Thursday, January 26, 2012

Once Around the Block:
In My Studio

A little DIY video showing what I do in my studio all night. I queried Damon Gough about using his song in the background -- it's Badly Drawn Boy's "Once Around the Block," and you should support him by buying a copy if you like it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"Burning Bush: Flame On" now showing in Memphis

I've mentioned that the show I have going on now in Memphis includes more pieces that just the "Paper Tefillah" series; here's one of the other papercuts on exhibition there right now. It's part of my "paper midrash" work, and this one is called "Burning Bush: Flame On."

Inspired by the first chapter of the book of Shemot (aka Exodus) in the Torah, it's another attempt to convey the sense of wonder and awe that Moses felt upon encountering the Burning Bush in the desert and hearing God's voice speak to him from its midst. This is a story I keep returning to in my work; as I try to understand the role and presence of the Divine in our lives, this is one of those moments that continues to intrigue me.

The background is made up of cut-up comics (including quite a few variations on the Human Torch, from the Fantastic Four), but also a bit of a Chumash that was destined for the genizah. You can see a hint of green in the upper reaches, as we are told that although the bush was on fire, it was not consumed. And of course, just to the right above center the eponymous words, "Flame on!"

It's available for sale, by the way -- the original and archival prints; let me know if you're interested by dropping me an email.

Monday, January 16, 2012

King David + Elvis = "The King"

This is the last piece I made for my Memphis show; it's not a part of the "Paper Tefillah" series, but rather a portrait of King David.

Based on the King of Spades playing card (traditionally, each of the four kings is based on a real king), I've replaced the sword with a guitar, added sideburns and full lips, and voila: it's Elvis Presley.

Backed by cut-up pictures from the 1995 LIFE magazine special "Celebrating Elvis," observant lookers will see album covers, parts of outfits, images of Graceland, leather pants, Vegas jumpsuits for the jewels in the crown, crowd shots from his Independence Day 1956 Memphis concert in the spades, and much more.

In the faces of the king I've placed part of Psalm 33 (in English and Hebrew), written by King David; these bits were taken from an old prayerbook that was headed for ritual burial in the genizah. It includes the lines:
Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
Praise the Lord with the lyre;
make music unto him with the harp of ten strings.
Sing to him a new song;
play skilfully with sounds, and shout for joy.
 You can see it in person at Temple Israel in Memphis, now through February 8. If you're interested in purchasing an archival giclee print, drop me a line.

Friday, January 13, 2012

"Paper Tefillah" workshops

As I've mentioned here, part of my time at Temple Israel in Memphis was spent in workshops with students from their religious school and a local religious day school. I talked with the classes about the series as well as about tefillah and midrash and art in general, and then we all created art together. I also met with groups of teachers, talking about the "Paper Tefillah" series could be used as part of their curricula.

We worked in the museum, right next to the wall upon which the series was hung; here are some photos.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Paper Tefillah" Opening Reception

My thanks to everyone who came out to the opening reception at Temple Israel -- it went very well! I lectured in the sanctuary for about 45 minutes on Judaism, art, creation, and prayer, and then welcomed a big crowd of people into the museum to see the work. Thanks to everyone who supported me during the process: to Barb for initiating the process, to Lee and Amy for making it happen, to the Memphis community for coming out to share this with me, and to my wife Shawna who is, as always, my muse and my true love.

And f you can't make it to the show in person, please check out the Paper Tefillah catalog (in PDF format).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Paper Tefillah" catalog now online

For those of you who can't make it to Memphis to see "Paper Tefillah" in person I'm posting this PDF catalog, which shows all sixteen papercuts in the series and includes full descriptions — as well as lists of the comics used in each piece.

I'll be making prints when I return from the show; details to come.

Paper Tefillah catalog (in PDF format)

"Paper Tefillah" featured in the Forward's "Arty Semite" blog

I'm so pleased to see that my "Paper Tefillah" show (opening tonight at Temple Israel in Memphis) is featured in the Arty Semite blog on the Forward website today. You can follow this link to read the article... and to see a slideshow of all sixteen papercuts.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"Paper Tefillah" write-up in the Memphis Flyer

With "Excelsior!" as a headline, I knew Chris Davis had done me right. Please check out the nice review of my upcoming "Paper Tefillah" show in this week's Memphis Flyer.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"Paper Tefillah" on "Jewish Art Now"

It's just a little post about the show, but it's a start! Click the link to see the post, or visit Jewish Art Now to see "a fresh perspective on the convergence of contemporary art and Judaism."