Huffington Post features Richard McBee & Yona Verwer

Religion Is Alive and Well in Contemporary Art

Huffington Post, August 18, 2014 

Yona Verwer
Visiting Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Hamilton College

On a breezy summer day, I joined a group of artists and writers in the basement of the Liberty Bar in midtown Manhattan to discuss the many places religious life meets the visual arts. The meeting took place under the auspices of the Society for the Arts, Religion, and Contemporary Culture, founded in the 1960s by theologian Paul Tillich and Alfred H. Barr, Jr, the first director of the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Erling Hope organized the event. Contrary to the shortsighted views of secular art critics, one thing is clear: religion is alive and well in contemporary art.
Artists are toying with and tweaking rituals until they become relevant again to a new age. Article continues here
View McBee's and Verwer's work in the accompanying slide show.

Sh'ma Journal features Yehudis Barmatz

Forest of Bondage
The Sh'ma Journal, an "independent think tank" of Jewish ideas features images this month on the topic of "seeking". These works by Israeli artist Yehudis Barmatz-Harris reflect her philosophy and approach to the arts; her belief in the creative arts process as providing confidence, healing, soul searching and reflection. See the online gallery here.

Andi Arnovitz's Many International Exhibits

Arnovitz is one of ten international finalists:
Philadelphia's Print Center’s 88th Annual International Competition features works by 39 of the finest contemporary artists working today. This year the competition was juried by Julia Dolan, Minor White Curator of Photography, and Bruce Guenther, Chief Curator, Mercedes Eichholz Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, both of the Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR. The Print Center’s Annual International Competition is one of the most prestigious and oldest juried exhibitions in the United States. The Print Center 

“Echoes of the Borscht Belt” by Marisa Scheinfeld

Opening September 10th New York's Yeshiva University Museum will present Marisa Scheinfeld’s haunting photos of abandoned sites where Borscht Belt resorts once boomed in the Catskill Mountain region of upstate New York.

“Echoes of the Borscht Belt” assembles images Scheinfeld has shot inside and outside structures that once buzzed with life as summer havens for generations of New York Jews.

Scheinfeld, who grew up in the region, began her documentary photo project in 2009; this exhibition marks the first time audiences can see her work on the large scale for which it was conceived. 

Ruth Schreiber's European Day of Jewish Culture

Schreiber is participating in the exhibition “Hear O Israel” in the Omero Museum, Alcona, Italy, as part of the European Day of Jewish Culture 2014, running from Sept 14th-28th.
She is showing her hand-built porcelain work “Love Letter”, accompanied by a YouTube video

She is also the featured artist at the European Day of Jewish Culture exhibition called “Women in Judaism” running September 14th-28th at Attenweiler, Germany.
Schreiber is showing bronzes and other sculptures, and also her photograph “Pregnancy Diptych”.

"Dialogs with Great Photographers" with Neil Folberg

The twelfth edition to the continuing series is a conversation with Neil Folberg. The photographer is renowned for his challenging bodies of work such as "Celestial Nights: Visions of an Ancient Land" depicting earthly elements mirrored by the heavenly sky as well as the series "Travels with Van Gogh and the Impressionists" which is a contemporary photographic take on Impressionist paintings. Folberg discusses these series and reflects on various topics including his early studies with Ansel Adams and the role of Israel in his work and life.

Sara Tasini has conducted a series of informal talks with great contemporary photographers such as John Dugdale, Sandy Skoglund & Flor Garduno. Photographers' motivations and personal insights are enlightening! Click here for access to the whole series. Click here for Folberg.

Carole P. Kunstadt’s ‘Between the Lines’

Clare Gallery at the Franciscan Center for Urban Ministry and the Charter Oak Cultural Center present Between The Lines: Works by Carole P. Kunstadt, an exhibition of works by the New York artist, B.F.A., Hartford Art School. The partnership presents two exhibitions from September to December, 2014, providing a survey of the artist’s past and current work.
The first takes place Sept. 8 through Oct. 10 at Charter Oak Cultural Center.  It showcases works from Kunstadt’s Sacred Poems Series and Markings Series. The opening reception is 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11. On Wednesday, Oct. 1, noon to 1 p.m., Kunstadt will discuss her work, describing her materials and concepts.

