble the parent who she never got the chance to fully know. The exhibit will begin on June 2 and conclude on June 25 with a reception with and for the artist on Sunday, June 4, from 2 to 5 pm.
Nina Lipkowitz readily admits that her father was a difficult man. Eleven years after he died, her mother said to Nina and her older sister, “Why doesn’t anyone ever talks about Daddy?” The truth was that they didn’t know what to say about him. His anger was frightening and his criticisms were searing. At 15 Nina painted her first painting and he suggested that she paint over with white, start again and not waste the canvas.
A lawyer in his 30s, married with a one-year old child, he went off to fight in a war that, as a Jew, he knew was absolutely necessary. In August of 1944, he found himself in newly liberated Paris and attended the first Rosh Hashanah services at the synagogue Victoire. He fought in five European battles including the Battle of the Bulge spending the winter in the Ardennes Forest. In April 1945 he helped to liberate the concentration camp Ohrdruf, a sub-camp of Buchenwald and later won a Bronze Star Medal ending his war career as a Captain.
Returning home, he went directly into Mason General Hospital, a psychiatric facility opened to treat returning GIs. In WW I it was called shell shock, in WW II battle fatigue and, today, we refer to it as PTSD or Combat Stress Reaction. He never really spoke of his war experiences.
Working from a scrapbook containing photos and memorabilia from these years, Lipkowitz, now about the same age as her father when he died, felt it was finally time to talk about Daddy. This she has done with heart and hand using original material as photo transfers from the scrapbook to tell her father’s story.