Disquietude rumbles often in the Bay Area. It escalated when an upscale art gallery closed an already-hung exhibition because of a subtitle in its catalog—Visionary Expressionism – A Zionist Art, which morphed into this book.
Alan Kaufman, the artist, creates finely-wrought, sensitive, and bleak paintings of Jews and Israel. Not for him the exuberance of Israeli existence. And, mixing politics and art, Kaufman postulates a Zionist Arts Movement — enabling Israelis to attain cultural heights they have failed to achieve. Zionism is “the means of understanding a Jew’s relation to other nations…society, even Judaism itself.” In brief articles, he and five fervent contributors alternately praise Zionism and spurt barbs at nonand anti-Zionists, usually American. Many contributors make comparisons of Kaufman’s art to works by world-famous American/European painters, recent and contemporary.
Half of the book illustrates paintings scheduled for this shuttered exhibition. (Within the textual material, the gallery owner admits he may have made a mistake.) In addition, there are some background photographs and Kaufman’s personal chronology. Illustrations, notes.