Art

Magnes Merger Has Its Costs

Partnership with UC-Berkeley seen mostly as a boon but questions linger about prized collection’s independence.
04/02/2012 - 20:00
Staff Writer

The new home of the Magnes Collection for Jewish Art and Life, a Bay Area institution renowned for its archives of material relating to Jews in the American West, displays all the museum’s ambition. 

The Magnes Collection, founded 50 years ago, has the largest collection of archives of Jews in the American West.

And the winner for Best Work of Zionist Art Goes to...

The culture wars in Israel these days makes you pine for the ones we had here, in the States, some 15 years ago.  In America, it all seemed like grand theater--Giuliani, for instance, catering to hard-core Christians aghast at a painting of the Virgin Mary covered in feces.  But in Israel the state has a far stronger hand in culture.  So when the current Likud Culture Minister, Limor Livnat, threatened to withhold money to artists who refused to perform in the Ariel performing center, in the occupied West Bank, it meant something.

Kosher Indian

Siona Benjamin’s ‘visual midrash’ explores her identity as a Bene Israel descendant.
05/30/2011 - 20:00
Staff Writer

When Siona Benjamin was in art school in the 1980s, her professors told her to avoid narrative painting, and to keep her work abstract.

Siona Benjamin and her work “Miriam,” Photos courtesy of Flomenhaft Gallery

FEGS Honors Pop Artist Jeff Koons

05/23/2011 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

 Pop artist Jeff Koons is interested in the art of the grand gesture. But it is art on a very small scale that got him interested in FEGS, the Jewish communal organization that deals with employment, job training and counseling.

Koons became involved with FEGS through real estate developer and UJA-Federation of New York honorary board member Larry Silverstein and his wife Klara. He was invited to tour a downtown FEGS center in 2009, where he saw art being used to help people with various ailments.

Jeff Koons at FEGS.

Drawing The (Green) Line

MOMA’s Francis Alÿs retrospective omits the conceptual artist’s best works.
05/16/2011 - 20:00
Staff Writer

Four years ago, the Belgian artist Francis Alÿs displayed one of his best works in years, “The Green Line,” at Chelsea’s David Zwirner Gallery. With a characteristically axiomatic subtitle — “Sometimes Doing Something Poetic Can Become Political, and Sometimes Doing Something Political Can Become Poetic” — it gave an artist’s askance view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and achieved that rare artistic feat: chastising the political status quo without becoming either cynical or simplistic.

An image from Alÿs’ “The Green Line,”  Courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery

Illuminating A Jewish Story

03/21/2011 - 20:00
Staff Writer

Here’s a dirty secret about Jewish journalism: a number of the stories we write aren’t really Jewish in nature. A story may be about a Jew, but other than that, there often isn’t much else of Jewish substance in many of the stories we print.

Editors hate it when you pitch a story whose sole qualification for being published is that your subject is Jewish. But the reality is that mainstream Jewish publications would not exist if we didn’t run these stories.

An illustration from Maira Kelman's show at The Jewish Museum

Sometimes Men Do Appear Out of Thin Air

Walking home from yoga I decided to cut through a pretty, tree-lined neighborhood.

On the way I noticed that someone had propped up framed art and a few boxes of stuff next to a garbage bin. I figured someone had moved out and just dumped the things they didn’t want so I crept closer to take a peek. My apartment was in need of a few decorative items.

Just then a head popped up from behind a wall.

His Artwork Raises A Fuehrer

05/06/1999 - 20:00
Staff Writer
Robert Lederman doesn’t stand out in a crowd. But his artwork does. During months of protest over the police shooting of Amadou Diallo, Lederman’s caricatures depicting Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as Adolf Hitler received far more notoriety than the affable, middle-aged Jewish artist and street peddler from Brooklyn who created them. The signs, which Lederman distributed to the protestors, were panned by Jewish leaders. Some say they harmed efforts to address police brutality by distracting from the issue.

Netting A Notorious Collection

09/11/2003 - 20:00
Staff Writer
Thekla Stein Nordwind of Scottsdale, Ariz., has been looking forward to the establishment this week of a Web site where American museums are posting their collection of paintings, sculptures and other works of art that might have been looted by the Nazis. "It's similar to one they have in Germany," Nordwind said. "Now you can look for confiscated art on this one central Web site rather than having to go to each museumís Web site separately."
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