Founded in late 2008, London based Dominic Jones Jewellery is fast becoming hot property amongst the fashion elite. The new “It Boy” for celeb jewelry, designer Jones’ Tooth And Nail collection consists of rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, belts and gloves embellished with fangs, thorns, teeth and claw-like accents. Read more
Sharpie® markers are fast becoming a truly recognized art medium. Along with the glut of unexpected artful uses as shown on my previous post, And You Thought Sharpies We’re For Writing Your Name In Your Underwear, the permanent laundry marker has made its way into the world of Couture with Rodarte Sharpie Tattoos. Read more
World renowned architect Richard Meier designed a series of modern homes called “Bodrum Houses” in Yalikavak, Turkey. 23 houses designed in 5 different design styles. Read more
Next time your child whines “I want a pony”, consider these Rocking Squares by Frederik Roijé. Albeit as exspensive as a real horse, these will last forever. Read more
So WTF is Passover? For you non MOTs, you can learn here.
On Monday night, the first Seder dinner will place in most observant homes where children and adults alike will be reading from their Haggadot (that’s the plural of Haggadah).
What is a Haggadah?
A compilation of biblical passages, prayers, hymns, and rabbinic literature meant to be read during the Passover Seder, a ceremonial meal held in Jewish homes to commemorate the Israelite redemption from Egypt in biblical times.
Growing up in my household, you had the choice to read from the mimeographed or ditto machine duplicated and bound Haggadah (that still smelled like carbon paper) or the incredibly boring text laden one handed out by the local synagogue- complete with drawings of stick figures.
But since then, there have been some beautifully illustrated versions created by both well-known artists like Russian Constructivist El Lissitzky and Leonard Baskin as well as lesser known contemporary artists like Rabbi Matthew L. Berkowitz and papercut artist Archie Granot.
Here are some images from various modern art Haggadot for you (many of which are courtesy of Yale University’s Library and Judaica Collection). Images such as The Seder table, The Four Sons, The Red Sea, the Plagues, Manna From Heaven, Had Gadya, The Exodus, burning bushes, lambs blood, Pharaohs and more are diversely illustrated by these respected artists. Take a look – jewish or not, if you like art, you’ll most likely will appreciate these.
Modern Art Haggadahs:
Yaakov Agam created illustrations for the Haggadah that can be described as geometric abstractions. Though Agam was raised in a strictly observant home by a father who was a rabbi and a mystic, Agam’s art for his Hagadah is light and playful. Using vibrant colors, stick letters, and geometric shapes, he continues the great tradition of Haggadah illustration while adding a flare that is uniquely his own.
Illustrations and calligraphy: Yaakov Agam (1928- ) Jerusalem: Gefen Publishing House, 1993
Images copyright © Yaakov Agam.
Most probably it was Baskin’s early Jewish upbringing and education and his concern with social causes that attracted him to illustrating the Haggadah. Much like Ben Shahn, he worked in water colors and did his own calligraphy. Indeed art and text in Baskin’s Haggadah illustrations become inseparable.
A Passover Haggadah. The New Union Haggadah. Edited by Herbert Bronstein; drawings by Leonard Baskin. New York: Central Conference of American Rabbis . Images copyright © Central Conference of American Rabbis.
Passover Landscapes; Illuminations on the Exodus. Portfolio of 27 signed and numbered giclee prints, Haggadah and Book of Commentary by Matthew L. Berkowitz. Jerusalem: Nirtzah Editions, 2006.
Berkowitz is a rabbi whose current position is that of Senior Rabbinic Fellow in the Florida Regional Office of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Landscapes according to Berkowitz “convey the soul of the Passover experience.” It is “an expanse of scenery that can be seen in a single view. The seder imparts the breadth of Jewish experience, treating us to a panoramic view of Judaism through text and interpretation.” Of his work, Berkowitz writes, “I hope to challenge the ennui often experienced around the seder table and to recapture a spirit of creativity and spontaneity.” In addition to the images, the calligraphy is also by the artist.
