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The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt

The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt

March 14, 2019 to August 18, 2019
Past Exhibition

This exhibition showcased original illustrations and artwork from cartoonist Ken Krimstein’s page-turning graphic biography of Hannah Arendt, one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century.

“The astounding life of a 20th-century original told by a skillful cartoonist frolicking in long form”—Kirkus (Starred Review)

“Depicts Arendt in a way no other book has—makes us feel the passion of her thinking”—The Forward

“Remarkable”—The Chicago Reader

This exhibition featured original illustrations, sketches, and artwork from Ken Krimstein's The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt (Bloomsbury 2018). On view were illustrations of the freewheeling conversations of Jewish intellectual life in pre-WWII Europe, populated with the artists, writers, and thinkers Arendt encounters—including Marc Chagall, Marlene Dietrich, Walter Benjamin, Albert Einstein, and Sigmund Freud. In his drawings, Krimstein portrayed Arendt’s complicated and courageous choices during some of history’s darkest days.

By unconventionally using graphic non-fiction to illustrate a world of ideas, Krimstein's book (the basis for this exhibition) brings urgency to Arendt’s struggle to find meaning. Consistent with the goals of Spertus Institute’s Ground Level Arts Lab, The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt creatively introduces a key chapter of the Jewish experience and shines a spotlight on its relevance for today.

wgnradio.comHear Ken Krimstein in a radio interview with WGN's Andrea Darlas about the process of preparing for this exhibition! Listen >

Ken Krimstein is a cartoonist, writer, educator, and creative director whose cartoons have been published in The New Yorker, Barron's, Harvard Business Review, Prospect, Punch, The National Lampoon, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, and three of S. Gross's cartoon anthologies. You can find his humor writing in The New York Observer's New Yorker's Diary, McSweeny's Internet Tendency, Yankee Pot Roast, and Mr. Beller's Neighborhood. The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendtis his second book. He teaches at DePaul University. 

Exhibitions at Spertus Institute are supported in part by the Harry and Sadie Lasky Foundation.

Related Programs

Opening Reception
Thursday, March 14 | 5:30 to 8 pm
At 6:30 pm, Ken Krimstein was interviewed by Alexandra Salomon, editor of WBEZ’s Curious City, followed by a booksigning. 

Gallery Talk with Ken Krimstein
Sunday, April 14 | 2 pm 

Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt
Monday, May 13 | 7 pm
Award-winning film and post-show discussion 

Additional Resources

Enjoy a list of additional resources relating to Hannah Arendt, prepared by the staff of Spertus Institute's Asher Library.