History of Art and Architecture

Still Jousting with Idols: Jewish Art Criticism Today

Thursday, April 22, 2021 - 4:00pm

Still Jousting with Idols: Jewish Art Criticism Today

Speaker: Professor Ben Schachter, Director of Visual Arts Division at Saint Vincent College

When critics try to define Jewish Art, they often leave out a large mostly unexplored topic. For example, When Harold Rosenberg wrote his influential essay, "American Action Painters," he changed the way many people viewed abstraction and the way artists work. "Action" became an important critical term. Yet in 1966, when he spoke on Jewish Art, he put aside his own critical invention and fell back on the old trope that Judaism forbids people from making images. He was so close yet so far away from a revolution in Jewish Art criticism.

In "Image, Action, and Idea in Contemporary Jewish Art," Ben Schachter presents an alternative approach to Jewish Art. Instead of attempting to define it - yet again - against the prohibition against images or an art based on imagery, Schachter offers an approach that echoes Rosenberg's action painting and shows that action, or creation, is deeply rooted and extensively discussed in Jewish texts.

What does a Jewishly informed criticism of art sound like? Come and hear.


Zoom password available on HAA Undergraduate and Graduate Canvas sites, or by request from haadept@pitt.edu.

Contemporary Jewish Art Lecture co-sponsored by History of Art & Architecture and the Program in Jewish Studies