Images copyright © Matthew Berkowitz.
What is Had Gadya (An Only Kid)?
Had Gadya is a folk song in Aramaic which concludes the Passover Haggadah. It is a relatively late addition to the Ashkenazi (Central European) Haggadah text and does not appear in the medieval editions. Much beloved by both young and old, it is about a goat purchased by father for two zuzim (coins). It is a playful, cumulative song which has, however, dark undertones.
The brothers Menachem and Uriel Birnbaum created imaginative and expressionistic books in post-World War I Germany and Austria. Both were artists and writers and they often collaborated on the books they produced. The illustrations that Menachem Birnbaum created for his edition of the Had Gadya reflect the trauma and pessimism of the post-war period in Germany and seem to foreshadow the horrors that were still to come. A portraitist and graphic artist, he worked as an art editor for Jewish journals and after World War I became the art director of two Jewish publishing houses. Compare Birnbaum’s interpretation to that of Lissitzky, whose Had Gadya illustrations are also in this exhibit, published in the same year. Both reflect on the cataclysmic events of their age but while Lissitzky seems to see a more hopeful future, Birnbaum sees only devastation.
5. Rose Ann Chasman’s Miniature Had Gadya, 1992
This delightful artistic rendition of the Had Gadya is in accordian format and is cut and collaged. It is hand written and cut and may be a unique piece. Image copyright © Chasman Family.
Kalderon, an Israeli artist trained at the Bezalel School of Art in Jerusaelem, says this about his Haggadah illustrations “I have always loved the beauty of old Passover Haggadahs. They were splendid expressions of art, commissioned by wealthy families to beautify their Passover tables and as a legacy for generations to come. Now it was my turn to bring a new perspective to an old story. It was time for an innovative, unusual and beautiful Haggadah, to be treasured as a work of art, in the present and for generations to come. I used popular icons from ancient and universal mythology, all designed and decorated in my color scale and personal style. The extended format of the book was chosen to glorify the story of the Exodus.” Images copyright © Asher Kalderon.
Fritz Kredel’s Haggadah was printed in two colors on Zerkall Bütten paper including 12 handcolored illustration pages by the artist. It also contains pages with musical notes. Though primarily in German, key passages also contain Hebrew and the text that appears in the illustrations is exclusively in Hebrew. The Haggadah represents a landmark in German-Jewish bookmaking in Weimar Germany.
Offenbacher Haggadah, 1927. Illustrations by Fritz Kredel (1900-1973). Offenbach am Maine: the printing house of Doctor Guggenheim. Printed in a limited edition of 300 copies.
One of the great artists of the Russian Avant Garde of post-revolutionary Russia, Lissitzky studied together with Marc Chagall in the city of Vitebsk, Russia, with the Suprematist artist Kazimir Malevich. Lissitzky was interested in Jewish folk art and his illustrations for the Had Gadya reflect this interest. All the images depict the world of the small East European villages where the vast majority of Jews lived in the beginning of the 20th century. In Lissitzky’s artistic interpretation, the poem becomes an elegy for that world that had been decimated by war and revolution. The verses that surround each image are in Yiddish, the language of East European Jewry. Violence is the over-riding theme of the song and of the artist’s illustrations. The only hopeful image is that of the defeat of the Angel of Death by the divine hand. The fallen angel has a crown on its head and some take that to represent the recently deposed and executed Czar.
Illustrations and calligraphy by El (Eliezer) Lissitzky (1890-1941). Kiev, Tsentraler Bikher Lager, Kultur Lige, 1919.
