Dilemmas in Jewish Art: Restrictions, Originality and Assimilation

Following the second commandment that prohibits the creation of any graven images Jewish artists were challenged to develop art
in spite of this restriction.
This presentation explores Jewish artists searching for an original style from the building of the tabernacle
in the Sinai desert till the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem.
It discusses the influences of non-Jewish styles on Jewish art and
architecture in the Diaspora as a reflection of diversity and assimilation.  It also addresses the new artistic
challenges after the re-
establishment of the state of   Israel in modern time.

Tel Aviv: Bauhaus City on the Sands

The White City of Tel Aviv is significant as an outstanding synthesis of the various trends in the Modern Movement in architecture
and town planning from the early part of the 20th century. The city has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO because
it is home to the largest collection of Bauhaus and International style buildings in the world.

A Gift to Biro-Bidjan: Chicago, 1937 - From Despair to New Hope

In 1937, a group of Chicago-area artists created a portfolio of woodcuts as a fund-raising project for Biro-Bidjan, the Jewish autonomous
region in the Soviet Union. These 14 artists were also active in the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression,
and their woodcuts, which revealed scenes of oppression and despair against images of “new hope” and optimism, reflected the present
as well as the past. Some of the woodcuts expressed the hardship of the Depression in the United States or the persecution of Jews in
Europe. Others conveyed the expectations of the New Deal program at home or Stalin’s solution for a Jewish homeland far away in the
taiga of Siberia. This presentation is based on an original research by Dr. Harpaz.

Convergence: Jewish and African American Artists in Depression-era Chicago

During the Great Depression, artists of diverse backgrounds found ways to not only document the pain of the era, but also create images
of hope. This presentation reveals the cooperative spirit that existed between Jewish and African American artists in Chicago during this
challenging period of history. The presentation tells the stories of young men and women who bravely challenged the conventions and
taboos of their age.

Carl Jung, The Collective Unconscious and DNA: Art Beyond Culture

This presentation focuses on the collective theory of the psychologist Carl Jung and its reflection on myth and symbolism through visual arts.
This comparative analysis explores the conceptual similarities of art and architecture among various tribal societies and
different religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism.

Jewish Artists and the Perception of the Crucifixion

The crucifixion of Jesus is a center piece of the Christian theology and it was challenged by artists in purpose of transmitting principles of suffering
and redemption. Ancient Jewish art had a significant impact on Early Christian art and some contribution to the visual depiction of the crucifixion.
However, Jewish artists inspired from Christian art only in the modern era when the crucifixion was perceived as an archetypal motif - a universal
or personal expression of agony and salvation.

Other available presentations

  • War through Artistic Vision
  • Venus and the Muses
  • Annie Leibovitz: From Pop Culture to Political Activism
  • Art and Law
  • Journey to Museums and Collections