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.
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.
Judy Chicago, Red Flag, 1971
Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Washing/Tracks/Maintenance: Outside (July 23, 1973), Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
Nam June Pail, TV Buddha, 1974 (Installation view, Tate Modern 2019)
Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #21 (1978)
Hiroshi Sugimoto, Joe 2011 (2004), (photograph of a Richard Serra, torqued ellipse)
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.