Visual Cues for Jewish Philosophy (Contemporary Art After the Realism of Revelation & Redemption of German Expressionism)

Image result for Untitled Film Still #21 (1978)

After “revelation and redemption” in the modern German Jewish thought of Buber and Rosenzweig came “authority and law.” Both traded upon the idea of overwhelming power, with strong commitments to the idea of “realization,” i.e. “realized presence,” But somewhere, “the  uncanny” got lost sight of, replaced by the figure of Moses.

Image result for Rembrandt van Rijn, Moses with the Tablets of the Law, 1659

Rembrandt van Rijn, Moses with the Tablets of the Law, 1659

Instead of all that, contemporary visual cues from the visual arts emerging out of the 1970s might offer different framing categories under which to think about concepts important to the philosophy of religion and Jewish philosophy, or to think about new things heretofore unthought. In obvious order below, these are “bodies,” “labor,” “mediation,” “fakes” and “simulation”, and “torqued structure.” Of particular interest is the importance of feminist art as a form of theoretical practice, and how photography, the most realist of media, along with video contribute to heightened questioning about the real or the actual in the face of the virtual.

Image result for Chicago Red Flag

Judy Chicago, Red Flag, 1971

Image result for Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Washing/Tracks/Maintenance: Outside (July 23, 1973), Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Washing/Tracks/Maintenance: Outside (July 23, 1973), Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

Image result for nam june paik tv buddha

Nam June Pail, TV Buddha, 1974 (Installation view, Tate Modern 2019)

Image result for Untitled Film Still #21 (1978)

Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #21 (1978)

Image result for serra sugimoto

Hiroshi Sugimoto, Joe 2011 (2004), (photograph of a Richard Serra, torqued ellipse)

 

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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1 Response to Visual Cues for Jewish Philosophy (Contemporary Art After the Realism of Revelation & Redemption of German Expressionism)

  1. dmf says:

    I like this sort of pragmatism that doesn’t reduce objects/events into illustrations of previously established certainties/principles but frames them as sites/assemblages of exploration and experimentation.

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