Fixing the World: Jewish American Painters in the Twentieth Century
From drawing to paintings to installations, visual art in the 20th-century US has been marked by an explosion of productivity by Jews. Their work reflects profound historical and cultural issues, such as what it means to be a Jewish artist in the western tradition of Christian art, and what it means, as Jews, to be painters of the specifically American experience. Ori Soltes focuses primarily on the work of 20th-century Jewish painters to explore themes ranging from the trials of immigration, depictions of urban life and politics, renderings of the Holocaust, and the reconstitution of Judaism in recent years by feminist painters and Soviet emigr e artists. The astonishing array of work represented in this book sometimes displays overtly Jewish themes and symbols; other paintings are included for their importance in the general development of 20th-century painting. Balancing individual biographies of painters, stylistic analysis, and thematic interpretations, Soltes offers a remarkable survey of 20th-century American Jewish painting.
Despite the diverse range of images, themes, a common thread among most of these paintings is the concept of tikkun olam—of repairing or fixing the world. Most of the artists represented here demonstrate an interest in the social, as well as the aesthetic, import of their work. We see this concern for social betterment in the urban paintings of the Soyer brothers, in the “political” paintings of Ben Shahn, in the Holocaust-inflected works of numerous artists, and in the more contemporary work of Joyce Ellen Weinstein decrying violence and racism. Such works of despair and repair are balanced by dozens of paintings of celebration, joyous experiments in how to convey Jewishness and Judaism on canvas into the 21st century. Concise, elegant, and sophisticated, Fixing the World is a teaching tool, a pleasure to read, and a feast for the eyes.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
abstract Acrylic Adolph Gottlieb American Art American artist American Jewish B'nai B'rith B'nai B'rith Klutznick B'rith Klutznick National Barnett Newman Ben Shahn Ben-Zion Chaim Chaim Gross Christian art color consciousness context Courtesy created culture define depicted early echoes exhibition expressionist figure focus Gallery of Art Hebrew Holocaust human images immigrants inspired Israel Jacques Lipchitz Jewish American Jewish art Jewish artists Jewish mysticism Jewish painters Jews Judaism Kitaj Klutznick National Jewish landscape Lipchitz Lozowick Mark Rothko Modigliani Morris Louis Moses Museum of Art National Gallery National Jewish Museum non-Jewish offers Oil on canvas painting Paris Photograph Pierrot pigment Pissarro portrait question R. B. Kitaj Raphael Soyer realism recalls reflects ritual sculpture secular sense sensibility Shahn social social realism Soltes Soviet Soyer specific spiritual style symbol Synagogue tikkun olam tion traditional triptych turn twentieth century VAGA viewer visual Washington Weber women York