The Age of Magic

If you think of Houdini as a man of art, you also have to think of him as a man of science. As most artists in the past, he is always working at the edge of technological development…That’s why I think when you see interesting magic today, you have to think about films, imagination. That’s the continuation of Houdini’s legacy.
                                                                                                    –Vik Muniz, Artist

The San Francisco Contemporary Jewish Museum‘s exhibit on Houdini: Art and Magic finished last week, but you can still view highlights.

During his abbreviated lifetime, Harry Houdini (born Erik Weisz) gained international renown as a magician, performer and author, aided, no doubt, by his own considerable skill as a self-promoter and a time period that offered few alternatives to live performance.

Biographer Christopher Sandford writes that Houdini befriended author Arthur Conan Doyle during a brief period when they shared an enthusiasm for spiritualism; Houdini initially believed he might be able to speak with his deceased mother but his own gift for subterfuge made him naturally skeptical of séances.

He clashed with Conan Doyle and devoted himself to debunking spiritualism, most prominently with his 1924 book, A Magician Among the Spirits, and 1926 testimony before Congress.

Leave it to the magic of Hollywood to resurrect any friendship; media, after all, is just the plural of medium.


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