The first question a viewer ought to pose regarding any work of art that includes text is: if we strip you of your text, are you significantly changed?
Imagine ritual without symbol. Impossible. The very heart and soul of Jewish ritual, from prayer to matzah, is the symbolic evocation of something else.
The Jewish Museum of Maryland's "Lives Lost" exhibit offers a meditation on a "dramatic but little known story" - according to the museum Associate Director Anita Kassof.
The words reverberate with sweet memories. "Kiss the mezuzah," a grandparent urges his grandchild, while a parent nods approvingly as a rebbe teaches about the proper behavior upon entering or leaving a room ... "and don't forget to kiss the mezuzah!"
Why should we bother with art? A waste of time, bitul Torah, perhaps even a lure into apikoresviewing art, not to mention making it, could be viewed as a can of worms best left unopened.
Sitting stiffly on the very throne from which Pharaoh would later deny G-d and His children's freedom, Joseph surveyed his brothers bowing before him.
Oftentimes, one will find it far more useful to engage a piece of art in terms of what issues it raises and what questions it asks, rather than what ideological statements it offers or answers it proposes.
The ancient Greek poets wrote myths about the Fates - the three daughters of Nyx, the powerful goddess Night. They are also called the Moerae sisters.
The Jewish Museum occupies a singular position in the Jewish universe, acting as a two way mirror.
Even Alfred Molina's "Tevye" may have sounded more Jewish than Adam Heller's Haskell Harelik in "The Immigrant," but nevertheless, the characterization of Jewish life in this play succeeds with powerful impact.
It stands at 120 feet by 720 feet, and it weighs one million pounds.
"You know, I don't really see so well anymore," said Tom Barron as we stood in Arthur Yanoff's Great Barrington studio, trying to safely navigate amongst the blizzard of paper shavings that littered the floor.
Shakespeare's King Lear - furious, embarrassed and downright stunned at his daughter Cordelia's refusal to flatter him as her sisters did in an effort to figure prominently in his will - yells, "Nothing comes from nothing!"
Perhaps far more important than the question of "why paint tragedy?" is the question of how to paint it.
Seth Nadel is active - so much so that his guitar playing can be called "kinetic music," to borrow Agam's term.
"When the Holy One, blessed is He, created the first man, He took him and led him around the trees of the Garden of Eden and said, 'Look at My works!
What makes the Land of Israel so special? Given to us by G-d, this wonderfully diverse corner of earth is much more of a gift than meets the eye.
Forget Portnoy's Complaint. Never mind American Pastoral (1997) or I Married A Communist (1998) and The Human Stain (2000).
He sits somewhat accusingly atop a stamp issued in Russia, remembering the 50th anniversary of his death in 1950.
I recognized him as the Fiddler immediately. Sure, he sat cross-legged on the floor (not the roof) with his back to the audience.