Kunstadt’s works reference the material of books, deconstructing paper and text, and using it in metaphorical ways. Her devotion to books is inspired by the ability of the written word to take the reader to other places through stories, poems, and prayers. 

Boris Lurie No!Art 2014

The Boris Lurie Foundation is exhibiting KZ Kampf Kunst at the former Gestapo Headquarters in Cologne, Germany.
August 29 - Nov 2, 2014.
NS-Dokumentationszentrum der Stadt Köln.
Appellhofplatz 23-25, 50667 Köln, Germany.
Phone: 0221 2212 6332

A historical retrospective of Boris Lurie works at the most poignant and terrifying setting imaginable: the former headquarters of the Gestapo in Cologne (currently a National Socialism Documentation Center).

More info here.

The Jewish Waltz with Planet Earth - Exhibit at Governor's Island

This Jewish Environmental Land Art Exhibit by Art Kibbutz takes place the first 2 weeks of August 2014.

Exhibition opening: Sunday, August 3 at 3pm.

Governor’s Island, NY. Colonel’s Row - Building 407-A.

Opening words: Nigel Savage, Hazon; Curator Yona Verwer, Art Kibbutz.

Exhibition Hours: August 1 - 15, 2014, 12 - 5 pm daily.

Image: Eden Forest © 2013-2014 Cynthia Beth Rubin

Art Kibbutz’s select group of artists give collaborative and creative Jewish responses to food security, farming, and sustainable development. They spent a month creating works inspired by nature and our rich heritage. 

The exhibition also shows how this revolutionary, unprecedented project, was a living model of a thriving, inspired, sustainable Jewish artistic community, grounded in social responsibility and the Jewish heritage. 
Participating artists: Asherah Cinnamon, Nikki Green (Australia), Carol Phillips, Emmett Leader, Cynthia Beth Rubin, Elyssa Wortzman, Deborah Margo and Devora Newmark (Canada), Paul Solomon. Artist residency by Leah Caroline.
Curator: Yona Verwer. (Bold names are Jewish Art Salon members).

Apply Now for Jewish Artist Residency at Governor's Island, NY

Art Kibbutz Residency
Governor's Island at Colonel's Row, Building 406A
August 1 - 15, 2014
* Applications OPEN
Art Kibbutz is bringing Jewish art to Governor's Island, one of NYC's hottest art spots. Opportunity for a small group of artists to work together in community and include the general public in the project.

There are still a few spots left in this summer residency. While the first floor of the building will be used as a gallery space, they are offering rooms on the 2nd floor and 3rd floor as work space (not living space). 

More info here.

Blue Like Me: The Art of Siona Benjamin

This documentary-in-progress by Hal Rifken will be completed soon. 

It portrays Siona's life, her diverse cultural experiences growing up as a Jew in India, and her Fulbright project titled Faces: Weaving Indian Jewish Narratives.

The public is invited to an event at the Indian Consulate in New York on July 23rd

Two calls for art images - "Seeking" and "Hayom harat ha-olam"

A national Jewish art publication seeks images for its online gallery for the August & September issues. 

 artists who applied for membership in the Jewish Art Salon 
I. August issue 

Theme: artwork about the relationship between questions and liturgy/theology, or the role of seeking in Judaism. 

You will be mentioned with a paragraph about your work and a link to your website.

Sh'ma Issue on Trafficking features Dorit Jordan Dotan

       Trafficking Is a Jewish Concern

First published in October 2008, Sh'ma is re-purposing this Sh'ma issue on trafficking because the problem—the coerced movement and labor of women, children, and men worldwide—continues to grow. 

Trafficking and Forced Prostitution of Women in Israel 
This month's issue features the art of Dorit Jordan Dotan here. In 2007, Dotan accompanied Rita Chaiken, Anti-Traffiking Project Coordinator for Isha L’Isha – Haifa Feminist Center, to search where trafficked women were held, and where they were forced to work as prostitutes.  The vast majority of women were trafficked from Eastern Europe (Moldavia, Russia, Ukraine, etc.).

