UJA-Federation of New York invites you to their exhibit with the Jewish Art Salon.
JOMIX — Jewish Comics; Art & Derivation
UJA-Federation of New York
130 East 59th Street, Seventh-Floor Gallery, New York City
Exhibition on view March 1 – May 8, 2015
Monday-Thursday 10-6 by appointment.
Contact Lillian Rodriguez at 1.212.836.1793 or email@example.com
Gallery talk & tour Tuesday, March 10, 2015│6:00-7:30pm
Karen Green, Graphic Novel Librarian, Columbia University .
Joel Silverstein and Richard McBee, Exhibit Curators, Jewish Art Salon.
The exhibit will travel to the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art, mid July till late November. Artist reception mid October. Exact dates TBA.
About the Exhibit
From the invention of Superman by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, to the graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman, Jewish artists and writers have served an essential and indispensable role in the comics and graphic novel industry. This exhibition boasts a roster of cutting edge creators, reinvestigating traditional genres like superhero, political satire, romance, horror, science fiction and confessionals through a Jewish lens. Join us for a look at how these contemporary Jewish artists use the comics medium as a way to express and address their own Jewish identity and cultural experience while also examining the complex relationship of art, identity and culture within the Jewish community at large.
Dietary Laws Observed
Jessica Deutsch, Aliza Donath, Dorit Jordan Dotan, Josh Edelglass, Liana Finck, Michael Korosty, Yonah Lavery, Miriam Libicki, Sarah Lightman, Michael P. Lustig Collection: Scott Koblish, Stuart Immonen, Howard Chaykin, and Arthur Szyk, Archie Rand, Ariel Schrag, Joel Silverstein, Liat Shalom & Vili Greenberg, Dov Smiley, Emily Steinberg, Al Wiesner, Deborah Ugoretz, Eli Valley, Julian Voloj & Claudia Ahlering, JT Waldman, David Wander.
Photos of the opening reception here.
The word JOMIX is a hybrid term composed from the old underground independently produced “commix”, such as Zap Comix, 1968, edgy and transgressive in nature as changed by Jewish origins and intent.
With an explosion of Jewish comics in the past few years, contemporary Jewish artists use the medium for a variety of reasons. They can return to their historic roots of illustrating traditional Jewish texts like the Torah and Talmud in a new way as we see in J.T. Waldman’s Megillah Esther and Dov Smiley’s Jonah. The artists in this show have also used comics to address issues of identity, difference, sexuality, homosexuality, feminism, assimilation and belief in works of a personal and confessional nature: Miriam Libicki’s Toward a Hot Jew, Ariel Schrag’s, The Chosen ‘Are You Jewish?’, Yonah Lavery, Adventures of R. Giddal, Boy Mikvah Lady. They can use satire and parody, confronting political and/or religious hypocrisy by inserting a particular Jewish sensibility: Eli Valley’s Leaflets Over Gaza, Josh Edelglass’ Inglourious Basterds parody and Al Weisner’s Shaloman, a direct reference to Superman as he appeared in 1938.
In the 21st Century, mainstream publishers have been far more accepting of topics concerning Jewish identity and diversity, although it has taken a long time to be open and honest. In Fantastic Four, The Thing, a rock hard Golem-like monster (a.k.a. Ben Grimm) declares that he is Jewish. The script is based on creator Jack Kirby’s admission that The Thing was really a stand in for the artist all along. As The Fantastic Four heralded the Silver Age of Comics and Marvel’s coming dominance in the field, Grimm’s Jewish identity was a revelation. Meanwhile, at DC Comics Joe Kelly (script) and Howard Chaykin (pencils) created a story whereby Superman tries to stop WW II and fails. He encounters Auschwitz and vows that the Shoah will never happen again. Speculations about Superman’s Jewish identity have raged for years. The tantalizing question remains: is Superman the covert Jewish Messiah and if so, what would the character have done during Auschwitz?! Sixty years later, the DC and Marvel staffs addressed such issues and honored the Jewish origins of Jack Kirby, Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, the Godfathers of comics.
In the current art scene, there is no hierarchical difference between comics and “High Art.” Contemporary Jewish artists look to comics as a complex visual language replete with its own internal logic and serial narrative structure. Comics are therefore a ready-made example of how to deal with narrative in a postmodern context, such as Archie Rand’s, Had Gadya, orthis writer’s The Hulk Meets Superman. In these works contemporary artists re-contextualize previous imagery for new cultural and expressive purposes, yet still honoring the original source material.
It is fascinating to see how contemporary Jews have voiced their creativity, concerns, and interests within the comics’ medium. This is a sign of the times articulating difference and diversity within the Jewish community, but also highlighting cultural continuity in a number of surprising ways. By using comics, Jewish artists have liberated themselves beyond the old separations and formalisms existent in the Jewish and art world communities, thus being more true to themselves. They can explore the entire realm of a contemporary Jewish identity, fusing visuals and text, high and low ideas, religious and secular thinking. They are now free to explore what it means to be a Jew and an artist in ways unexperienced and even unheard of in previous generations. As contemporary Jewish artists express themselves in comics, they advocate paradigms of observance and transgression felt on every page.
Exhibition Curated by Joel Silverstein and Richard McBee.
Curatorial Advisor: Yona Verwer
Photos of the opening here.