The Jewish Art Salon and the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art will host a panel titled "A new creative spirit: How contemporary Jewish artists are forming partnerships with American Jewish museums, synagogues and institutions," the plenary session of the Conference of the Council of American Jewish Museums.
The panel will be held from 6:45 - 7:30 p.m. at the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art, and will feature panelists: Tobi Kahn, Richard McBee, Cynthia Beth Rubin and Ori Z. Soltes. Joel Silverstein will moderate. The conference is only open to CAJM attendees.
Agenda and more after the jump.
Yona Verwer: Introduction to the Jewish Art Salon
Joel Silverstein: Structuring a Jewish Artistic Identity (Jewish Art Salon history, partnership with Jewish institutions)
Ori Z. Soltes: Foundations (partnering with Jewish institutions, curating Jewish themes)
Tobi Kahn: Spirituality (Avodah, synagogue murals)
Cynthia Beth Rubin: Community (Orchard Street Synagogue project)
Richard McBee (critical lens, Jewish Art Salon exhibitions)
We are excited that the artists on the panel will be joined by Ori Z. Soltes, who teaches theology and art history at Georgetown University, and is the former director and curator of the B'nai B'rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum. He is the author of many books and articles on a range of subjects, including Fixing the World: Jewish American Artists in the Twentieth Century.
"I am extremely encouraged by the growth and success of the Jewish Art Salon and the leadership and creativity shown by my co-founders, Yona Verwer and Joel Silverstein. I am particularly proud of our third exhibition, the Dura Europos Project, that allowed contemporary artists to reach deep into their cultural history and create highly original and insightful artworks using the biblical narrative. As an artist, writer and curator, it has never been so exciting a time to create and nurture Jewish art."
Cynthia Beth Rubin
"Trained as an abstract painter, my artistic inquiry was shaped by two important events in the early 1980s: an exhibition of Hebrew Manuscripts at New York's Jewish Museum, and an invitation to learn computer imaging. My subsequent artwork based on medieval Hebrew manuscripts developed in lockstep with new technology: in the pre-scanning era, working on compositional structure, and then, as scanning and digital photography became available, gradually moving into representation and responses to specific sites of Cultural Heritage. This work was recognized with multiple grants from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, the New England Foundation on the Arts, and others, and showings in festivals, museums, and arts centers around the world, including publication in at least 10 global languages, screenings on Opening Night of major Jewish Film Festivals, and an installation at the Jewish Museum in Prague.
The Cultural Heritage Artists Project represents the next step in an ongoing commitment to Open Culture, growing from my personal fascination with the cultural legacy embodied in places of historic significance, but defined with space for others to build on their own artistic/research practice. Soon after I was contacted by the historic Orchard Street Shul in New Haven, I gathered colleagues to assemble a broad-based project and issue an Open Call for Participation. With artists and researchers from a wide variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds, the goal was to make a particular Cultural Heritage visible and accessible for all of us. Our exhibition and the accompanying project book combine a range of artistic practice and serious scholarly research, demonstrating that artists can be powerful interpreters of cultural legacies".
"Richard McBee and I created The Dura Europos Project for very specific reasons. It was a conscious attempt to touch the past and open people's eyes as to the history and possibilities of Jewish Art. Part of this process was identifying with those Jews who lived in the Greco-Roman world and were players in classical culture. As we have seen, they resemble us in many ways. Far from the first time in our history, Jews have negotiated two or more cultures with great skill. It also means that Jews from the classical world saw art as an acceptable means of religious expression,as Dura was a working synagogue. Richard and I asked each participating artist to create a panel based on the Dura fresco cycle. The results proved to us that Jewish art is thriving.
There is a growing interest in what the Salon does and how our artists create. Our CAJM Conference panel in Philadelphia demonstrates that Jewish Museums are noticing our efforts in creating an environment and a identity for the Jewish Artist. With each exhibition, we seem to be breaking new ground. Many thanks to Wendi Furman at the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art and the CAJM Committee for this opportunity."
"To think visually is a capacity that is essential for everyone, not only for artists. Knowing how to see is like learning a foreign language: it's a lifelong gift best acquired when you're young. No matter who you are, visual intelligence can be transformative. It is also one of the highest ways of praising god's creation.
Although Judaism has emphasized words, language, interpretation, and commentary, I have found the visual in our tradition equally illuminating. For me, the life of the soul is integrally bound up with the beauty of the created world, with the rituals and symbols that are our people's medium. Like language, what we see can be a benediction."