Mikhail Magaril has chosen the image of the arrival of the Messiah riding on his white donkey to illustrate the concluding stanza of the song. This is a stock image that appears in Christian iconography as well. Artists usually place it with the passage in the Hagadah that begins with: “Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not know You” or with the ending statement of the seder “Next year in Jerusalem.” Mikhail Magaril, however, has chosen to set his minimalist interpretation of this iconic image at the end of the Had Gadya. He thus reverses the nihilism inherent in the song, which is about death and destruction, and ends it on a note of hope for a better world to come. Monoprints by Mikhail Magaril. NewYork: Kuboaa Press, 1998.
Printed in an edition of 18 by Russell Maret. The text type is Centaur, designed by Bruce Rogers, printed on Rives de Lin paper. Images copyright © Mikhail Magaril.
In his introduction to his Haggadah, Victor Majzner discusses his connection to the text and to his adopted home, Australia. “Images from the Haggadah haunted my imagination. and finally I decided to produce my own interpretation of a complete contemporary Haggadah. It took four years to complete all the paintings and I feel that their implications will affect my work for the rest of my life.” “Australia has been my adopted home for over thirty years and it has become a place with which I relate intimately. Its landscape, scale, light and history have been major themes in my work and continue to inspire me.”
The Australian Haggadah Illustrations by Victor Majzner; calligraphic illustrations by Andrew Majzner, text calligraphy by Zelman Snir. Melbourne, Australia, 1992. Images copyright © Victor Majzner.
The Exodus Haggadah. Illustrations by Tamar Messer. Haifa, Israel: Gallery/Studio Tamar Messer, 2004. This number is 15 of a limited edition of 130 copies. Messer is an Israeli artist based in Haifa. She adopts a naïve style in her illustrations and her color palate is influenced by the bright and vivid light of the Israeli landscape. Images copyright © Tamar Messer.
Moretti’s abstract art blends Modernism and Jewish Mysticism. The explosive energy of his art is barely contained by the limits of the page. Moretti’s illustrations do not necessarily appear in relation to a specific section of the Haggadah text but rather make dramatic statements concerning the Exodus story often using letters from the Hebrew alphabet as elements in their most abstract form.
Haggadah de la Cinquième coupe (The Haggadah of the 5th Cup). Illustrated by Raymond Moretti (1931-2005), original calligraphy by Asher Amar. [Paris?]: Editions Armand & Georges Israel, 1980. Text in Hebrew with French translation.
From Moriah’s Introduction to his Haggadah:
“As models for the figures, I turned to the Egyptian and Assyrian wall paintings and reliefs and the small human and animal figurines of the early Bronze and Iron Ages – the time when the Israelites settled in the Land of Israel. For colors, I looked to the blues, oranges and golds of the eternal Middle East landscape.”
“There are several recurring images throughout the Haggadah: the image of freedom, the image of family around the seder table, and the Hand of God carrying the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. The roundel motif is used frequently in the Haggadah to represent the circular repetition of Jewish history and life.”
Illuminator, Avner Moriah; calligrapher, Izzy Pludwinski; commentary, Shlomo Fox and Avner Moriah.Limited ed. of 360 copies, bound in leather, issued in cloth case. Jerusalem: Fine Art Prints, 2003. Images copyright © Avner Moriah.
The Moss Haggadah represents one of the great achievements of Haggadah illustration in modern times. In his art and calligraphy, Moss takes inspiration from the artistic traditions of the past while creating new traditions of his own. In his introduction, Moss says “My innovations are apparent in my graphic treatment which is often radically different in both style and content from traditional Haggadah illustrations. Generally speaking, I have not pictured the literal meaning of the texts, but have tried instead to discover new connections and insights into the complex meanings of the Haggadah. In this I based myself on the midrashic process–so apparent in the Haggadah itself–by which the rabbis juxtaposed disparate, sacred texts to produce fresh insights into the tradition.”
Images copyright © 2009 by David Moss, courtesy of Bet Alpha Editions, Berkeley.
