Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
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.
Everyone is always looking for cute yet simple and inexpensive ideas to enhance their table at special occasions. Here are some attractive ways to create that festive look. Whether you use china or plastic, your guests will surely be delighted with your charming setup.
Wouldn’t it be great if you had a chavrusa working with you, guiding and helping you in your work environment?
What made an M.I.T. scholarship student, taking time off from his doctorate in medicine, to backpack, and then decide to backtrack, chuck it all… and get a haircut? Perhaps it is easier to understand a Harvard law student becoming enamored with the logic of Gemara and settling down to struggle with the intellectual challenges of Aramaic acrobatics.
JetBlue flew an empty aircraft from Boston to JFK to assist us. The care and concern of the flight attendants was amazing. They were astounded by our group, so much so that at the end of the flight, the captain related for all to hear that he was truly impressed by the care that the HASC counselors provided for the special-needs campers – all of whom have physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. We did our best to demonstrate a true kiddush Hashem.
Q: What does twice exceptional or 2e mean?
The battle over partnership minyans is just the latest scuffle in the war over women’s roles in the Orthodox community.
Last month’s column outlined some efforts during the first half of the nineteenth century to establish Jewish agricultural colonies in America. In only one case was a colony actually established.
According to Maimonides, the great medieval Jewish scholar, “Gifts for the poor [matanot l’evyonim] deserve more attention than the seudah and mishloach manot because there is no greater, richer happiness than bringing joy to the hearts of needy people, orphans, widows and proselytes.”
Having everyone home on a snow day can be a lot of fun – the first few times it happens. Once snow day number six hits, perhaps not so much and the real creativity has to come out.
Imich was born in 1903 in Poland, where he later earned his Ph.D. in 1927, despite the best efforts of anti-Semitic professors to sabotage his thesis
Never sacrifice the people who matter for anything of lesser importance…
Hannah believed that one must learn about the evils of the past so that they aren’t repeated.
The fact that the Jewish Museum’s curator Susan Tumarkin Goodman presents these issues as the inescapable core of her exhibition demonstrates the courage to challenge her audience with deeply discomforting images and concepts.
Lynda Caspe’s current exhibition at the Derfner Museum is an extraordinary event. In this show of 12 bronze relief sculptures and 14 cityscape paintings we have the opportunity to see the full scope of her last six years of work that, as least with the sculptures, marked a radical change in subject matter and technique.
The philosopher Theodor Adorno famously wrote in 1949, “cultural criticism finds itself with the final stage of the dialectic of culture and barbarism. To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric.” This statement posited that the Holocaust exposed the unredeemable rotten underbelly of Western culture and therefore the very notion of creating beauty and sensitivity was at an insurmountable impasse. Alas, as cultural history has shown, he was wrong. Strikingly, it might be said that one of the few ways still provocatively available to speak about the Holocaust is in fact through poetry.
“Hyman Bloom: Paintings and Drawings (1940 – 2005),” currently at White Box (the cutting edge international art space on Broome Street), is a rare opportunity to observe the creative process of one of the most important practitioners of 20th century Jewish Art in America.
The “book” is a mighty big place these days and the current exhibition at MOBIA, “As Subject and Object: Contemporary Book Artists Explore Sacred Hebrew Texts,” is no exception. Highly mobile ebooks compete with online publications and traditionally bound volumes, scrolls, accordion-style tomes and folios that present equally exciting options for contemporary artists to interact with image and text in one unifying medium.
At the Chassidic Art Institute one artist, Harry McCormick, has rather amazingly fathomed the authentic heartbeat of the individual Jewish life. This exhibition, running until July 25, shows a mere 16 paintings, but six of them reveal a deeply perceptive and sensitive chronicle of Yiddishkeit.
Judaica Auctions and the exhibition that precede them at Kestenbaum & Company are always a cornucopia of aesthetic delights. The sheer variety and overall quality of the ceremonial objects and works of art make the exhibition and catalogue a museum-like experience. The current exhibition is no exception.
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.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/arts/alan-falks-lessons/2011/08/17/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online:
No related posts.