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Abstract

“Museum Musings” relates to the exhibition Alchemy of Words: Abraham Abulafia, Dada Lettrism (Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 16 June–19 November 2016), discussing the connections made, discoveries, and considerations on what lay behind the unique constellation of the show.

In: IMAGES

Abstract

Jonathan Leaman (b. 1954, London) is a British painter who is represented in the Tate Collection. This article, the result of 15 years of his correspondence with art historian and museum curator Batsheva Goldman-Ida, focuses on a group of works by the artist from the last two decades. Leaman’s familiarity with major Kabbalah scholarship, combined with his wide knowledge of poetry and philosophy, enable him to engage in concepts related to Kabbalah and art in a discursive manner that is unparalleled in modern scholarship. This article showcases Leaman’s remarks with source material for the benefit of the reader. Leaman is one of the most important contemporary artists in the area of mystical art. His introduction to the public is long overdue. His paintings are an authentic, creative expression of the considered material filtered through the artist’s own self-awareness. Leaman’s keen interest in haecceity, hypostatization, and reification is juxtaposed with Goldman-Ida’s interest in object history and linguistic mysticism, and with key Hasidic and kabbalistic concepts such as worship through corporeality, divine contraction, and rectification.

In: IMAGES

Abstract

Batsheva Goldman-Ida, art historian and museum curator, introduces the article by Jiří Mordechai Georgo Langer (1894, Prague–1943, Tel Aviv): “On the Function of the Jewish Doorpost Scroll,” presented for the first time in English translation, and originally written for the Freud journal Imago in 1928. Langer, a Hebrew poet and teacher of Jewish studies was a friend of Franz Kafka. Langer joined the Belz Hasidism from 1913–16 and was one of the people who introduced Kafka to Hasidism. Langer suggests an explanatory model for Jewish religious artifacts such as the Mezuzah and Phylacteries in the context of compulsion neuroses, referencing the rites of indigenous people and totem theory. The introduction provides background material on the author and details of his other books and endeavors, as well as a framework to better appreciate his poetry and scholarly work. Langer sought a revival of “comrade love” whose homerotic bias is of interest today. His essay on the Mezuzah opens up a range of questions on Jewish artifacts, psychoanalysis, and the origins of Jewish rites. Long left unnoticed, it challenges the current field of Jewish scholarship to rethink its methodology.

In: IMAGES

This case study combines the disciplines of art history, community history, and ethnographic fieldwork to identify a group of museum objects within their cultural context. It shows how ethnography can be used to supplement the tool box available to the art historian in a positive way. Thus, private collections are used to identify the group of Hanukkah lamps of sheet metal in museums. Images of the lamps in folk and fine art, and mention of them in newspaper advertisements and community satirical publications—all contemporary to the period of their use—were consulted. Over 80 interviewees from southern Germany, Alsace, and the Netherlands were interviewed; the majority former teachers from a Jewish school in Wurzburg, others residing in Jerusalem and on the Moshav Shavei Tzion. As a result, the Hanukkah lamps were identified by country, ethnic group, religious affiliation, and object name in the local idiom. Tracing the development and geographic spread of the form also enabled us to identify the same lamp used in different social contexts, among itinerate members of society and the bourgeoisie.

In: IMAGES
Hasidic Art and the Kabbalah presents eight case studies of manuscripts, ritual objects, and folk art developed by Hasidic masters in the mid-eighteenth to late nineteenth centuries, whose form and decoration relate to sources in the Zohar, German Pietism, and Safed Kabbalah. Examined at the delicate and difficult to define interface between seemingly simple, folk art and complex ideological and conceptual outlooks which contain deep, abstract symbols, the study touches on aspects of object history, intellectual history, the decorative arts, and the history of religion. Based on original texts, the focus of this volume is on the subjective experience of the user at the moment of ritual, applying tenets of process philosophy and literary theory – Wolfgang Iser, Gaston Bachelard, and Walter Benjamin – to the analysis of objects.
In: Hasidic Art and the Kabbalah
In: Hasidic Art and the Kabbalah
In: Hasidic Art and the Kabbalah
In: Hasidic Art and the Kabbalah
In: Hasidic Art and the Kabbalah