Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Chossid + Fender

March 6, 2011 1:34 pm 3 comments

There is old school Jewish art; we all know what that looks like – an old man bent over fixing a shoe, or a dark shtetle landscape.

Then there is the new Jewish art; a wave of mostly young artists who grew up in the new world only understanding the shtetle from stories, and want to interact with Jewish art on their terms.

'Waiting for the Sun' by Dan Weinstein.

One such artist is Dan Weinstein.

A NJ native and son of an artist, Dan attended a Yeshiva where they neither encouraged nor discouraged his use of art. Growing up, art was a personal experience, without a relationship to the Jewish values surrounding him.

It was only after a trip to Israel to visit his brother, a fervent Breslov chossid, that Dan was exposed to how art can convey the joy and beauty of Judaism.

“Judaism can always be seen in two ways” Dan explains recounting a story of a man approaching two Jews, “What’s up with this Shabbat thing?” the man asks.

The first man answers and begins to share a list of all the ‘DO NOTS’ he can think of.

The second man quickly pipes up and says “You have it all wrong, Shabbat is the best day of the week, we get to unplug, to relax and spend time with our loved ones and focus on meaning…”

Dan says “there are two perspectives to look at Judaism and I choose to focus on the joy, the energy- the positive energy”.

And he sure does. Dan’s work (digital media) is filled with Rabbis with surfboards, dancing/flying Chassids, and more color than you are likely to have seen in the average Jewish home.

Dan’s work depicts traditionally fervent Rabbis in sunglasses sporting anything from a fender to a surfboard to drums- all high on life, often floating through the air with a Torah.

Far from seeing Judaism/ Torah as limiting as a subject matter it has actually guided Dan to focus on his message. Before his big trip to Israel he was adrift without a focus for his art. Now Dan sees his work as an opportunity to share his joy of Judaism with those who don’t feel that way or who were never exposed to the other side of the stereotype.

He is not trying to be sensational in his work, but some people within the orthodox community are simply oblivious to the message and impact he hopes to share with his art. Dan is trying to enrich the dialogue and generally he is successful, even in his hometown of Monsey, NY, a mostly fervent orthodox community.

“Step one is for them to appreciate it, and for the most part they do” says Dan. The next step is for people to buy the art, which was more common when the economy was good.

Judaism is rich with meaning and spirituality. Good Jewish art has the power to do so much more than just be visually appealing, it has the capacity to engage the viewer and convey a deep spiritual message. And that is exactly what Dan attempts to do.

To quote Dan in the caption of the accompanying image ‘Waiting for the Sun’

They sleep, We play. They slumber, We pray. Wake up the dawn! Furry is the night. Glory is the morn. Instead of snoring can you hum me a bar? 3..2..1 …. nicotine…..caffeine……….MODEH ANI.

What is Jewish art according to Dan?

“Art with Spirituality, Art with Soul, a Higher Purpose, and a Myriad of Meanings.”

“Jewish Art, like Judaism, is about new beginnings, endless possibilities and True Joy- all within reach when you feel connected to G-d.”

“My Jewish art is about “stripping away” layers of the mundane and getting to the truth, which exists in a different reality. I strive to use Judaism as a vehicle to find an altered and more beautiful state of reality and translate that onto canvas.”

“What is Jewish Art? A canvas that has the power to open doors for people.”

3 Comments

  • The People's Champ

    Dan’s Art is the Epitome of what it means to be a Jew. You have a set of rules now take those rules and find meaning by piercing to the center of you’re soul. It’s not just a book of do’s and dont’s. You need to find the meaning. Dan’s art is that journey and that soul piercing. Great stuff.

  • Marc Michael Epstein

    What Weinstein is doing is nothing less than a revolution. It’s heimische and trippy at the same time. Who could ask for anything more? Well, certainly a soupcon of technical skill. And behold— Dan has that as well. His colors, juxtapositions, sense of line and graphic acuity put this on a par with the really wonderful psychedelic artists of the Sixties and early Seventies, updated for a new era! Hope to see more from this wonderful artist.

  • Dovid Nochum Gordon

    right on brother! awesome!

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Music US & Canada Musician Carlos Santana Maintains Upcoming Israel Concert With ‘Open Heart’ Despite Pressure From BDS Activists (VIDEO)

    Musician Carlos Santana Maintains Upcoming Israel Concert With ‘Open Heart’ Despite Pressure From BDS Activists (VIDEO)

    After supporters of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement failed to pressure rock superstar Carlos Santana into cancelling his upcoming concert in Tel Aivv, the guitarist said in a video message on Thursday that he is excited to return to Israel and promote a “musical message of peace, love and an end to conflict.” “The band and I will bring our open hearts and musical energy that will resonate with your soul long after the last song has been […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Music Coldplay Begins Concert With Broadcast of Charlie Chaplin’s Iconic Speech in ‘The Great Dictator’

    Coldplay Begins Concert With Broadcast of Charlie Chaplin’s Iconic Speech in ‘The Great Dictator’

    British rock band Coldplay started its set at the Glastonburg Festival on Sunday by broadcasting excerpts of the iconic speech Charlie Chaplin delivered in The Great Dictator, the 1940 political satire in which the famous filmmaker/movie star played a Jewish barber. “I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone,” Chaplin begins his address. “I should like to help everyone, if possible, Jew, Gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Two Decades Before Cleveland’s First NBA Title, LeBron James Walked Onto a JCC Court

    Two Decades Before Cleveland’s First NBA Title, LeBron James Walked Onto a JCC Court

    JNS.org – The seed for the city of Cleveland’s first professional championship in a major sport in 52 years may have been planted at the Shaw Jewish Community Center on White Pond Drive in Akron, Ohio, nearly 20 years ago. That’s when a tall, lanky kid from Akron named LeBron James walked onto the hardwood court and changed the game of basketball forever. Coach Keith Dambrot, now the head basketball coach at the University of Akron, conducted those sessions that attracted […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs North American Studios Look to Israel for Next Animation Hit

    North American Studios Look to Israel for Next Animation Hit

    JNS.org – In 2008, Yoram Honig was a producer and director living in Jerusalem, fresh off his first international hit, when the Jerusalem Development Authority (JDA) came to him with a challenge: build a film industry from scratch in Israel’s capital. “When we started here, was nothing in Jerusalem,” he said during an interview in his office in the Talbiya neighborhood. Now, the Jerusalem Film and Television Fund, which Honig heads as an arm of the JDA, pumps 9 million shekels […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas to Wear Leotard With Hebrew Letters in National Competition

    Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas to Wear Leotard With Hebrew Letters in National Competition

    Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas will wear a leotard bearing Hebrew lettering when she competes at the P&G Gymnastics Championships over the weekend. Douglas’ Swarovski-outlined outfit will feature the Hebrew word “Elohim,” meaning God, on its left sleeve. The Hebrew detailing honors the athlete’s “rich heritage of faith,” according to apparel manufacturer GK Elite, which produced the leotard and released a preview of it on Wednesday. The company said Douglas’ sister, Joyelle “Joy” Douglas, created the Hebrew design. The outcome of the P&G Championships will help […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports British World Heavyweight Champion Should Be Banned From Boxing for Sounding Like Hitler, Says Ukrainian Competitor

    British World Heavyweight Champion Should Be Banned From Boxing for Sounding Like Hitler, Says Ukrainian Competitor

    Britain’s world heavyweight champion, Taylor Fury, should be banned from boxing for making Nazi-like comments, a former world champion from the Ukraine said on Thursday, ahead of their upcoming match. “I was in shock at his statements about women, the gay community, and when he got to the Jewish people, he sounded like Hitler,” Wladimir Klitschko told British media, according to Reuters. “We cannot have a champion like that. Either he needs to be shut up or shut down in the ring, or […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Rabbi Shows Cooking Skills and Humor on Chopped

    Rabbi Shows Cooking Skills and Humor on Chopped

    Rabbi Hanoch Hecht just made television history; but, unfortunately, he couldn’t have his rugelach and eat it too. Hecht became the first rabbi to compete on the hit show “Chopped,” where contestants are forced to use four random ingredients in their recipes, and have 20-30 minutes to create an appetizer, a main course and a dessert. A contestant is eliminated after each round. Hecht, 32, said that while the dishes and utensils were new, the kitchen was not kosher, so he couldn’t taste […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Orthodox Entertainer Stars in Pepsi Max Commercial as New Face of Company’s Israel Campaign (VIDEO)

    Orthodox Entertainer Stars in Pepsi Max Commercial as New Face of Company’s Israel Campaign (VIDEO)

    Orthodox singer and entertainer Lipa Schmeltzer is starring in a new Pepsi Max commercial for the company’s campaign in Israel. The commercial begins with a bunch of Jewish men eating at a restaurant, when Schmeltzer walks in and tries to decide what to order. An employee at the obviously Israeli eatery offers him a variety of foods, but the entertainer in the end decides on a bottle of Pepsi. Everyone in the restaurant then joins him, drinking Pepsi Max and dancing to […]

    Read more →