Whatever Is Contained Must Be Released: My Jewish Orthodox Girlhood, My Life as a Feminist Artist

Whatever Is Contained Must Be Released: My Jewish Orthodox Girlhood, My Life as a Feminist Artist

by Helene Aylon
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions


Growing up an Orthodox Jew in Brooklyn, Helene Aylon spends her Friday nights in a sea of extended family as the Sabbath candles flicker. She dreams of escape but marries a rabbi and becomes a mother of two. Suddenly her world splits apart when she is widowed at thirty. Aylon finds a home in the burgeoning environmental art scene of the 1970s—creating

Overview


Growing up an Orthodox Jew in Brooklyn, Helene Aylon spends her Friday nights in a sea of extended family as the Sabbath candles flicker. She dreams of escape but marries a rabbi and becomes a mother of two. Suddenly her world splits apart when she is widowed at thirty. Aylon finds a home in the burgeoning environmental art scene of the 1970s—creating transgressive works that explore identity, women's bodies, the environment, disarmament, and the notion of God. Eventually she asks of Judaism what she never dared to ask as a child: Where are the women?

Examples of Aylon’s work included are her early doors for the Jewish chapel at JFK airport, her peace pillowcases (including one worn by Grace Paley), and her current search for the links between feminism and Judaism

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
American conceptual artist Aylon was raised in Orthodox Jewish Borough Park, Brooklyn, the first girl born into a loving family who would have preferred a boy. In this richly evocative, captivating, and reflective memoir, Aylon describes her personal and professional evolution from her insular and traditional upbringing to living as an artist in Manhattan’s Westbeth artists’ residence and later in Northern California. Aylon’s writing is refreshingly energetic and conversational, vividly evoking the daily life of her childhood and the frequent conflicts she felt between her identity as a mother and daughter in Brooklyn and her emerging artistic identity in Manhattan. Her evolution into a thriving feminist artist and boldly experimental professor of art in 1970s and ’80s-era San Francisco demonstrates an inspiring reflectiveness, sense of self, and self-confidence. Most fascinating is this Jewish feminist’s creative integration of faith and culture into her art and how deeply her religious training informed and complicated her art and life. The inclusion of rare, evocative personal photographs and documents complete this revealing portrait, making it of great interest to anyone interested in Judaism’s intersections with art and feminism. (June)
From the Publisher

"Never afraid to question sacred texts, ancient rituals, and religious bias—Aylon is a role model for all artists. Whatever is Contained is an arresting tale of uncommon courage, intelligence, and wit."
—Gail Levin, author of Lee Krasner: A Biography and Becoming Judy Chicago

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781558617681
Publisher:
Feminist Press at CUNY, The
Publication date:
05/15/2012
Series:
Jewish Women Writers
Pages:
350
Product dimensions:
7.20(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author


Helène Aylon is a visual, conceptual, installation performance artist and eco-feminist whose art has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum in New York; the Jewish Museum in New York; The Aldrich Museum in Connecticut; the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, among many others. She has upcoming exhibitions at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. She has known and worked with many major artists and writers of the past forty years, including Ana Mendieta, Grace Paley, Ad Reinhard, and Mark Rothko. She continues to create new art and exhibit throughout the US.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >