Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.
True to his postmodern modality, Falk frequently misdirects the viewer, establishing the real point of his narrative investigations at the margins of the image. In Abraham and the Strangers (Hagar & Ishmael) (2005) the three strangers establish a rhythm of three figures clad in spooky white robes as Abraham dutifully washes their feet. While at first glance it is a celebration of Abraham’s kindness and welcoming nature, the painting is actually delving into the all-important sub-plot that the stranger’s arrival will explode. In the lower left the skeptical profile of Sarah watches the scene. Her gaze extends through the visitors to the figures of Ishmael and Hagar in contemporary Palestinian dress. With perfect biblical hindsight we can well understand that this episode will effectively eject Hagar and Ishmael from Abraham’s family, thereby turning the stranger’s arrival to the beginning of their exile and alienation from the descendants of Abraham. Our contemporary conflict with the Arabs began at that moment.
Abraham and the Strangers (Hagar & Ishmael) (2005),
watercolor by Alan Falk (Courtesy the artist)
Given a bit of patience and the understanding that Falk sees a direct connection between the Biblical narrative and the contemporary world, his work seems less strange and more engaged with the heart of our core narratives. The Scapegoat Again (The Azazel) (2009) hones in on a major motif in his explorations: Consequences. Central to the Yom Kippur service is sending the scapegoat to Azazel. The death of this goat, combined with our proper repentance, will expiate our sins. Of course we no longer have this Temple-based option, and must depend on the three-fold formula of Repentance, Prayer and Charity to remove the terrible decree against us as Yom Kippur draws to a close. But the scapegoat lingers in our memory and Falk presents him close-up. He stares at us with unnerving goat-eyes, the red string that condemned him in the first place still attached to his horns. And yet he is trapped in barbed wire behind his neck and in his mouth. For Falk it is the barbed wire of the Holocaust that traps our ancient expiation of sin. Could the murder of millions somehow expiate our sins? What are the consequences of their martyrdom that portend for us, for our sins? Because of them and what they suffered, must we lead better Jewish lives?
The Scapegoat Again (The Azazel) (2009),
watercolor by Alan Falk (Courtesy the artist)
An artist’s job is to ask questions, questions that will startle and gnaw at our complacency. That is the role in Falk’s art, a kind of anti-aesthetic drawn from comics, popular film and anime illustration. He is looking to highjack our sensibilities into asking uncomfortable questions about our Jewish lives. Our discomfort is a measure of his success that is much to our benefit.
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.
Each student received a brachah and a handshake.
Sadly, there are mothers who, due to severe depression are unable or unwilling to prepare nourishing food for their children.
Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!
Though if you do have a schach mat, you’ll realize that it cannot actually support the weight of the water.
Social disabilities occur at many levels, but experts identify three different areas of learning and behavior that are most common for children who struggle to create lasting social connections.
Sukkot is an eternal time of joy, and if we are worthy, of plenty.
Two of our brothers, Jonathan Pollard and Alan Gross, sit in the pit of captivity. We have a mandate to see that they are freed.
Chabad of South Broward has 15 Chabad Houses in ten cities.
Victor Center works in partnership with healthcare professionals, clergy, and the community to sponsor education programs and college campus out reach.
So just in case you’re stuck in the house this Chol HaMoed – because there’s a new baby or because someone has a cold – not because of anything worse, here are six ideas for family fun at home.
We are told that someone who says that God’s mercy extends to a bird’s nest should be silenced.
“Vidduy: The Musical” breaks through the formidable barrier of repetitive confession to allow us to begin to understand what is at the heart of this fundamental religious act.
A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.
Silverstein’s work has long concerned itself with the intersection between the personal and Jewish Biblical narrative, significantly explored in this column in “Brighton Beach Bible” (July 27, 2009).
Not surprisingly the guardians of synagogue tradition is male dominated in both Moses Abraham, Cantor and Mohel and Synagogue Lamp Lighters.
Neither helpless victims nor able to escape the killer’s clutches, the leaders had to make impossible choices on a daily basis in a never-ending dance with the devil.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/arts/alan-falks-lessons/2011/08/17/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: