Jewish Dimensions in Modern Visual Culture
Antisemitism, Assimilation, Affirmation
Editors: Rose-Carol Washton Long, Matthew Baigell and Milly Hey
In modern western history, the cultural and social developments of modernism have long been associated with Jews. For conservative groups this has been a negative association: the perceived breakdown of traditional norms was blamed on Jewish influence in politics, society and the arts. Throughout Europe, Jews were viewed as carriers of industrialized and cosmopolitan developments that threatened to undermine a cherished way of life. This anthology speaks to this issue through the lens of modernist visual production including paintings, posters, sculpture and architecture. Essays by scholars from the U.S. and Israel confront the contradictory impulses that modernism’s interaction with Jewish culture provoked. Discussing how religion, class, race and political alignments were used to provide attacks on modern art, the scholars also comment on visual responses to antisemitism and the mainstream success of artists in the U.S. and Israel since World War II.