When preparations began last week to cut the etchings down from the wall at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill, where they have hung for about 15 years, workers soon discovered a problem.
The etchings, original works of art by the late Jerry Caplan that the Holocaust Center commissioned for $20,000, were glued to the wall.
“It’s making it difficult, if not impossible, to get them off the wall in one piece,” said Holocaust Center Director Joy Braunstein. “We have not yet found a person or mechanism to do that.”
The center is consulting with several art experts on how to proceed, and should have an opinion in hand within the next two weeks.
However, “It’s possible they will not come off those walls,” Braunstein said. “Because they are original works of art, because they were commissioned for such a high price, because the artist is deceased, we are extremely reluctant to remove them unless they can be removed in one piece.”
The Holocaust Center announced earlier this year it would move back to its original space at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh while its board plans for its future and selects a permanent location.
Since then, many Holocaust Center artifacts have been removed from the JCC and placed in storage at a location in the Strip District.
Aside from the etchings, the only artifacts still at the JCC are the wall size copy of an Anne Frank collage at the top of the stairs in the Robinson Wing, and the Jakob’s Torah in the Levinson Building, which will remain at the JCC indefinitely.
(Lee Chottiner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)