Spot The Litvak

As soon as I saw these “Spot the…” games becoming popular I knew I had to do this smile emoticon

How long did it take you? (No cheating and zooming allowed)

spot the litvak copyI’ve been “that guy” by more than one Tish (or Hasidic gathering) btw. Super fun. For those who are unfamiliar: “Litvak” refers to Jews from Lithuanian (or nearby) descent. They often have different traditional dress than Hasidic tradition. A Litvak man might be clean shaven with a down brim hat and tie, while someone from Hasidic tradition might wear a fur hat called a “shtreimel.” Ultimately, we are all Jews regardless of our dress or tradition. But it is fun to laugh at ourselves and our “differences” once in a while.

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Pesach Oven – An Art Review

How many references can you get?

by Yoel Judowitz

The Pesach Oven may be a minor Yoél work; an ode to the oeuvre, as it may be. But as a gesture of subliminal, inter-contextual subversion— whoa!

In the tradition of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s The Gates—that wasteful spectacle of billowing saffron cloth which bedecked Central Park and befuddled tax paying patrons—The Pesach Oven, is also a “wrapped” installation that can be viewed as “revelation through concealment.”

Visually impressive, with a visceral aesthetic impact, the jarring juxtaposition of smooth and crinkled metals raises questions of identity and mindfulness. The tangential rabbit hole leads to a stumbling inner journey. You may find yourself noticing things like—This is not my beautiful house! And you may ask yourself—Where is that large automobile that I have to clean next?

Best viewed as an exercise in phenomenological existentialism, the interplay of light and shadow across the broken dappled surface creates a Mandelbrotian topography that slyly winks at the macro-micro relationship of symbolic mountains and molehills—whilst the harsh metallic substrate questions the underlying rigidity and limitations of our imagined freedoms: “Foiel ergo sum—I foil, therefore I am.”

On a metaphorical level, the Duchampian proposition of manufactured layering to utilitarian “ordinariness,” leaves retinal art behind and associates more comfortably with verbal nomenclature expressed in its most innocent, even infantile, form as: “da da da.” (sic)

The tactile experience of the installation reveals an entirely new dimension of tension and dichotomy. Smooth, versus sharp; tape, versus foil; hot oven versus OUCH! An intermediate substrate, such as oven mittens is beneficial for experiencing the full range of texture. Courage is required!

The actual creative process, or the installation’s birth story, required fortitude and persistence.

The artist claims that he was interrupted several times during material application by a man in a coon-skin cap (or shtriemel ) collecting for charity who wanted eleven dollar bills and he only got ten. The man also requested a fresh Kosher for Passover pickle. After jumping on his motorcycle to get the Kosher for Passover pickle and missing dollar, the artist discovered that he had forgotten to insert a quarter in the parking meter. This quickly became a Scene of a Crime and before long there were five police officers, three police cars, two Shomrim patrols, and three Yeshiva World reporters crowded around the motorcycle—this being the biggest crime of the last fifty years, and everybody wanted to get in the newspaper story about it. The artist did not want to die, he just wanted to get on his motorcy…cle and get home, but he had a hard time elbowing through the crowd.

When the artist finally returned home he discovered that vandals had took the handles of the stove in his absence and he was forced to purchase new ones online. Thankfully, due to his Amazon Prime membership, the replacement handles arrived two days before he ordered them and he was able to finish in time for the holiday.
Overall, this fascinating annual exhibit is well worth viewing before it rips and becomes practically useless –usually between one and three hours after instillation.

Chag Samaich,
Yoel J.

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Quick Visual Summary of Our Presidential Contenders

Here’s a quick visual summary of some of our presidential contenders.  You can probably tell I am not overly impressed. Can you figure them all out?

Pres contenders summary

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In Lieu Shalach Manos

In lieu of the popular “In Lieu” cards, this year we gave something with a twist: “actual” Shalach Manos. A Marcel Duchamp version of Shalach Manos perhaps.(minus the – um – bathroom apparatus)In Lieu shalach manosIMG_0605

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