Tobi Kahn at the Phillips Collection

The world renowned Phillips Collection in Washington, DC is exhibiting works by Tobi Kahn, esteemed artist, Jewish Art Salon Fellow and Advisor. The museum owns seven of Tobi’s pieces from various decades dating back to his early career.

The exhibition is up until May, 2022.

The museum showcases Tobi’s works from its collection, right alongside their Picasso collection and the One-on-One installation, where British painter Bridget Riley selected three of her works to be displayed vis-à-vis a work by Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

To see some of the works up close click here

The exhibition statement below is remarkable; this mainstream museum mentions Tobi’s paintings having formal relationships to American modernists, yet also refers to his art as closely linked to his Jewish religion and its ceremonies.

Exhibition statement

TOBI KAHN

What makes New York-based painter and sculptor Tobi Kahn so singular is that while his paintings have formal relationships to American modernists like Arthur Dove, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Marsden Hartley, his paintings and objects are closely linked to his religion and its ceremonies. Does that fact make him a religious artist? Or, for that matter, a Jewish artist? 18th-century German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once wrote: “Who has science and art has also religion;/Who has neither, let him have religion!” There is an indelible bond between art and religion. Religion is here understood not as dogmatic doctrine, but as the pursuit of the indefinable or the invisible. Artists, like philosophers, poets, and scientists, seek to understand life at its deepest level.

Tobi Kahn’s paintings and objects celebrate life, but they do so with the power of abstraction. His art may be sparked by the hiddur mitzvah (the tradition of beautifying Jewish ceremonial acts), but is grounded in a tradition of spiritual abstraction in art that began with Kazimir Malevich and Wassily Kandinsky in the beginning of the 20th century.


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