Visu­al Arts

Meet­ing Place

Anat Prop­per Goldenberg

  • Review
By – March 29, 2021

In the tra­di­tion of the poet William Blake, who with his wife, Cather­ine, cre­at­ed illus­trat­ed bound texts, Anat Prop­per Gold­en­berg has pub­lished Meet­ing Place, which com­bines art repro­duc­tions on spe­cial paper with bilin­gual texts in a beau­ti­ful small vol­ume. The artist invit­ed ten writ­ers —five female and five male — whose work she con­sid­ers close to my heart” to her stu­dio to choose one of her art­works in order to write about it.

Prop­per Gold­en­berg is a social-eco­log­i­cal activist”, an Eco­log­i­cal-Art pio­neer who pro­motes and devel­ops pro­grams on envi­ron­men­tal aware­ness through art and the­ater. Her paint­ings are styl­is­ti­cal­ly very dif­fer­ent from one anoth­er. The poems and prose works relat­ing to them dif­fer accordingly.

One exam­ple is Meet­ing Point,” a short poem by Mau­rits Polak, which cap­tures the moment in time and space that Gold­en­berg had envi­sioned: Meet­ing point/​On the bar­ri­ers of wisdom/​On the edge of time to exchange/​Greet­ing point/​In the areas/​Of flow­er­ing skills/​On the verge of thoughts to rearrange.”

Anoth­er entry, a vignette by Ari Lib­sker, Coca Cola,” recounts a bizarre encounter in which the writer, on a busi­ness trip to Ghana, refus­es sex­u­al favors from a six­teen year-old Ghana­iana­ian who offers her­self in exchange for the cans of soda that she wants. The paint­ing relat­ing to it is a three-part fold-out filled with African fig­ures and the words Al Tishchaku Oti” (Don’t for­get me).

Yet this book is greater than the sum of its parts. The beau­ti­ful­ly repro­duced art on fine glossy paper fold-outs, the paper cuts sep­a­rat­ing the writ­ers’ con­tri­bu­tions, the embossed cov­er, and gilt leaf mar­gins make this vol­ume a sen­su­al­ly pleas­ing phys­i­cal object. Nei­ther the art nor the lit­er­ary works in Meet­ing Place ref­er­ence any Jew­ish con­nec­tion so one must be con­tent with ascrib­ing to it an eth­nic Israeli /​Hebrew voice.

Esther Nuss­baum, the head librar­i­an of Ramaz Upper School for 30 years, is now edu­ca­tion and spe­cial projects coor­di­na­tor of the Halachic Organ Donor Soci­ety. A past edi­tor of Jew­ish Book World, she con­tin­ues to review for this and oth­er publications.

Discussion Questions