In honor of Yom Ha'azmaut, Israel's Independence Day, and this year's 75th anniversary of the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948, this talk by Georgetown University professor Ori Z Soltes addresses the question of what defines Israeli art and when it began to take shape. Is it made only by Israelis---then how did Elkan's Menorah become the consummate symbol of Israel when he never lived in the state? Did "Israeli" art begin with or before the birth of the state? How does this relate to the opening of the Bezalel School of Art in 1906--and closing by 1929, only to re-open years later? How does it relate to the question of defining Jewish art? Benno Elkan's stunning work, [...]
EARLY ISRAELI AND AMERICAN ARTISTS:
RE-VISIONING THE HOLOCAUST.
Talk by Ori Z Soltes, Georgetown University, Washington DC
In honor of Yom HaShoah, this talk by Georgetown University professor Ori Z Soltes focuses on three Israeli and three American familiar and unfamiliar artists working in very diverse styles and not typically thought of as focusing on the Holocaust. Each of them, however, has offered powerful reflections on the defining catastrophe of the twentieth century. Barnett Newman, the foremost verbal spokesman for the chromatic side of the abstract expressionist movement redefining American painting in the early 1950s, offers an unexpectedly intense reflection on the question of theodicy. Mordecai Ardon, in the process of assuming leadership of the Bezalel school in Jerusalem at around the same time, balances between abstraction and figuration in depicting the Nazi-engendered chaos. Yigal Tumarkin’s [...]