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Edouard Vuillard, 1890-1940, at the Jewish Museum

17 Iyyar 5772 – May 8, 2012
"Edouard Vuillard: A Painter and His Muses, 1890-1940" has opened at the New York Jewish Museum and will run through September 23. The exhibition offers a fresh view of the French artist Edouard Vuillard’s career, from the vanguard 1890s to the urbane domesticity of the lesser-known late portraits.

Two Irish Bands Succumb to Cultural Terrorism

15 Iyyar 5772 – May 7, 2012
Two Irish bands scheduled to play highly-publicized concerts in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Nahalal in June have cancelled, citing an overwhelming international uproar over...

A Jewish Palimpsest In Maastricht, Netherlands

13 Iyyar 5772 – May 4, 2012
One of my favorite places when I was growing up in Boston was the used bookstore on Beacon and St. Mary’s streets. Boston Book Annex could play a used bookshop on television; it was dimly lit and cavernous, crawling with cats, and packed with a dizzying array of books, many of which sold three for a dollar. But used bookstores of this sort, however picturesque and inviting, are a relatively modern phenomena. In the Middle Ages, for example, I would never have been able to afford even a single used book unless I had been born into an aristocratic family. (Full disclosure, I was not.)

Shuls On My Mind: Robert Feinland’s Paintings

5 Iyyar 5772 – April 26, 2012
One thing is certain about Robert Feinland - he has shuls on his mind. His career has spanned over 40 years, exploring landscape, cityscape, sculpture and abstraction. For many of those years he has focused on the relentlessly changing urban landscape of New York, feeling the necessity to document and, in some way preserve, the physical fabric of the city he loves. A selection of recent paintings, most concentrating on the Crown Heights community, is currently at the Chassidic Art Institute. Many of the images are of shuls.

Marc Chagall At TEFAF Maastricht

28 Nisan 5772 – April 19, 2012
Jewish medals, several with Hebrew inscriptions and provocative imagery, were among the gems at The European Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht, Netherlands, as I wrote in these pages two weeks ago. Another mini-trend at the fair, which will interest Jewish art aficionados, was an abundance of works by Marc Chagall.

Golden Haggadah: A Unique Methodology

24 Nisan 5772 – April 16, 2012
The Golden Haggadah was created in Catalonia, Spain sometime around 1320. So named because all the illustrations are placed against a patterned gold-leaf background, it is a ritual object of incredible luxury and expense. In light of Marc Michael Epstein’s analysis found in his recent book The Medieval Haggadah, this tiny masterpiece of Jewish art easily ranks among other towering works of complex narration including Giotto’s Scrovegni Chapel in Padua and Michelangelo’s Sistine ceiling in Rome.

Jewish Medals At TEFAF

15 Nisan 5772 – April 6, 2012
It’s virtually impossible to ignore the financial aspects of TEFAF Maastricht, the annual arts and antiques fair in the historic city about two hours south of Amsterdam. More than 250 dealers from nearly 20 countries sell their wares—which span from Greek and Roman antiquities to contemporary sculptures—in the halls of the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre, whose corridors are adorned by nearly 65,000 tulips.

Bird’s Head Haggadah Revealed – The Medieval Haggadah: Art, Narrative & Religious Imagination

7 Nisan 5772 – March 29, 2012
Bird’s Head Haggadah Revealed The Medieval Haggadah: Art, Narrative & Religious Imagination By Marc Michael Epstein, Yale University Press, New Haven and London 2011

Max Ferguson’s Portraits Of His Father

1 Nisan 5772 – March 23, 2012
Max Ferguson’s 1993 painting Katz’s may be the second most iconic representation of the kosher-style delicatessen after the 1989 Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan film, When Harry Met Sally. Ferguson’s photorealistic painting depicts the deli from an interesting perspective, which is simultaneously inviting and hostile—in short, the dichotomy of deli culture.

The Twelve Tribes At The Bialystoker Home

22 Adar 5772 – March 15, 2012
A quiet monument to the courage and determination of hundreds of thousands of Jews sits vulnerable on the Lower East Side of New York City at 228 East Broadway. This location was the former home of the Bialystoker Center, built in 1931.

Thinking Outside The Tzeddakah Box

16 Adar 5772 – March 9, 2012
The whole idea of an artful pushka (tzeddakah or charity box) is almost a tease, if not an outright mockery. Isn’t there something pretty backward about investing time and money in an ornate container to hold alms for the poor?

Jews and Social Conscience Through Photography

8 Adar 5772 – March 1, 2012
The Jewish Museum’s “Radical Camera” is a thrilling, beautiful exhibition that documents the development of socially conscious photography, primarily in New York City. It was a time of great challenges and great change, uptown, downtown and all around. These intensely creative, sensitive and insightful photographers all had a hand in capturing a time when New York and its people were entering the turbulent heart of the 20th century. Isn’t it interesting that the vast majority of them happened to be Jews?

The Purim Narrative At The Pardo Palace

4 Adar 5772 – February 27, 2012
Located about nine miles north of Madrid, the Palacio Real de El Pardo (Pardo Palace) dates back to the early 15th century. Devastated by a March 13, 1604 fire that claimed many works from its priceless art collection, the Pardo Palace and its vast gardens were used as a hunting ground by the Spanish monarchs.

Leah Ashkenazy: Jewish Artist

25 Shevat 5772 – February 17, 2012
We live in a wonderful time for Jewish art. The orthodoxy of 20th century High Modernism has given way to a chaotic but liberated postmodernism willing to try anything, even serious “ethnic” art.

John Logan Approximates Mark Rothko

18 Shevat 5772 – February 10, 2012
Red By John Logan; directed by Robert Falls; starring Edward Gero and Patrick Andrews Jan. 20 – March 11, 2012 Arena...

Making Torah Manifest: Nathan Hilu

11 Shevat 5772 – February 3, 2012
“Man must make the Torah manifest” in every action, speech and creative act. That is clearly the credo of Nathan Hilu, master-artist of the Lower East Side, Torah, Tanach, midrash, Gemara and beyond.

Hebrew Bible From Lisbon At The MET

3 Shevat 5772 – January 26, 2012
Within Shakespeare’s worldview, an assassination like Macbeth’s of King Duncan upset the so-called Great Chain of Being, or the cosmological organizational chart, in which power structures that were clearly articulated could only be disrupted at a cost.

In Search Of South African Jewish Art

1 Shevat 5772 – January 24, 2012
I went to the South African Jewish Museum in Cape Town with high hopes of seeing how South African Jews uniquely approached the fine arts and Jewish ritual objects.

Zaslavsky’s Jews

18 Tevet 5772 – January 12, 2012
Jewish artists do the darndest things. The Chassidic Art Institute, expertly directed by Zev Markowitz, is currently showing the works of Venyamin Zaslavsky, a Ukrainian Jewish artist who has devoted the last 20 years to depictions of pious Jewish life in Jerusalem and the Holy Land.

Have Artists Envisioned Nebuchadnezzar As Hero Or Villain?

9 Tevet 5772 – January 4, 2012
“Despite the fateful part he played in Judah’s history, Nebuchadrezzar [Nebuchadnezzer is sometimes referred to this way] is seen in Jewish tradition in a predominantly favorable light,” wrote Henry W. F. Saggs, the late Assyriologist, toward the end of his Encyclopedia Britannica entry on Nebuchadrezzar II (c. 630—c. 561).

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