Arie Galles' Fourteen Stations

Arie Galles - Babi Yar
Charcoal and white Conté.
“Fourteen Stations/Hey Yud Dalet”, a suite of Holocaust drawings by Arie Galles, refers to the "Fourteen Stations of the Cross", and to the fact that each concentration camp was established near a railroad station. 

The series is on exhibit till the end of August at the Stefan Szydlowski Gallery, Warsaw, Poland.

The Hebrew title "Hey Yud Dalet," the acronym of "Hashem Yinkom Damam," “May God avenge their blood,” has been carved into the gravestones of Jewish martyrs throughout the centuries. Within each drawing Galles hand lettered and embedded one fourteenth of the Kaddish. Interwoven into the texture of each drawing, these Aramaic and Hebrew phrases are invisible. The full suite of drawings completes the Kaddish, offering the prayer for those who perished and had no family to recite it for them.  
View the work here.

Mark Podwal's Terezin Exhibit Review

Mark Podwal - The Holy City 1099
“All This Has Come Upon Us…” Mark Podwal at the Terezin Ghetto Museum
Sanctuary is a place of refuge, solace and protection that easily functions as a mental as well as physical state. Mark Podwal’s ( latest series of artworks provides a kind of summation of a lifetime of mournful contemplation of Jewish history; a chilling chronicle of Jewish misfortune tempered by the balm of the Book of Psalms and his elegant artworks. The timing of the release of these works surely reflects the growing apprehension that the world is growing more dangerous for the Jewish state and especially urgent for the threatened European Jewish communities. History has seldom been so relevant. 

Article continues here

Call for NYC artist with large studio

For our events for COJECO's CWW programs the Jewish Art Salon is looking to hire a NYC artist for a 2-hour event in September or October.
  • Artist needs to have a studio space that accommodates 20 visitors. We can rent additional chairs if needed.
  • Studio located preferably in Manhattan, or easy subway access in Brooklyn, close to Manhattan.
  • The artist will give a brief tour of his/her artwork, followed by a lecture and hands-on workshop.
  • The lecture and workshop need to have a Jewish component. The nature of the lecture will be decided in conjunction with our co-organizers RJeneration.
  • Event will take place on a weeknight (Monday - Thursday, approx.6-8 PM; studio needs to be available from 5-9PM).

Call for Art Images - Trafficking

For a national Jewish art publication's online gallery, July issue. 

Theme: artwork that has to do with human trafficking. 
You will be mentioned with a paragraph about your work and a link to your website.
Deadline: June 21

Shma Journal's Jewish Neighborhoods features Ben Schachter & Dorit Jordan Dotan

Ben Schachter - Sidney Eruv
June's issue of the Sh'ma Journal is about the role neighborhoods have played and may still play in our lives. Are certain features — the sense of being known in one's neighborhood — disappearing? Or, do we now understand the constructs of neighborhood differently? What roles do virtual communities play, and what will be their resonance and staying power? How might we create shared histories and connections that transcend geography? 

This issue features theme-related art by Jewish Art Salon members Ben Schachter and Dorit Jordan Dotan. 

More about Schachter's work about the eruv in Sh'ma here and Dotan's about Haifa's Wadi Salib neighborhood here.

Dorit Jordan Dotan

2014 Skirball Artists' Beit Midrash Exhibit

The Skirball Center at Temple Emanu-el, 1 East 65th St., NYC

Transformations, an exhibition showcasing the works of 20 Jewish visual artists opens on Monday, June 16th at 6pm in the gallery space at Temple Emanu-El on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.  The show is the culmination of a year-long program during which the artists studied Torah together and made art inspired by Jewish sources under the aegis of the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning. 

A number of the participants in this Visual Artists Beit Midrash are well known in Jewish art circles, having shown their work in Jewish museums in the NYC area and around the country.  

