Got that pioneering spirit? You’re invited to help build Israel’s periphery by planting roots in southern soil with Nefesh B’Nefesh.
Artists 4 Israel: Response Art Series
September 1 – 14, 2011 – Opening September 1; 7:00 p.m.
There is a short list of things that really matter: family, friends, country and faith the most. For many Jews, our people and Israel occupy an almost sacred place in the order of commitment and passion. Therefore, when either the Jewish people or the legitimacy of the State of Israel are attacked and slandered, we react passionately. In a visceral way these things are crucial to the very core of our identity. How do contemporary Jewish artists respond?
The answer is emphatically provided by two exhibitions in September at the Dershowitz Center Gallery at Industry City (Bush Terminal) in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn. The Response Art Series created by Sheryl Intrator and Artists 4 Israel has challenged New York area artists to create works that support Israel’s right to exist in peace and security. All of the works are newly created and are in response to a recent series of pro-Israel lectures, panel discussions and the Fogel family memorial service at Congregation Kehillat Jeshurun in Manhattan.
Terror: Artists Respond curated by Chava Evans and Yona Verwer (in collaboration with Jewish Art Salon, Art Kibbutz NY and Mima’amakim) solicited an international group of artists to submit works that reflect their reaction to terror attacks in the ten years since 9/11. Both shows demonstrate the passionate response of Jewish artists to these dual threats: accusations of illegitimacy and random violence and murder. The result is moving, creative and devastating.
Dan Keinan’s riveting and ironic image of five religious girls running and playing on the concrete base of the security wall introduces us to a seldom explored side of the consequences of terror. While the barrier’s deleterious effect on Palestinians has been endlessly used in anti-Israel propaganda, the effect on Israeli youth has been seldom explored as effectively as this image, Growing under Concrete.
Jewish artistic responses to attacks against Jews have a particularly rich history, especially in the 20th century. Holocaust art is of course a prime example with one of the earliest examples, Marc Chagall’s White Crucifixion (1938), being the artist’s challenge to Judaize this iconic Christian image into a scathing examination of European Jewish suffering. Noteworthy among many other examples is Arthur Szyk’s Haggadah (1934 – 1936) that reconceives Egyptian cruelty as a direct predecessor to German oppression and anti-Semitism.
It is the unbearable nature of baseless hate that causes Jewish artists to react with such originality and passion. In the last 20 years two artists have notoriously created responses in the postmodern form of the graphic novel. Art Spiegelman’s Maus (1986-1991) casts mice as the Jews and cats as the Nazis to retell his father’s survival of the Holocaust and post-war travails. It simultaneously creates distance and intimacy in the search for understanding and closure in a Holocaust survivor’s offspring, the author and artist himself. In a radically different approach to dissecting exactly where anti-Semitic hate come from, Will Eisner’s last graphic novel, The Plot: The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (2005) traces the history of the Protocols first fabricated by Tsarist secret police and then promoted by Henry Ford, Adolf Hitler, the Ku Klux Klan and Islamic fundamentalists among countless others. This is the “father of the graphic novel’s” (NY Times) heroic attempt to set the record straight for his people and help turn back the tide of hate.
When all is said and done it is Jewish faith that drives love of Israel and the Jewish people. Shoshannah Brombacher’s hallucinatory Kaddish seemed to sum up the locus of that faith, much as the kaddish itself, said countless times each day. The kaddish is unique in Jewish prayer, never mentioning God directly and, as a form of praise and celebration of God, only refers to “the Name” as the object of our adoration and blessing. It is the abstract nature of the kaddish, both in mourning and in praise, that allows us to focus on the actual substance of what we believe. Brombacher’s image mysteriously mixes the Aramaic text with fleeting images, snippets of figures dashing off the page, smudges of explosions interspersed with blotches of black that summon violence and blood. And yet in this chaos we insist on our faith in our God. This is why these artists effectively had no choice but to respond to the threat in our time to that which we hold dear.
Richard McBee is a painter and writer on Jewish Art. Contact him at email@example.com.
About the Author: Richard McBee is a painter and writer on Jewish Art. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
No tweets found.
Yet all are part of one neshamah, planted in rich, verdant soil, determined to grow. May our garden continue to produce a glorious assortment of flowers and trees, each attached firmly to its roots. Our diverse southern vegetation flourishes and grows into different trees, flowers, and fruits, and a rainbow of glorious shades and hues appears. Yet each shoot is rooted in the same soil, stretching its branches and blossoms heavenward in an endless pursuit of growth and connection to the One above.
This past Lag B’Omer, we were blessed to make our first upsherin, where we celebrate our son’s first hair cut. It’s a wonderful milestone that mimics the three years that we refrain from plucking a tree’s first fruits and symbolizes the entry of the child into the world of Torah learning. It’s a clear sign to everyone; this boy is no longer a baby.
Although there are more direct and faster routes to Beer Sheva and Eilat and all the sites and towns in-between, the Basor River is one of the beauties of the Negev that defiantly justifies a diversion.
