Vision­ary Expres­sion­ism: A Zion­ist Art

Alan Kauf­man; Pol­ly Zavadi­vk­er, ed. and fwd.
  • Review
By – January 16, 2012

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.

Arlene B. Soifer earned degrees in Eng­lish, and has had many years of expe­ri­ence as a free­lance writer, edi­tor, and pub­lic rela­tions professional.

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