The 18th World Congress of Jewish Studies

Radical New Initiatives in Jewish Visual Art

The last decade has seen an explosive emergence of artist-initiated Jewish art communities in the North America and Israel. New art groups have created unprecedented opportunities to show and discuss cutting-edge contemporary art that explores Jewish themes. Their exhibitions, panel discussions and other art programming with leading international artists and scholars are creating a renewed appreciation for innovative Jewish art in the contemporary art world. I will present the initiatives of the largest Jewish visual arts organization, the Jewish Art Salon.

This non-profit organization was founded 13 years ago in New York. Primarily artist-run with 450 members, the Salon created over forty art exhibitions in the US, Europe, and Israel, as well as numerous professional opportunities worldwide. These events at museums and galleries explore contemporary Jewish themes related to current issues, reflecting popular interests and broader societal memes.

The Salon believes that contemporary Jewish visual culture is essential to modern Jewish life. Visual arts communicate and explore our Jewish history, faith, and practice in a totally unique manner. Today’s Jewish artists deeply believe that the contribution they make with their artworks enrich and transform Jewish lives. Affiliated artists and scholars from diverse backgrounds, Sephardic, Mizrahi, and Ashkenazic, secular to Haredi, help to create a contemporary Jewish culture.”

The Jewish Art Salon is at the forefront of this renaissance of Jewish art. Its latest initiatives include two upcoming international interfaith exhibitions with Muslims, Christians and other faith communities to open dialogs between different cultures.