The Jewish Art Salon and the Kraft Center present: Get Lucky: Amulets and Ketubah Art by Judith Joseph.
Art Exhibit curated by organized by the Jewish Art Salon.
Location: The Columbia / Barnard Kraft Center, 606 West 115th Street, New York, NY 10025
Date: Thursday April 18, 2013
6 – 7 PM Opening Reception, Free & Open to the Public
7 – 8 PM Panel Discussion Still, Small Voice in a Noisy World: Jewish Heritage and Contemporary Art. Panelists: Judith Joseph, Alison Kruvant and Isaac Peterson, moderated by Buzz Slutzky.
Exhibit Hours: April 18 – May 20, Sunday – Thursday 9-8, Friday 9-1.
The art of Judith Joseph springs from illuminated manuscripts: decorated, hand-written texts. She loves miniature medieval illustrations with their quirky, often bizarre imagery that ranges from holy inspiration to bawdy violence. Her love of letters encompasses both their calligraphic form and the story they tell.
She started making ketubahs (hand-written, decorated Jewish marriage contracts) at the age of 17, beginning a journey with this art form that has lasted decades and produced some 500 commissioned, original works. She has grown up with the ketubah, and it has grown with her.
Judith’s paintings often contain Hebrew lettering. Her series of hamsa (amulet) paintings began when she painted one for each of her three adult sons, when they moved far from home. She used unstretched canvas, so the paintings could be easily rolled and transported from place to place. She used thehamsa symbol: a hand blocking the evil eye, an ancient image found in Mediterranean countries. The hamsa is often worn during childbirth.
Judith believes in the power of images as a way to focus our intent and will, and the power of words to guide us. Each hamsa image is encircled with a ribbon containing Hebrew inscriptions of the names of archangels (Michael, Raphael, Yuriel, Uzziel, Ezriel, etc.) The letters create a dynamic, dancing border, stand-ins for human beings, as we are expected to create a “fence around the Torah.” (Pirke Avot, 1.1)
More project info:
Jewish Art Salon (with web images): http://www.jewishartsalon.com/2013/03/get-lucky-amulets-and-ketubah-art-by.html
Directions: #1 Train to 116 St, Buses M4, M5, M104 to 116 St. M60 Bus from 125 St Metro-North.
606 West 115th Street, just west off Broadway.
The Jewish Art Salon is a global community of artists and art professionals. It organizes exhibitions, panel discussions and programming with leading international artists and scholars, in order to create an appreciation for innovative Jewish art in the contemporary art world.
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… and try painting with egg tempera, instead of their usual media (oil, acrylic). It was a joy to share my favorite medium with my critique group (Ellen Holtzblatt, Monica Sageman, Gabriella Boros, Colleen Cox and Jackie Eddy.) We enjoyed the hospitality of Cindy Jevon’s PerficalSense Studio and Art Salon.
Egg tempera can be purchased in tubes, but the traditional (and most rewarding) way to use it is by mixing pure pigments (the color ingredient in all paints) with the yolk of an egg on a glass palette. A little water is added to thin the paint, and the result is a brilliantly vivid, water-soluble paint that allows for transparent glazes and layers, opaque paint when desired and incredibly fine lines for detail.
Here are some examples of how I have used egg tempera:
… more can be seen on my website.
In her NY Times review of Saul Steinberg: A Biography, by Deirdre Bair, Deborah Solomon reminds us that Steinberg was most famous for his “View of the World From 9th Avenue”, a Manhattan-centric remapping of the world.
Steinberg was a prolific cartoonist for The New Yorker. In addition, his drawings and sculptures were shown in high-brow galleries and museums, and prized by art collectors.
Solomon, who authored a forthcoming biography of Norman Rockwell, has good reason to be well-versed on the topic of “fine art” vs. “illustration”. About Steinberg, she comments: ”In his heyday, art critics butted heads over whether his drawings should be considered cartooning, illustration or museum-worthy art. By now such attempts at classification seem beside the point. Most of us do not believe that an invisible velvet rope separates museum art from magazine art, or that a painting hanging at the Museum of Modern Art is automatically superior in aesthetic terms to a children’s book illustration. The truth is that any genre can produce works of enduring power” (italics mine.)
Solomon cites an anecdote from the biography that mirrors this pedestal-busting view of art: ”(Steinberg) once described Picasso, after visiting him at his villa outside Cannes, as ‘an old Jewish man in the Florida sun– all torso and shorts.’”
What do you think? Is there an important distinction between illustration and fine art? Does it matter?
Thomas Hart Benton: A Life is a new biography of the American Regionalist artist by Justin Wolff (reviewed in the NY Times 7-1-12.) Reading about Benton reminded me of my scorn for this reactionary, xenophobic, homophobe back when I was in art school in the 1970′s. His life’s arc is summed up by the fact that this popular and successful Social Realist artist was eclipsed by his former student, Jackson Pollock. Benton’s stylized realism and nostalgic view of a simpler America was like Andy Griffith at a Lady Gaga concert.
My personal view of Benton evolved as I outgrew the need to square off against ideologies in art, in order to form my own identity. In other words, I put aside my own prejudices against Benton’s prejudices, and took a fresh look at his work. In the mid 80′s, I happened upon a trove of Benton lithographs in an exhibit at R. S. Johnson Fine Art in Chicago. I was struck by the sinuous beauty and powerfully expressive line in Benton’s graphic work.
Reading about Benton today, I thought about ways his influence pervaded American art. One of my favorite films is Night Of The Hunter, by Charles Laughton. Looking at film stills, it is clear that Laughton had a painter’s sense of expressionist drama. Perhaps his stylized view was influenced by Benton’s view of silhouettes of the human drama, played out against the gentle swell of Midwestern plains and river valleys.
Grant Wood, despite the iconic status of American Gothic, also has been marginalized. Until I saw the fine collection of his work at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art in Iowa, I thought of him as a one-hit-wonder. Like Benton, his work has a lyrical, stylized approach to American landscape that is as distinctive as it is beautiful. It is well worth a second look.