Ben Shahn executed many of his Haggadah illustrations, circa 1930. Three decades later his watercolor drawings were incorporated into a printed Haggadah. It contains a frontispiece, illuminated title-page, 12 illuminated manuscript pages of the text and 10 drawings for the Had Gadya (An Only Kid). He says of the text that “it reflects my memories of the Passover in my father’s house. It reflects my early impressions and feelings; the images that were always invoked in my fancy by the majestic and meaningful ritual.”
Haggadah for Passover copied and illustrated by Ben Shahn with a translation , introduction and historical notes by Cecil Roth. Boston: Little Brown and Co., Paris: Trianon Press, 1965.
Illustrations by Eliyahu Sidi. Jerusalem, 2007. Produced in a signed and limited edition of 100 copies in the workshop of The Jerusalem Fine Arts Prints under the supervision of David Moss and Yair Medinah. Images copyright © Eliyahu Sidi.
The Haggadah executed by Arthur Szyk; edited by Cecil Roth. London: Beaconsfield Press, 1939. Printed on vellum. This is number 89 of a limited edition of 125 numbered copies. All are signed by the artist and the editor. Images copyright © Historiana, Burlingame, CA.
Special thanks to Nanette Stahl, Curator of the Yale University Library Judaica Collection for the above images and text. All contents copyright © 2009, Yale University Library. All rights reserved.
If you desire, you can browse through the complete Yale University’s online Haggadah Exhibit where you can see various versions from ancient manuscripts with biblical art to modern art Haggadahs. You can even listen to their audio podcasts about the Passover Haggadah here.
Other modern Haggadot worth mentioning
This beautiful Haggadah, containing the Passover story of the miraculous escape of the Jews from Egypt is presented in the form of a breathtaking piece of Judaica art, created by the gifted artist Archie Granot. To make this masterpiece, he has employed the age old Jewish art tradition of papercutting – a process in which every letter and design incorporated into the Haggadah is meticulously hand cut from paper. It took ten years to craft this magnificent fifty five page Haggadah.
Each extravagant page of the Haggadah features Archie Granot’s signature style, which incorporates modern geometric design and brilliant color combinations while still maintaining the refined beauty of ancient Hebrew calligraphy. In order to create this effect, the multi-layered Haggadah pages are often up to an inch thick and can weigh as much as five pounds.
See more of Archie’s beautiful Jewish papercuts here.
Places you can purchase a paperback version of Garouste’s Haggadah by clicking on the above amazon link. Or shop for all types of Haggadot at Amazon#20. the Digital Haggadah
And for the online generation, there’s the Digital Haggadah where you can hear it read aloud online or download the whole file.
New since this post:
The beautiful New American Haggadah with typography design by Oded Ezer
A look at the recently completed Loft Hamburg residence as well as the earlier Loft Gleimstrasse in Berlin, both designed by GRAFT of Germany. Read more
The Mooncup, a reinvention of a centuries old concept by entrepreneur Su Hardy, is a smart eco-friendly alternative to tampons. Made from medical grade silicone, without bleaches, dyes or pesticides, the reusable menstrual cup leaves no fibers behind like other sanitary products.
The first sanitary protection manufacturer in the world to be awarded Ethical Business status, Mooncup Ltd. is guided by people and environmentally-friendly business practices.
But what is equally as smart as the product design is the advertising poster campaign and website promoting the Mooncup, created by St. Lukes in conjunction with the company.
Posters with euphemisms for lady bits began appearing around the London Underground signed off with a url that read loveyourvagina.com.
above photo courtesy of Uplift Magazine
Equally blind and compelling, the posters lead you to a website where you can not only get information about the Mooncup, but as is smart engaging behavior these days, invites the audience to add their own vaginal moniker to the many other hilarious ones posted by others.
Above are just a few of the submitted nicknames from their site. You’ve got your expected ones — coochie, va jay jay, beaver, muff, etc. and some very unexpected ones. Some that may make you cringe and some that will make you crack up… my personal favorite being “The Downtown Entertainment and Dining District.” You can visit loveyourvagina.com and add your own nickname.
