The Liberation of G-d: Helène Aylon’s Jewish Feminist Art – by David Sperber

Thursday, July 2

12:00 PM – 1:15 PM EDT; 7:00 PM – 8:15 PM Israel time

The Hartman Institute features ALL TOGETHER NOW, with four weeks of scholars, teachers and experts from the Shalom Hartman Institute leading hundreds of sessions focused on the emerging challenges to a vibrant Jewish community. These are free of charge and are open to the public.

Advanced Arts Seminar: The Liberation of G-d: Helène Aylon’s Jewish Feminist Art

By David Sperber

This elective will explore the links between contemporary art, feminist thought, and activism, and Judaism through an examination of the works of one of the most prominent Jewish feminist artists in America – Helène Aylon, who died on April 6, 2020, at the age of 89 from complications of the Corona Virus.

Aylon, who was a Founding member of the Jewish Art Salon, was among the first generation of feminist artists who identified and challenged traditional patriarchal and misogynist readings of ancient religious texts. Her installation “The Liberation of G-d” (1990-1996) is the first and most prominent work in a series of works entitled “The G-d project” – one of the most radical groups of works ever created in the Jewish framework.

In his lecture, Sperber will analyze the discourse and examine the reception of “The Liberation of G-d” within the Jewish art world and American Jewish communities, and her contribution to these two diverse audiences. He will demonstrate how she sought real social engagement that reaches beyond the walls of the museum, challenging the structures of religious patriarchy while engaging in a dialogue with its representatives.

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Dr. David Sperber is an art historian, curator, and art critic – until recently a postdoctoral associate at the Institute of Sacred Music, Yale University. Currently he is a David Hartman Center for Intellectual Leadership research fellow, at the Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem. In 2012, he co-curated the international exhibition “Matronita: Jewish Feminist Art” at the Mishkan Le’Omanut, Museum of Art, Ein Harod in Israel. In 2015 he curated New York / New Work for the Jewish Art Salon at the Jerusalem Biennale.

Sperbers’ forthcoming book to be published by the Hebrew University Magnes Press and the Shalom Hartman Institute, is entitled Devoted Resistance: Jewish Feminist Art in the US and Israel.