Encyclopedia of Jewish American Artists

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Encyclopedia of Jewish American Artists presents over 80 19th- and 20-century Jewish American artists, ranging from the critically neglected Theresa Bernstein, Ruth Gikow, and Jennings Tofel, to the well-known Eva Hesse, Roy Lichtenstein, and Larry Rivers. The subject matter of some of these artists may surprise readers. Adolph Gottlieb designed and supervised the fabrication of a 35-foot wide, four-story high stained glass facade for a synagogue; Louise Nevelson sculpted a Holocaust memorial; and Philip Pearlstein painted a version of Moses with the Tablets of the Law early in his career. Covering painters, sculptors, printmakers, and photographers, as well as artists who engage in newer forms of visual expression such as video, conceptual, and performance art, the book is in part intended to stimulate further scholarship on these artists. When appropriate, entries reveal the influence of the Jewish American encounter on the artists' work along with other factors such as gender and the immigrant experience. In many cases, the artists' own words are employed to flesh out perspectives on their art as well as on their Jewish identity. To that end, the volume contains excerpts from recent interviews conducted by the author with some of the artists, including Judy Chicago, Audrey Flack, Jack Levine, and Sol LeWitt. Illustrations accompanying each artist's entry, some in color, aid this invaluable look at Jewish American art.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[A] welcome addition to art history collections for the ethnic representation it offers and the questions it raises."


American Reference Books Annual

"Baskind, professor of art history at Cleveland State University, provides information on 85 artists from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She includes painters, sculptors, printmakers, photographers, and video, conceptual, and performance artists, offering a wide range of artistic expressions. The artists were born or spent most of their lives in America. Their art may or may not contain obvious Jewish content, but it is usually influenced by Jewish values and culture….This is a good introduction to Jewish American art. Using the artists own words to explain their perspectives on art enriches the presentation. The Encyclopedia of Jewish American Artists is a useful resource for academic, Judaica, and large public libraries."


Booklist/Reference Books Bulletin

"This ambitious reference text provides short overviews of the careers of 80-plus 19th- and 20th-century Jewish American artists-e.g., painters, photographers, graphic artists, sculptors, and video-media artists. Baskind's selections vary from well-known artists, e.g., Richard Avedon and Mark Rothko, to those less well known, e.g., Minna Citron and Barbara Kruger. Each of the A-to-Z entries is approximately 1500 words long….Defining Jewish identity or a Jewish aesthetic is one of the goals of this reference book, which poses such questions as, What comprises a Jewish American aesthetic? and, Can an artist be categorized as Jewish simply because of birth?….[B]askind offers a reasoned response to these large questions. Recommended for art library collections and Judaica library collections."


Library Journal

"Basking provides a thoughtful preface elucidating her selection of artists (she does not claim comprehensiveness). Regarding Jewishness: some of the artists explicitly express their Jewish identity in their work; others do not. Regarding American: many were not born in the US, but they did arrive at a young age and identify as Americans. After setting context with a historical essay, Baskind profiles 80-plus artists, offering, for each, biographical information, discussion of oeuvre, a bibliography, and a selected list of public collections. Aside from providing a convenient resource, one of Baskind's aims is to support discussion about what indeed can be seen as Jewish about an artist's work."


Reference & Research Book News

"This biographical dictionary servies a very useful purpose by placing Jewish American artists in several contexts; their Jewish religious and cultural inheritance (acknowleged or otherwise); their association with the United States, whether as immigrants, ot native-born; and the extent to which Judaism is reflected--overtly, convertly, or even unconsciously--in their work."


College & Research Libraries

". . . this is a useful volume for historians of Jewish culture in America. It is surprising how many good artists of Jewish origin one can find, if one looks hard enough. Baskind's interviews with some of the artists provide interesting material. Jewish American Artists takes its place alongside similar compilations of Jews in sports, in the cinema, and so forth, and makes us feel good that we belong to such an artistic nation."


Jews and the Sporting Life

Library Journal

This ambitious reference text provides short overviews of the careers of 80-plus 19th- and 20th-century Jewish American artists—e.g., painters, photographers, graphic artists, sculptors, and video-media artists. Baskind's (Raphael Soyer and the Search for Modern Jewish Art) selections vary from well-known artists, e.g., Richard Avedon and Mark Rothko, to those less well known, e.g., Minna Citron and Barbara Kruger. Each of the A-to-Z entries is approximately 1500 words long. Though Baskind notes that her selections are not intended to be all-inclusive, readers may question the omission of artists like Cindy Sherman. Nonetheless, the selections are informative, including a biographical sketch of each artist, a representative illustration of the artist's work, a short bibliography, a selected list of public collections where the artist's work can be found, and illustrations, some in color. The sketches often attempt to discern the "Jewish" nature of the art, sometimes including comments from the artists on the relationship of their art to Jewish identity, excerpted from recent interviews conducted by the author.
—Herbert E. Shapiro

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313336379
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/30/2006
  • Series: Artists of the American Mosaic Series
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

SAMANTHA BASKIND is Assistant Professor of Art History at Cleveland State University. She is the author of Raphael Soyer and the Search for Modern Jewish Art (2004).

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements     xi
Preface     xiii
A Brief History of Jewish American Art     1
Eleanor Antin     13
Ida Applebroog     17
Diane Arbus     21
David Aronson     24
Shimon Attie     27
Richard Avedon     30
Saul Baizerman     35
Will Barnet     38
Leonard Baskin     42
Ben-Zion     45
Theresa Bernstein     48
Albert Bloch     51
Hyman Bloom     54
Peter Blume     57
Ilya Bolotowsky     60
Jonathan Borofsky     63
Alice Lok Cahana     67
Solomon Nunes Carvalho     70
Judy Chicago     73
Minna Citron     76
Jo Davidson     81
Jim Dine     85
Alfred Eisenstaedt     89
Jacob Epstein     92
Philip Evergood     97
Moses Jacob Ezekiel     100
Herbert Ferber     105
Audrey Flack     108
Robert Frank     111
Helen Frankenthaler     114
Lee Friedlander     117
Ruth Gikow     121
Leon Golub     123
Adolph Gottlieb     126
William Gropper     129
Chaim Gross     132
Philip Guston     137
Eva Hesse     141
Tobi Kahn     145
Jacob Kainen     148
Alex Katz     151
R.B. Kitaj     154
Lee Krasner     157
Leon Kroll     161
Barbara Kruger     164
Ibram Lassaw     167
Jack Levine     170
Sol LeWitt     173
Roy Lichtenstein     176
Seymour Lipton     178
Morris Louis     181
Louis Lozowick     184
William Meyerowitz     189
Henry Mosler     192
Elie Nadelman     197
Louise Nevelson     200
Arnold Newman     204
Barnett Newman     206
Jules Olitski     211
Philip Pearlstein     215
Irving Penn     218
Archie Rand     221
Abraham Rattner     224
Larry Rivers     227
Mark Rothko     230
Miriam Schapiro      235
George Segal     238
Richard Serra     241
Ben Shahn     245
Mitchell Siporin     248
Aaron Siskind     251
Moses Soyer     254
Raphael Soyer     257
Nancy Spero     260
Harry Sternberg     263
Maurice Sterne     266
Florine Stettheimer     270
Alfred Stieglitz     273
Paul Strand     277
Jennings Tofel     281
Abraham Walkowitz     285
Max Weber     288
Weegee (Arthur Fellig)     292
Garry Winogrand     295
William Zorach     301
Notes     307
Some Initial Reading on Jewish American Art     311
Index     313
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