Upcoming salon session: Oct. 21

Richard McBee. Abraham Taking Hagar and Sarah's Despair.

The next salon session, a panel discussion with Richard McBee, whose Sarah's Trials series will be on view at the JCC of Manhattan through Oct. 28, as well as Archie Rand, Tobi Kahn and Janet Shafner. Joel Silverstein will moderate.

Here are the details:
Thursday, Oct. 21, 7 p.m.
The JCC, Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave at 76th St, New York
Title: What it means to make Jewish art today
Open to the public. RSVP requested: click here to email

Tobi Kahn

Kahn is a painter and sculptor, whose work has been shown in over 40 solo exhibitions and over 60 museum and groups shows since he was selected as one of nine artists to be included in the 1985 Guggenheim Museum exhibition, New Horizons in American Art. Works by Kahn are in major museum, corporate and private collections. A museum exhibition of over a decade of his work, Tobi Kahn: Metamorphoses, curated by Peter Selz, traveled to eight museums from 1997 through 1999, including the Weatherspoon Art Gallery in Greensboro, North Carolina and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Since Metamorphoses, he has had four additional traveling museum shows, Avoda: Objects of the Spirit, Correspondence, Sky and Water, Paradisus, and Sacred Spaces for the 21st Century. Objects of the Spirit: Ritual and the Art of Tobi Kahn, a book about Kahn’s ceremonial art, was published in June 2004.

In 2008, Kahn was commissioned to create the art and ritual objects for the sanctuary of Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Opened in Fall 2009, Kahn's work consists of 8 wall-scale paintings and the sanctuary’s ceremonial art, including the eternal light, mezuzah, and panels for the ark doors.

In October, 2009, “Tobi Kahn: Sacred Spaces for the 21st Century”, a solo traveling exhibition of Kahn’s ceremonial and liturgical art, opened at MOBIA in New York City. The book, Tobi Kahn, Sacred Spaces for the 21st Century, edited by Ena Giurescu Heller and published by the Museum of Biblical Art in New York in association with D Giles Limited, London accompanied the exhibition.
Among the awards that Kahn has received are the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award from Pratt Institute in 2000; the Cultural Achievement Award for the Visual Arts from the National Foundation of Jewish Culture in 2004; and an Honorary Doctorate from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2007 for his work as an artist and educator.

He also designed the art curriculum for several high schools in the New York area and co-founded and facilitates the Artists' Beit Midrash at the Skirball Center of Temple Emanu-El.

Richard McBee

Richard McBee is an artist and writer on Jewish art. Since 1976, his artwork deals exclusively with subject matter from the Torah and Jewish history.

McBee was the program director of the Alliance of Figurative Artists from 1976 to 1987. In 1991, he was one of the founding members of the American Guild of Judaic Art, an educational and trade association of artists engaged in Jewish Art. Since 2008 he has been active in the Jewish Art Salon.

Starting in 2000, he has surveyed the Jewish arts scene in a weekly column seen in the Jewish Press, writing analytical reviews of contemporary Jewish art, historical Jewish art including both Jewish and non-Jewish artists, film, performance and music.

He has frequently lectured in New York and around the country on the history of Jewish art and his own work including Congregation Ohab Zedik, NY; The Young Israel of Fifth Avenue, NY; Synagogue for the Arts, NY; Cooper Union, NY; Friedman Society, Jewish Museum New York; Yeshivat Chovevie Torah, NY; Yeshiva University/Stern College, NY; and Arizona State University. He has curated exhibitions at Jewish Arts Gallery, Brooklyn, Holocaust Survivor Art; Jewish Art Salon, Tzelem, Stanton Street Synagogue and currently Seduced by the Sacred at Hartford JCC/Charter Oak Cultural Center and The Dura Europos Project at the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art.

He is currently showing his series of large paintings, Sarah’s Trials, at the JCC Manhattan.

Archie Rand

Since the earliest days of Rand’s career, Jewish subject matters have been intertwined at the forefront of his studio production. His paintings have been featured in hundreds of international shows and are represented in many museums. Among his numerous honors Rand is a Guggenheim Fellow and a Laureate of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, which awarded him the Achievement Medal for Contributions to the Visual Arts. Artforum has called Archie Rand “the most accomplished artist of his generation.”

For three years, beginning in 1974, Rand expanded notions of Jewish art when he painted the 18,000 square foot interior of Congregation B’nai Yosef in Brooklyn - the only completely muraled synagogue in the world. Rand is concerned with transitional aspects of community and Judaism, specifically, has been of interest to his work while friendships with painters Olitski, Guston and Kitaj encouraged mutual Jewish investigations.

His 1989 series “The Chapter Paintings,” which dedicated one painting to each of the 54 divisions of the Hebrew Bible, instigated the groundbreaking 1996 “Too Jewish” exhibition at the Jewish Museum. Often working with texts, Rand has engaged in many collaborations with poets, significantly, John Ashbery and Robert Creeley, and favors using scriptural and liturgical elements as armatures for his paintings. Painting series with Jewish content such as “The Eighteen,” “The Nineteen,” “Seven Days of Creation” and “Had Gadya” have received repeat museum attentions.

In 2003 he installed two murals for Beth El Congregation in Fort Worth, and in 2005 executed the entrance mural at Congregation Beth-El in San Antonio. In 2008, on a warehouse wall, Rand mounted the painting, “The 613,” which measures 17 x 100 feet. It is composed of 614 contiguous panels, each of which represents one of the 613 traditional Hebrew commandments. Viewing for “The 613” took place on one day and lasted four hours. The event drew 1000 attendees.

Janet Shafner

For more than 20 years, Janet Shafner has made large multi-paneled oil paintings which draw on Biblical themes and their connections to contemporary social and political issues. She has exhibited extensively over a long career and her work is included in the collections of several museums, including the Slater Museum, the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts of Springfield, Mass., the New Britain Museum of Art, and the Yeshiva University Museum.

Janet was the director of the adult studio art program at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London for 30 years, and also taught art at Connecticut College in New London, Mohegan Community College in Norwich (now Four Rivers Community College) and the University of Connecticut at Avery Point, Groton, Conn. Shafner has a degree from Barnard College, and a graduate degree from Connecticut College. She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, and the Art Students League in New York City and was a Yaddo Fellow and a fellow of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture.

Joel Silverstein

Joel Silverstein is an artist, critic and teacher. He has shown work at the Beijing Academy of Art and Design, the Kleinert Center in Woodstock, the Monmouth Museum of Art, Montclair State University, New York University, the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Bronfman Center. He has written for Artcritical.com, Sculpture, d’ART, New York Arts and has also written catalogue essays for Elizabeth Harris, Nabi, Cheryl Pelavin and other galleries.

The artist/art writer is currently senior curator of the Jewish Art Salon. He has co-curated the first three Salon art exhibitions: “Tzelem: Presence and Likeness in Jewish Art,” 2009 at the Stanton Street Synagogue. His current exhibit is “Seduced by the Sacred” at the Charter Oak Foundation and the Mandell gallery of the JCC in West Hartford. Upcoming exhibits include “The Dura Europos Project” at the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art. The Dura Project has been chosen by CAJM, the Committee of American Jewish Museums for their annual conference in February, 2011.

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