Carmela Ciuraru


Out of the Shadow of Pollock, Lee Krasner Defies the World

By Carmela Ciuraru

Out of the Shadow of Pollock, Lee Krasner Defies the World
In 1956, the artist Jackson Pollock was killed in a car crash in Springs, on the South Fork of Long Island. He was 44 years old and drunk when he drove his Oldsmobile convertible into a tree one fateful August night. He died less than a mile from his home; his mistress, who had been in the car with him, survived the accident.Read More


The Greening of Art

By Carmela Ciuraru

The Greening of Art
Global warming, energy shortages, the fragility of the natural world — these issues are no longer relegated to the fringes of culture. Jewish “eco-artists,” as they are called, have increasingly stepped into activist roles to provoke people’s thinking about the environment.Read More


Ron Arad’s Inventive Life Now on Display

By Carmela Ciuraru

Ron Arad’s Inventive Life Now on Display
Looking through a scrap yard in 1981, Israeli designer Ron Arad found two discarded red-leather seats from a British car, the Rover V8 2L. Back in his studio, he took them apart and anchored each one in tubular steel frames using cast iron “Kee Klamps,” a scaffolding system dating to the 1930s used for cow-milking stalls.Read More


The (Messy) Writing on the Wall

By Carmela Ciuraru

The (Messy) Writing on the Wall
Two current shows at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art are a study in contrasts. The retrospective Tangled Alphabets: León Ferrari and Mira Schendel shares the sixth floor, but little else, with Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective. Whereas the late German artist’s work (and life) was an ode to excess — he died in 1997, of liver cancer — the work of Ferrari and Schendel is decidedly more humble. Kippenberger was the P.T. Barnum of the art world, a Whitman-esque figure given to celebrating his own grand multitudes; like Damien Hirst, Kippenberger was known and dismissed for his massive ego and his brawny, uneven output. But where the hard-drinking German artist intended by all means to dazzle and delight, Ferrari and Schendel provoke quiet scrutiny.Read More


Slippery Cabaret Art

By Carmela Ciuraru

Slippery Cabaret Art
The quirky New York City venue for Israeli-born artist Ofri Cnaani’s current solo show, “A Tale of Ends,” is apt. Le Poisson Rouge, a dimly lit bar, nightclub and gallery in the downtown space once occupied by the venerable Village Gate, bills itself as “serving art and alcohol.” It announces its off-kilter sensibility just inside the entrance, where a 5-foot-long tank, filled with fish swimming about, hangs askew from the ceiling, suspended by metal chains. Poisson Rogue is a place to consume (booze, food) and be consumed (by art and music), and this sense of devouring and being devoured also runs through Cnaani’s work.Read More






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    • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
    • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
    • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
    • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
    • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
    • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
    • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
    • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
    • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
    • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
    • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
    • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
    • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
    • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
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