Artist Q, Artist A: Yona Verwer Talks to Mirta Kupferminc

Zeek Magazine, May 31, 2014

Artist Q, Artist A is Zeek’s new series of artist-artist conversations.
Argentina-born Mirta Kupferminc is an award-winning artist living in Buenos Aires. A daughter of Auschwitz survivors, she focuses her art on memory, identity, migrations, and human rights. She is a member of the Jewish Art Salon, and the first ever international fellow at LABA’s House of Study in New York City.
At the 14 St Y she’s also exhibiting an artist book from “Mothers in the Bible Talk to Wichi Mothers,” a Schusterman Make It Happen project, created as part of a cultural exchange arranged for this project between Jewish ORT students and a mother from an Argentine Wichi tribe, an indigenous matriarchal people. 
Verwer & Kupferminc discuss Jewish art in South America, LABA: House of Study Fellowship, Jewish writers’ palms of hands, crossed by their own texts. Read interview here.

Artists Beit Midrash starting in Chicago

What is the Artists' Beit Midrash?
An opportunity to study Jewish sacred texts as a springboard to artistic creation.
Community of artists who find inspiration in their heritage. A non-denominational study/creative group. A supportive critique environment for feedback about your work. A spur to create, culminating in a group exhibition.
Facilitators: Jane Shapiro and Judith Joseph
This model of study/art critique was started in New York by artist Tobi Kahn. It has generated groups in New Jersey, Seattle and Connecticut, and the New York group partially inspired the creation of the Jewish Art Salon. It gives artists an environment to explore their Jewish heritage creatively while being enriched educationally.

The Holocaust Portfolio by Martin Mendelsberg

Holocaust Memorial Center, Farmington Hills, MI.

Opening Reception & Artist Talk Sunday June 3, 3 PM

Mendelsberg combines Hebrew characters with historical photographs of life before and during the Holocaust.
He gives meaning to each letter and memorializes the victims.

View the portfolio here.

Off Label: Ceremonial Objects Imagined

With With our - Digital print by Ken Goldman
Art review by Richard McBee
After the shock of recognition that the artists are speaking our language, but with a slightly different accent, the well-informed observer will recognize that serious thought-provoking pieces of Jewish art can easily also put a smile on one’s face.
This brilliant exhibition, curated by noted artist and teacher Tobi Kahn, showcases the work of two Israeli-American artists who view traditional practice through a looking glass of wry humor that is dark, ironic, modern and yet wonderfully liberating. They both interrogate traditional observance through visual and conceptual conundrums that, if we think about it, we all face every day. Article continues here.

Collectively Independent: Exhibit of Young Russian-American Artists

Irina Sheynfeld - New York 1
  • The National Arts Club, Trask gallery.
  • 15 Gramercy Park South, New York, New York 10003

  • June 2 - 27
Opening Reception: Monday, June 2, 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

In celebration of the 12th Annual Russian Heritage Month®, the Russian American Foundation in collaboration with COJECO BluePrint fellowship program presents the exhibit of 5 emerging Russian-American artists: Margarita Korol, Michael Korosty, Tanya Levina, Artem Mirolevich, and Irina Sheynfeld. (bold names are J.A. Salon members)
   Russian Heritage Month® which takes place every year in June, consists of a month-long series of events which celebrate and honor the rich diversity of cultural traditions brought to this country from the various regions of the former Soviet Union. This month will commemorate the 35th anniversary of the 3rd wave of Russian immigration to the US.

RSVP with Liana Pailodze at
(212)687-6118 ext 203

   The Russian American Foundation was founded in 1997 to encourage interest in and understanding of Russian heritage among all communities in the US, as well as to promote reciprocal interest in and understanding of American heritage among global Russian-speaking communities.
   The COJECO BluePrint Fellowship is a highly selective year-long program for Russian-speaking Jewish adults ages 25-40 to explore personal and collective identity through the creation of community projects.

*This program is supported, in part, by public funds contributed to the Russian American Foundation, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Lashon Hara Exhibit by Robin Atlas

Sidney and Gertrude Zack Gallery - JCC, 950 W. 41st Avenue, Vancouver.
Opening Reception: Thursday May 29, 7-9pm
7:30 Rabbi Carey Brown of Temple Sholom joins the artist for an “Artist’s Beit Midrash” roundtable discussion of Lashon Hara.
Atlas is a mixed-media artist working in the genre of visual Midrash. 
The 20 pieces to her narrative explore the impact of Lashon Hara
(evil speech; creating darkness) on the spiritual realm and the physical universe. The exhibit’s interactive component welcomes the public to acknowledge lashon hara in their own lives via notes written and then posted on the wall that will reveal the viewers’ own personal experience of creating darkness through speaking evil. 

