"This important book deals in-depth with a previously overlooked aspect of American Jewish art, the generation born after 1930 who usually saw themselves as secular Americans. The stories of their return to Jewish sources from the 1970s on and the various reasons for it make for fascinating reading that is instructive for developments today."—Ziva Amishai-Maisels, Professor Emerita, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
"Matthew Baigell has synthesized an important body of research and come up with a scintillating volume. A masterful work, indeed!"—Ori Z. Soltes, Georgetown University
"Written by a distinguished scholar of American art, this book reveals how eleven male and female contemporary Jewish-American artists combined their American individualism with their Jewish heritage. Chapters on Jewish female artists and on Jewish feminist art are especially a must-read."—Donald Kuspit, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Art History and Philosophy, State University of New York at Stony Brook
"A beautiful book with more than 90 color illustrations. It is more than a coffee table art book since Baigell offers scholarly insights into the artists’ work."—Rabbi Rachel Esserman, The Reporter
"Readers interested in the contemporary Jewish cultural scene, the nuance and variety of biblical interpretation, and art history will gain much from this volume and its depiction of artists."—Jewish Book Council
"Baigell’s book explores Jewish identity in American Art by focusing on a golden age of the representation of Jewish identity in American art since the 1970s. In general, Baigell’s writing is elegant and accessible to public. At the same time, it is inspiring and compelling for readers who are interested in Jewish American art. Particularly, Baigell demonstrates how art, migration, gender, and religion intersect one another. Baigell’s book is thus of great significance in multiple disciplines."—Visual Studies Journal
"Baigell provides a richly insightful, well-researched, and deep examination into the works of a significant group of contemporary American artists. Their contributions are certainly worthy of a place in the annals of Jewish American or American Jewish art – depending upon one’s preference."—Susan Chevlowe, Images
Unlike earlier generations, Jewish American artists born between the 1930s and the early 1960s were among the first to overtly embrace and challenge religious themes in their work. These Jewish artists felt comfortable as assimilated Americans yet developed an overwhelming desire to explore their cultural and religious heritage. They became the first generation willing to take risks with their material and to discover new ways to create art with Jewish religious content.
In his most recent book, Baigell explores the art and influences of eleven artists who enlarged the parameters of Jewish American art through their varied approaches to subject matter, to feminist concerns, and to finding contemporary relevance in the ancient texts. Along with detailed essays on each artist, the book includes nearly one hundred stunning illustrations that testify to the beauty, depth, and importance of the paintings and sculptures produced by this groundbreaking generation of artists.
Matthew Baigell is professor emeritus in the department of art history at Rutgers University. He is the author, editor, and coeditor of over twenty books on American and Jewish American art. His most recent book is The Implacable Urge to Defame: Cartoon Jews in the American Press, 1877–1935.
8.5 x 11, 248 pages, 7 black and white, 84 color illustrations