Brooklyn Artist Thinks Big

Published May 15, 2008, issue of May 23, 2008.
  • Print
  • Share Share

About six years ago, artist Archie Rand was musing on the question of the love of God.

GRAND GESTURE: Archie Rand’s work of art, ‘The 613,’ depicts all the commandments of the Torah.
GRAND GESTURE: Archie Rand’s work of art, ‘The 613,’ depicts all the commandments of the Torah.

“I’m sitting with a friend of mine and I said, you know, there’s something about the relentlessness of affection,” Rand said. “And I said, John Coltrane was very grateful to God, and said so. And then he made these enormous pieces that were tremendously influential.”

The conversation led Rand to begin his mammoth painting “The 613.” Created with vivid colors in a style similar to 1950s pulp novels and comics, it is made up of 613 individual canvases attached to a wall with pushpins. Rand, a professor of art at Brooklyn College, worked on the piece intermittently from 2001 through 2006.

“You know, basically the way I see God is that God is a receptacle for gratitude, otherwise you have no place to put it… Even if you’re not a religious or observant person, it’s a good thing to have in your back pocket.”

“I’m not an observant person,” Rand noted. “I just thought this was an interesting thing to do.”

“The 613” will be shown for one day only, May 18, in a warehouse in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.