Miriam Stern at BEKI

Stern is exhibiting works from the last 5 years at Congregation Beth El-Kesser Israel (BEKI), New Haven, CT.

May 30-August 29, 2014
Call for hours and appointment 201-389-2108

The works on exhibit evolved from photographs Stern took on her travels far and near, including Israel, China, and the Berkshires.  Stern’s creative process often begins with the computer, using digital processes to manipulate and transform photos.  The resulting images then become the point of departure for “unique prints” combining digital and traditional printmaking methods.

Counting the Omer Paintings by Carol Philips

Carol Philips has been making "prayer paintings" to count the Omer. Counting of the OmerSefirat HaOmer, sometimes abbreviated as Sefira or the Omer, is a verbal counting of each of the forty-nine days between the Jewish holidays of Passover and Shavuot.

The ground for Philips' pieces are used seed packets, since Omer counting is related to agriculture and harvest. The pieces vary in the extent that they relate to the meanings of the letters, the Kaballah, and other associations and thoughts. 

To see the entire series, facebook friend Carol. She posts the image for each day and writes about the meanings and her process. The images here are days 5, 14, 18 and 30.

Call for Art: Jewish-themed Comic book/Graphic Novel

The Jewish Art Salon has been invited to exhibit at the UJA-NY Federation  


      Exhibit Location
      The UJA Gallery at the 7th floor, 130 East 59th       Street, New York, NY 10022

Exhibit curator: Joel Silverstein.
Co-curator: Richard McBee.

Joel's current exhibit of his own paintings inspired by comic books, 
Superheroes, Autobiography & Religionis on view till June 8 at Pratt Institute's Hadas Gallery, Brooklyn NY.

UJA Exhibit Dates: Opening Reception September 2014; exact dates TBD. On view for at least 1 month.

Theme: Jewish-themed graphic novels / comic book art, or fine art inspired by these.

Upcoming Events by Mierle Laderman Ukeles

Open Engagement Conference at the Queens museum

Rotterdam Ballet, 1985
Futurist ballet for ten garbage vehicles
Performed in Rotterdam, Holland
Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, NY
May 16-19, 2014 at Various Locations.
Keynote Speakers J. Morgan Puett and Mierle Laderman Ukeles

The 2014 Open Engagement conference is co-presented by the Queens Museum and A Blade of Grass, and takes place at the Queens Museum, New York Hall of Science, the Queens Theater, Immigrant Movement International, and various locations around New York.

Registration is closed; if you did not get a ticket and would like to attend, they can put your name on a waiting list. Email with “Wait List” as the subject.

Omer Boxes by Mindy Seidlin

Seidlin - Omer Box
The Omer, the period of Forty-nine days that begins the second day of Passover and ends on Shavuot, is in essence a non-holiday in the Jewish calendar, an in-between time.  As such it represents the time when work gets done and we engage with the world.  It has been interpreted to have mystical significance but  this seems to be superimposed on its more direct meaning. 

Mindy Seidlin's images to the left and below represent a subset of the 49 boxes that were made, one per day of the Omer in 2013. Each piece begins with a small box which was handled differently each day, much as we much handle the contents of each day that we experience. Some reflect experiences of a particular day, or items that were encountered on that day, or the number in the sequence. Ultimately, both the holiday and this series reflect the importance of encountering each day individually. More work by Seidlin here.

One Day At a Time Art Exhibit

Curated by Yitzchok Moully for the Creative Soul 
Opening Thursday, May 15, 8-10 PM
Maayan Gallery, 386 Kingston, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY. 
The exhibit explores the concept of daily growth inspired by the daily counting of the Omer and the incremental change and improvements we strive for. It aims to engage the audience in a dialogue on the ways in which the Jewish community confronts change and uses it as an opportunity for personal and societal transformations.

Works by Shoshannah Brombacher, Ksenija Lea Kostic-Pecaric, Dovid Orlansky, Rivka Fuchs, Chanie Chanin, Merav Kraitenberger, Abigail Magid.