Kath Clements, Campaign Manager for Mooncup, says: “We hope the ads will get women thinking, smiling and talking about their vaginas. We’re up for women feeling good on the inside too!”
Clearly, this humorous approach is getting some serious attention. With lots of blogs, women’s sites and magazines, such as Marie Claire, writing about the campaign… the relatively unknown product is reaching larger audience than it otherwise would have. Mooncup Ltd also has a facebook fan page and a twitter account, intelligently using social media to further promote the product.
Her oil paintings combine children and animals in intimate moments of play and leisure. With an illustrative and narrative quality, her works are simultaneously comforting and intriguing. Despite the childlike subject matter, Roslowich exhibits a more sophisticated and mature painting style. Aesthetically pleasing and emotionally accessible to both children and adults, the pieces will undoubtedly appeal to many.
in the artist’s own words:
“My body of work has come from the darker side of a childhood; flipped into peculiar and fun times with the imaginary protection of an animal around. Fearful moments made brighter where Animals share an understanding of mindfulness, care, and secrets. These paintings of child moments are mixed and matched along with current ongoing stories, playfully using Animals to express emotions often hidden by humans.
As a child with a marine biologist studying mother, employed as a zookeeper, most often visiting was “weekends at work”. I became fascinated early on as a constant observer of animal behavior, pockets full of doodles of zoo things, and playfully imagining these animals as my chit chat friends. With childish imagination, I spent much of my younger years pretending these animals would protect me in darker moments and could understand parts of my mind and heart. As a painter I have placed these moments into a lighter version of silly and playful quiet paintings.
With constant efforts to rescue, save, and have people be more aware how the human population mistreats abuses and overall undermines animals habitats and basic feelings. Haneously (sic) degrades them from things like shark fin soup massacres, to dog meat in Vietnam, rhinos who die for merely their horns, to tiger rugs in china, animals lose their freedom, suffer in immense unnecessary pain and die for criminal monetary gain every minute.”
In House Hurricane:
By Your Side:
Jump (left) and Quiet Chatterbox (right):
Get Your Armor On:
Lunch Box Walk:
Hespe Gallery is showing “Comfort and Play”, an exhibition of oil paintings by Amberlee Rosolowich, from March 4th, 2010 through March 30, 2010
The following text is from Hespe gallery:
Amberlee Rosolowich hopes to bring an air of lightheartedness to her works, which explore the relationships that she herself had with animals as a child. Her paintings depict animals that one would see in an enclosure at the zoo alongside small children, who seem both fascinated and unbothered by the creatures’ presence.
The animals appear to have a guardian-like relationship with the children, watching over them so that each child is free to play without worry. This relationship can be clearly seen in a work such as “Kruger Comforts,” which portrays a rhinoceros standing guard over a young boy who is reading on the ground. The sheer mass of the rhino provides the boy with safety and refuge, yet the rhino appears to be dozing or daydreaming, acting as both a safeguard and a fantasy for the boy. Pieces like this reflect Rosolowich’s own childhood desires and memories, but also enable the viewer to tap into his or her own imagination and enjoy the whimsy of the work.
Rosolowich’s visible skill and technique also end up becoming equally important characters in her work. Her light, quick brushstrokes give both the figures and the space around them so much movement while still producing a sense of calm; her tactful use of negative space provides the viewer with an instant entry into a world where danger cannot enter and innocence is ever-present; and her carefully-placed splashes of color add to the overall playful feeling she generates with these pieces.
Although her works are inspired by a turbulent childhood, Rosolowich succeeds in creating a space where one can forget the perils of the outside world and return back to a time of youthful eagerness and curiosity. Amberlee Rosolowich received her BFA in Painting from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 2009. She has been featured in S.F. Weekly and California Home and Design. This is her first solo exhibition.
Some of the shown pieces are already sold. To inquire about any of these pieces please contact: