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The Jewish Artists Initiative (JAI) is an artist-run organization committed to fostering visual art by Jewish artists and promoting dialogue about Jewish identity and related issues among members of the arts community.
Mission and History
JAI was originally conceived by the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles in partnership with the University of Southern California Casden Institute and the USC Roski School of Fine Arts. We are now under the fiscal sponsorship of Community Partners of Los Angeles.
Artists – you're welcome to apply for JAI membership. Please follow the instructions in our Selection Criteria for New Members, thank you.
Exhibition Co-Curated by JAI Members Georgia Freedman-Harvey and Victor Raphael
jeanedelstein.com | (310) 399-3592
Several works by Victor Raphael are included in "The Polaroid Years: Instant Photograph and Experimentation", at The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College. The Exhibition will be on view there through June 30, 2013.
Curated by Mary-Kay Lombino, this landmark exhibition brings together ground breaking Polaroid pictures by forty artists spanning the period from the initial release of the SX-70 camera in 1972 until the present. Artists included: Ansel Adams, Chuck Close, Walker Evans, Richard Hamilton, Robert Heinecken, David Hockney, Andre Kertesz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Lucas Samaras, Andy Warhol, and William Wegman, among others. Catalogue available
The exhibition will travel to The Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University where it will be on view from September 20 through December 1, 2013.
Curatorial research for the exhibition was sponsored by, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The exhibition is made possible in part by the Smart Family Fund for Art Exhibition Support.
Artist's Website: maxfinkelstein.net
A wonderful overview of Ruth Weisberg's work in the New York Jewish Press:
"There is a special class of Jewish artists who toil in the rich fields of Tanach and Jewish practice for years and years, quietly establishing a foundation of visual and intellectual markers for generation of artists to come. Ruth Weisberg is clearly one of these founders. Her seminal work articulates an approach to the Jewish narrative deeply informed by a Jewish feminism."
Featuring the works of five JAI Artists:
Bill Aron, Will Deutsch, Simone Gad, Soraya Sarah Nazarian and Ruth Weisberg
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 25, 2013, 6-9pm
Bell Family Gallery at the Jewish Federation (6505 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles)
Free to attend, but RSVP requested: 323.761.8141 | email@example.com
Show runs April 25 - June 20, 2013
All proceeds benefit the Zimmer's youth development program, youTHink
April 13 to June 1 | FREEWAY STUDIES #1: THIS SIDE OF THE 405
OTIS College of Art and Design | 9045 Lincoln Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90045
BEN MALTZ GALLERY
Public Reception: April 13, 4:00 - 6:00 pm | Free admission and Parking
Saturdays, April 20 (#15416) & June 1(#25439) | CURATOR LED BUS TOURS OF LOCAL STUDIOS
9AM - 3PM
$25 TO REGISTER: (310) 665-6950 or www.otis.edu/ce
Peter Alexander, Angie Bray, Carla Danes, Chris Danes, Drew Dominick, Marc Fichou, DJ Hall, Gilah Yelin Hirsch, Jeremy Kidd, Linda King, Cindy Kolodziejski, Blue McRight, Tia Pulitzer, Sarah Vanderlip
Santa Monica Artist in the Community Award is Named the Bruria Finkel Award
Bruria Finkel personifies how artists can shape life in a community. An award winning painter, sculptor, and installation artist who has participated in 60+ shows in the United States and Europe, she was a pioneer of the Los Angeles feminist art movement and helped found the Los Angeles Council of Women Artists (LACWA) to protest gender discrimination at LACMA in 1968.
Bruria served as a founding member and Chair of the Santa Monica Arts Commission (1982–1996), founded the Arts Foundation in the 1980s, presided as Chair of the City’s Rent Control Board (1995–2002) and sat on many civic committees over the years. Not only has Bruria richly contributed to shaping art in California, but she has been a longtime leader in making Santa Monica a vibrant community for artists as well as the arts.
Learn More About the Exhibition: jewishwisdomandwellness.org/exhibition/
Nancy Goodman Lawrence is a featured artist in the newly released book, Geo Graphic,
published by Index Book in Barcelona.
“The new book Geo Graphic celebrates geography and maps in all their creative uses
and applications, featuring a wide array of design projects inspired by geographic elements.”