Sh'ma Journal's Self at the Center

Joan Roth Selfie with
The Sh'ma Journal: A Journal of Jewish Ideas features 4 Jewish Art Salon members in their May 2014 issue.

Joan Roth is in conversation with Shulamit Seidler-Feller in Self-portrait or Selfie: a conversation here.

Yona Verwer along with fellow artists Basya Schechter, a musician and S. Bear Bergman, a storyteller, reflects on how and how much she inserts her own personal story into her work in The Self and Creativity. 

Answering our call for art, Gidon Levin is showing his "Photographing the Soldier Self". The other artist in the online gallery exhibit is Susan Turner with "Susan Turner and the Self". Both on view here.

Comic Books and their Creators: a lecture / workshop

YCROP and Jewish Art Salon invite you to:

Illustrated lecture & workshop

Sunday May 18, 12-2 PM. Join us for brunch!

From the creation of Superman to Maus and The Rabbi’s Cat, Jews have played a fundamental role in the comics industry and Jewish themes have come up in the most unlikely of places. This lecture  highlights 80 years of comic book history and the impact of Judaism upon it.

Make your own comic book page! Participants will receive sheets of drawing vellum, pencils and markers, as personal narratives will be explored. No art experience necessary!

Presenter: Joel Silverstein in conjunction with his exhibit Superheroes, Autobiography & Religion.

12:00 Buffet brunch (bagels & vodka) - view the Superheroes art exhibit

12:30 Lecture / workshop. No art experience necessary.

$8 with paypal (paypal email address:

Limited seating! Paypal reservations recommended.
$10 Cash at door (RSVP to

Hadas Gallery, Rohr Center at the Pratt Institute.
541 Myrtle Ave, Brooklyn, NY, 11205
(between Steuben & Emerson, across from the Pratt Store).
Phone: 718 866 6815


Program made possible through the COJECO Center Without Walls initiative, sponsored by the UJA-Federation of NY and Genesis Philanthropy Group.

This event is a collaboration between YCROP, (Young Creative Russians Online Portfolios) and the Jewish Art Salon.

Buses B54, B62 to Myrtle Ave & Steuben St.
G Train to Classon Ave: Exit near intersection of CLASSON Ave and LAFAYETTE Ave. Start out going North on CLASSON Ave towards DEKALB Ave.
Keep going. Turn left onto MYRTLE Ave.

ArtFest – 4 Days of Art, Performance, Music, & Writing

Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT 
June 29 - July 3rd, 2014
Curated by Jewish Art Now.
Partnered with the Jewish Art Salon & many others.

Celebrate and participate in the vibrant infusion of creativity and artistic engagement in a diverse, eco-conscious Jewish community. ArtFest offers a wildly diverse array of opportunities to learn about, create, and engage with the emerging universe of Jewish art and the art of Judaism — with over 15 presenters from all walks of art. Explore the presenters and sessions here.

Register Now! The Jewish Art Salon gets special consideration if you register with us through Shoshannah Brombacher. Email her at

Siona Benjamin, Matthue Roth, Naomi Less, Yitzchok Moully, Lenore Mizrahi Cohen, Elad Nehorai, Susan May Tell, Yehuda Hyman, Dalia Davis, Saul Sudin, Elke Reva Sudin and more!
Community Partners: 
The Jewish Art SalonLABA: House of LearningThe Creative SoulOpen Tent Theater CompanyPop ChassidBeit Midrash in MotionJewish Design Collective

The Creative Soul in The Wall Street Journal

Natalia Kadish, Yitzchok Moully and Daniel Wolfe
On a recent Thursday evening, a group of Hasidic women gathered for an unusual celebration.
They sang traditional melodies and talked about attaining freedom through mystical teachings, all to the beat of African drums inside a gallery located in Crown Heights—far from New York's usual art neighborhoods like Chelsea, Williamsburg and the Lower East Side. A curtain drawn across the doorway blocked the views of male passersby.
The event was organized by the Creative Soul, a group of Orthodox Jewish artists founded by Yitzchok Moully, a Hasidic rabbi and artist who wears a pink yarmulke and creates photo silkscreen works depicting dreidels, Hassidim dancing and rabbis praying. Article continues here.