Saturday, December 27, 2008

Madoff Case Echoes Rich Lode of Swindler Literature -

After hearing about the scandal, Ilan Averbuch, an Israeli artist whose work is currently on exhibit at Nancy Hoffman Gallery in Chelsea, took down a tattered storybook he has had since childhood, a collection of Jewish folktales about the mythical people of Chelm, a city populated by supposedly wise souls who are actually very foolish.

In one, the townspeople decide to illuminate their city on dark nights by capturing the full moon, which they see reflected in a large barrel of water. They seal the top so it cannot escape. Two weeks later, on a night when there is no moon, the town gathers to open the barrel. When the lid comes off, the moon is gone.

Imagine that, they cry. A thief has stolen it.