Read the story on shma.com: Opening New Windows by Ruth Weisberg
Images: (1) two bottom sections of the window before leading
(2) Ruth at the Judson Glass Studio next to a work table with the window laid out
(3) window installed at the 'Our Savior Church' just north of USC
unexplained phenomena project book
unexplained phenomena project is a collaboration between Victor Raphael and David Jordan Williams. The series includes images from around the world and explores extraordinary, mysterious encounters with the unknown. unexplained phenomena project hopes to elicit in the viewer the idea that we should not rule out the unexplained or the exceptional when considering what is real and what we know.
39 color images, essay by Judith Margolis, and an introductory note from Robbie Robertson.
E-book includes the video, unexplained phenomena: Los Angeles (3:24)
Marisa Mandler is a recent new JAI Artist Member and she is currently working in both Los Angeles and Berlin.
Biologically-Inspired Computing for the Arts: Scientific Data through Graphics - A Premier Reference Source -
with contributions from around the globe, comprises a collection of authors’ individual approaches to the relationship between nature, science, and art created with the use of computers.
Chapter 20 by Victor Raphael (Independent Artist, JAI Member, USA) and Clayton S. Spada (Cypress College, USA)
By Matthew Baigell
Most people do not know that we are living in a golden age of Jewish American art.
Since around 1975, there has been an incredible but largely ignored outpouring of art based on the Bible, the Talmud, Kabbalah, the prayer books, and midrash by artists all over the country. Depending on their points of view — feminist, psychological, existential — they approach their subject matter in entirely different, personal ways. Rather than illustrate texts they challenge their subject matter, as well as invent explanations of their own. Their work has little precedent in past Jewish American art, and the artists have leap-frogged back over generations to find their source material directly in the ancient texts. Taking nothing for granted, they have few inhibitions about questioning what they find.
Born in the 1930s and afterward, they have no memory of and few ties to the experiences of the immigrant generations or to those who lived through the Depression. In addition, they were too young to suffer from American anti-Semitism or the Holocaust. They form no school, but as Jewish artists they were encouraged to “come out” by the successful 1967 and 1973 wars in Israel, the feminist, gay, and African-American liberation movements, as well as by the Jewish Renewal movement in the 1970s and 1980s. They are the first generation of Jewish artists who feel very comfortable as both assimilated Americans and proud Jews.
Largely unaware of each other’s existence because their work has been neglected by the mainstream press, the artists have recently formed organizations such as the Jewish Art Salon in New York and the Jewish Artists Initiative of Southern California to explore what it means to be a Jewishly oriented artist in modern America. In New York, their work is exhibited at venues such as the Yeshiva University Museum and Hebrew Union College.
Styles range from figurative to abstract and include cartoon and comics-styled works. Subjects include narrative cycles (a new development in Jewish American art) based on the lives of, say, Abraham, Noah, Jonah, and Queen Esther, as well as re-examinations and re-interpretations of the actions of biblical figures. Among the many interesting artists there are Pat Berger and Ruth Weisberg in Southern California, Ellen Holtzblatt in Chicago, Beth Ames Swartz in Arizona, and Siona Benjamin, Carol Hamoy, Richard McBee, Archie Rand, Janet Shafner and David Wander in the New York area.
And among very important works produced since the 1980s, there are Ruth Weisberg’s “The Scroll” (1987) a 96-foot long interpretation of Jewish history combining biblical lore and legends with contemporary history and Weisberg’s own personal history, a work unimaginable before the Jewish feminist movement; Archie Rand’s “The Chapter Paintings” (1989) an entirely personal interpretation of the Torah portions, again a project unimaginable before 1980, as well as his recently completed “613” paintings based on the 613 commandments; and David Wander’s interpretations of the five first books of the bible in a comics format.
Without question, these artists, the ones exploring Judaic subjects, are making the most valuable contributions to the progress of Jewish art in America in our time.
The Getty Foundation celebrated the publication of The California/International Arts Foundation's new encyclopedia L.A. Rising: SoCal Artists Before 1980 on December 7, 2010 with an event to honor the artists in the book with a special tribute to Lyn Keinholz who worked for several years putting this book together.
Included in the book are many JAI artists. VIEW PHOTOS OF THIS SPECIAL EVENT