The importance of death customs has been ingrained in me since birth. When I served as a shomeret for my grandmother, I was instructed not to eat, drink or perform a mitzvah in the same room. In the shock of death, it seemed rather inane to be told it would be considered mocking the dead. My grandmother was gone; she couldn’t do those things because she didn’t exist anymore, a fact that still makes me tear up.
I would have to say that one of the most annoying things about having a newspaper advice column, aside from all these people writing to me and asking for advice, is that they frequently don’t tell me WHY they’re asking.
Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt”l, who passed away on 28 Tammuz, (July18) this year at age 102, spent all of his days and most of his nights learning Torah. He was the paramount leader of our generation, and inspired tremendous awe and reverence in everyone who knew him. Now, every woman has the stunning opportunity to do something in his memory. A Sefer Torah is being written in his memory and women around the world have the chance to dedicate a letter.
Due to her family situation, it is understandable that she will have more responsibilities than other girls her age, but she would benefit from having some free time and receiving more appreciation for her hard work.
For children, summer means outdoor sports, picnics, and of course, no school! Teachers and students work hard all year long – and everyone deserves a break from education over the summer. However, this two-month break can often have some pretty devastating consequences.
It was only after we celebrated the great news that we were expecting twins that we saw the first sign of problems. First of all, my wife was losing, not gaining weight, even as the babies continued to grow normally. Soon after, routine blood work revealed that my wife was suffering from gestational diabetes.
Rabbi Pinchas Gruman is the new rav of the Minyan at Aish Tamid.
One of the most respected Torah figures in Los Angeles, Rabbi Gruman has been described as “The Los Angeles link in the mesorah of the yeshiva world” by Rabbi Nachum Sauer. As a talmid in Lakewood in the 1950s, Rabbi Gruman received semicha from Rav Aaron Kotler, zt”l, and Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l. Soon after, he moved to Los Angeles.
Another tree is down.
I’m driving down Lakewood Avenue, figuring that maybe, just maybe, the tree that blocked the middle of North Lake Drive has been removed, and I can go through. After all, they had a whole day. I’m sure things have been taken care of.
Whether it is the disastrous report of the 12 spies or the furious condemnation that doomed an entire generation to die in the wilderness, the Torah narrative in Bamidbar turns terribly grim after the glorious inauguration of the Mishkan in the second year after leaving Egypt. With this in mind, just imagine my surprise at an encounter with two artists who address these (and other Biblical) themes right around the corner.
I have always had a problem with the Omer. Doing the mitzvah of counting the Omer was of course pretty easy. Remembering to start the second evening of Passover and remembering to stop the day before Shavous took a little concentration but somehow I always managed. No, for me the nagging problem was always why was I doing this in the first place, other than the fact it was a biblical (according to the Rambam) commandment.
The megillahs beg to be illustrated. Each is associated with a notable holiday and each presents an idiosyncratic view of Jewish history and experience. Those that are not overtly narrative cry out to be narrated while the others present the most compelling stories imaginable. Song of Songs is scandalous until tamed by rabbinic interpretation; Koheles equally assaults a pious worldview, Eichah tears our hearts out, while Esther fills us with fear and pride. And finally Ruth causes us to examine the very foundations of the Messiah. Alas, their pictorial history is uneven.
Michael and Judy Steinhardt are putting their magnificent Judaica collection up for sale at Sotheby’s in New York on April 29. The results of 44 years of diverse collecting will be on view from Wednesday April 24 and simply must be seen by anyone interested in Jewish visual and material culture.
Two masters of modern photography are on view at the International Center of Photography; Chim (Szymin) aka David Seymour and Roman Vishniac. They are both Jewish and just happen to bring astute but radically different visions to Jewish photographic subjects. These brilliant, exhaustive exhibitions help us examine the fundamentals of what it means to create a Jewish Art in photography.
There is a special class of Jewish artists who toil in the rich fields of Tanach and Jewish practice for years and years, quietly establishing a foundation of visual and intellectual markers for generation of artists to come. Ruth Weisberg is clearly one of these founders. Her seminal work articulates an approach to the Jewish narrative deeply informed by a Jewish feminism.
A Documentary Produced and Edited by Avi Angel Based on “Three Mothers for Two Brothers” by Izhak Weinberg 54 minutes: Quad Cinema March 1 – 7; soon on Amazon and iTunes What is your earliest memory? Itzik Weinberg’s earliest memory may be of him and his younger brother, Avner, fleeing the invading Germans in Cracow, [...]
Bezalel, oh Bezalel, what company you keep! Your parsha, Ki Sisa, takes us from humble devotion to God’s commandments to the utter collapse of Israel’s faith. God-inspired creativity morphs into pernicious communal idolatry that expresses gnawing doubt and a desperate need for the mechanics of teshuvah. Yet in the midst of tragedy, drama and redemption, one quiet man and his assistant, Bezalel and Oholiab, were chosen by God to become the alleged ancestors of all Jewish artists.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/artists-4-israel-response-art-series-terror-artists-respond-2/2011/08/31/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online:
No related posts.