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Anti-Semitism and Jewish Art Today: Panel Discussion at 92St Y / Conney Conference

April 2, 2019, 10:00-11:00 am.

92 St Y, Buttenweiser Hall 

1395 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10128

Anti-Semitism and Jewish Art Today 

Moderator: Ruth Weisberg.

Panelists: Yona Verwer, Phillip Schwartz, Max Kulchinsky, Richard McBee.

View the video recording HERE

Anti-Semitism has reasserted itself as a primary international factor in 21st
Century Jewish life.  A recent survey of European Jews reveals that 85% rated
“anti-Semitism as the biggest social or political problem in the country where they live (The Times of Israel).  Beside the October 2018 murder of 11 Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg, PA, the Anti-Defamation League has
reported (Feb 2018) that anti-Semitic incidents were nearly 60 percent higher in 2017 than 2016. From Hezbollah in the north to Hamas in the south, Israel
remains surrounded by annihilative enemies.

Contemporary Jewish artists members of the Jewish Art Salon and the Jewish Artists Initiative have responded forcefully to this wide-ranging existential threat. Some have documented the shocking parallels of Nazi era abuses and current European desecrations; one young artist charts his coming-of-age awareness in anti-Semitic symbols and memes, another explores the clash between LGBTQ rally and pro-Israeli sentiments while another constructs orthodox observance as a vehicle for resistance and mourning for the Pittsburg Synagogue massacre.

Additionally historical paradigms and responses such as the Golem and the
biblical injunction to “Remember Amalek!” are utilized to fight back and raise


Ruth Weisberg artist, Professor of Fine Arts, former Dean Roski School, University of Southern California, is the Director of the USC Initiative for Israeli Arts and Humanities. She is President of the Jewish Artists Initiative of Southern California. Weisberg’s work is included in sixty major Museums, among them the Metropolitan, the Whitney, the Biblioteque National of France and the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the recipient of numerous awards, such as the Foundation for Jewish Culture’s 50th Anniversary Award, 2011, and the Southern Graphic Council International’s Printmaker Emeritus Award, 2015. Weisberg has had over 84 solo and 200 group exhibitions, including a major exhibition at the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena and a retrospective, at the Skirball Museum, Los Angeles as well as a solo exhibition at the Huntington in San Marino.

Max Kulchinsky is a 21-year-old force to be reckoned with. A New Yorker born-and-raised, Max is a music industry professional and soon-to-be college graduate. In 2018, Max debuted his first multimedia project, *GOOD LUCK*, which he calls “a study on ancestral baggage.” The project is comprised of hand screen-printed and painted posters juxtaposing the phrase “mazel tov,” the swastika, and the Star of David, photographs, a short film, and zine.

Phillip Schwartz graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, where he was awarded one of the prestigious travelling scholarships given to winners of the Fifth Year Competition along with a show at the Museum of Fine Art. His work has been shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. While a member of the Art Collective, “Artnauts”, he had the opportunity to show social justice-based work internationally. He currently resides and works in Hudson, NY.

Richard McBee studied painting at the Art Students League of New York and has dealt exclusively with subject matter from the Torah and Jewish history in figurative narratives since 1976.  The subjects of his paintings have included: Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph & Potiphar’s Wife, Judah & Tamar, Moses, Exodus, Children of Israel in the Desert, Pinchas, Ruth, David, Ezekiel, Holocaust.  In 1991 he was one of the founding members of the American Guild of Judaic Art.  Since 2008 he has been active as a curator in the Jewish Art Salon in New York City.

Yona Verwer is a Dutch-born, New York-based multimedia artist whose works explore personal and collective identity, history, and kabbalah. Verwer’s work has been recognized internationally through exhibitions such as the Jerusalem Biennale, Amsterdam’s Troubled Waters, the Andy Warhol Factory, and the Holocaust Memorial Center. She has been published in 4 languages, including in the New York Times by William Zimmer, the New Yorker by Boris Fishman, and Art Criticism by Matthew Baigell. Verwer is the co-founder and director of the Jewish Art Salon, the largest contemporary Jewish visual arts organization.

The Jewish Art Salon is proud to be participating in the Conney Conference on Jewish Arts at the 92Y, March 31-April 3rd, 2019.

Full conference program available here

Our other two panels are:

April 1: 9:00-10:00 am.

Spinoza in Our Time / Moderator: Ori Z. Soltes. Panelists: Lenore Mizrachi-Cohen, Goldie Gross, Judith Joseph, Cynthia Beth Rubin, Yona Verwer, David Wander.

April 2: 2:00-3:00 pm

Contemporary Jewish Narratives / Moderator: Matthew Baigell. Panelists: Archie Rand, Richard McBee, Joel Silverstein.



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