Internationally celebrated artist and Jewish scholar Archie Rand brings a unique blend of expressionistic comic book style and loosely painting imagery rendered in loud, colorful tones to familiar stories from the Hebrew Bible. These visually stunning and thoughtful works are at the same time irreverent and serious, adding fresh perspectives to narratives that have shaped Western civilization. Archie Rand: Sixty Paintings from the Bible opens with a reception at the Skirball Museum on the historic Cincinnati campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion on Tuesday, February 18 at 5:30 pm. Archie Rand will deliver a slide talk and remarks at 6:15 pm.
Presidential Professor of Art at Brooklyn College, Guggenheim Fellow, and recipient of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture’s Achievement Medal, Rand has been one of the major progenitors of Jewish subject matter for the past four decades and is widely recognized as the most innovative and prolific painter on Jewish themes today. He has had over 100 solo exhibitions and his work has been included in more than 200 group exhibitions. Rand’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, among others.
Sixty Paintings from the Bible is one of Rand’s most extensive Jewish-themed series and the first on a Jewish topic to adopt a comic-book style. It has only been exhibited twice before in its entirety since 1992, the year of its completion. In 2016, Rand described the canvases in the series as “old friends of mine and they tip the balance in my art.” He went on to remark that “there’s nothing irreligious about these pictures. I mean, it’s exactly what’s going on, but they’re painted in such a way that they become available.”
In conceiving this series, Rand turned to two disparate sources: the language of comic books replete with speech bubbles and prints by the somewhat forgotten seventeenth-century Swiss-born engraver Matthäus Merian. According to exhibition curator Samantha Baskind, Ph.D., Professor of Art History at Cleveland State University, “Sixty Paintings from the Bible stands as an experiment in style, color, word, and appropriation.
This exhibition marks the reopening of the Skirball Museum’s temporary exhibition space, which has been closed since September for renovation of lighting and displays. Archie Rand: Sixty Paintings from the Bible will be on view through June 28, 2020.