Jewish arts and culture thrived in 2021. Here’s why we know.

Lou Cove

Question for the CANVAS Community: If a tree falls in the woods and there is no one else around to hear it, does it make a sound? I will go out on a philosophical limb and say: yes. But the sound sure is more resonant if you are there to experience it.  

The same can be said for Jewish creativity. It’s going on all around you, but if you don’t know it’s happening, and if you don’t have expert curators and critics guiding you through the forest, it’s easy to miss. 

This is why, from our earliest planning stages, we made a point of including grants to media outlets as part of the CANVAS strategy. Our mandate to our grantees is simple: increase the volume of coverage of Jewish arts and culture, yes—but also reflect the sophistication, diversity, and range of the work. 

As 2021 comes to a close, we’d like to share with you some of our favorite reporting from CANVAS media grantees AlmaThe Forward, and Hyperallergic. Without them, you might never have learned about the Indian Jewish Art Salon, or the unexpected orthodox art gallery in Brooklyn, or Leon Fenster’s Beijing Haggadah. 

We hope you enjoy their work, subscribe to their publications, and follow/share some of the best arts coverage out there.

Detail of portrait of Audrey Siegl by Kali Spitzer

  Indigenous and Jewish photographer Kali Spitzer’s work is rooted in community.

  Indian Jewish artist Siona Benjamin “belongs everywhere and nowhere”.

  Olivia Guterson draws on her African and Jewish heritages to make something new.

  Manon Ouimet documents her conversion to Judaism, one photograph at a time.

  Rachel Schragis examines the world’s biggest problems—with flowcharts.

Judy Chicago, “Through The Flower,” 1973.

 How Judy Chicago became a part of art history.

In Taipei, artist Leo Fenster prepares for a Seder with his own Haggadah.

How dance lover Beatrice Waterhouse is preserving the Jewish history of ballet—one blog entry at a time.

 In Barbara Kruger’s brilliant exhibit, you can’t look at the art unless you let it look at you.

Babi Yar is a site of Jewish death. With a new synagogue, architect Manuel Herz vows to “bring back Jewish life”.

Cara Levine, “Dig a Hole to Put Your Grief In.” Photo: Nir Yaniv.

 In Malibu, a large hole is being dug to contain your grief.

 Gillian Laub’s Family Matters: Family love and politics in the age of Trump and beyond.

 The Jewish immigrant Modernists who dreamed a better future in Brazil.

 In a Whitney Museum exhibition, Jewish artists go unrecognized and unexamined.

 Brooklyn got its first Hasidic art gallery.

We know! We missed a lot! Send us your favorites and we’ll give them some attention as well.

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