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I am a figurative expressionist painter who uses direct observation, movie stills, comics, pulp magazine painting, Old Master references and journalistic photos to create new takes on History Painting and representational art.

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These works were recently on exhibition at BJAG in Brooklyn NY. The first painting is a portrait of my wife and I on our property in New jersey. A large sphinx, referring to art history and the weight of historical memory looms on my shoulder. The second work shows the biblical prophet Moses meeting the creature from the Black lagoon, 1954 in a work titled, " Id, Ego and Superego ". The ego figure in the middle may be a self -portrait in a work that refers to the theoretical structures of the minds as referred to the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud.

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2016- Tradition and Transformation: Three Millennia of Jewish Art and Architecture by Ori Z. Soltes, 630 pages, MaKoM Publications 2015. Essay on my painting and curated exhibition The Dura Europos Project”.

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Joel Silverstein is an artist, critic and teacher. He was born in Brooklyn, NY and now lives in New Jersey. He holds a BFA and MPS from Pratt Institute and a MFA from Brooklyn College. He has shown work at the Derfner Museum, the Van Leer Institute, The Mishkan Le'Omanut Museum, Pratt Hadas Gallery Rohr Center, Columbia University, the Clemente Center NY and BEKI in New Haven. He has written over 60 published articles and catalogue essays. The artist/ critic is a Founding and Executive Member of the Jewish Art Salon and has curated or advised on ten Salon exhibitions including Through Compassionate Eyes; Artist Call for Animal Rights at The Charter Oak Center, Hartford, Ct, Convivio; Jews, Hispanics and the Comics at Repair the World, NY, JOMIX- Jewish Comics, Art & Derivation and The Dura Europos Project at the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art and UJA, NY. He has exhibited internationally at The Jerusalem Biennial, 2015 and 2017 and Spinoza, Marrano of Reason, Amstelkirk, Amsterdam. Recently he presented at the national Conney Conference at the 92nd Street Y concerning the exhibition, Rand/McBee/Silverstein at Brooklyn Jewish Art Gallery, Brooklyn, NY.

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I paint in acrylic on board with collage and layer the paper as I adjust the image. The first work on the left is derived from from an old photo of a friend at the beach. The figure on the left is the metaluna Mutant from the movie" This island earth, 1955. The landscape is derived from a photo essay book on North Africa. The center work is a take on the Genesis myth . Here Frankenstein as portrayed by Christopher Lee in the Curse of Frankenstein, 1957, is flanked by "Frankenstein Created Woman", 1966, as the new Eve.The work on the right is an interpretation of Ivan Albright's The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1941 in front of an engraving by Gustave Dore. Works are carefully compiled through envisioning the image but populating it with a mixture of real and imagined figures occupying the same pictorial space. Other works show my knack for juxtaposition; for creating spaces where characters collide with time and space.

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THE TIMES OF ISRAEL. Essay by Richard McBEE AUG 21, 2017, 11:31 PM Photos of works: The Golem Maker, 2017 by Joel Silverstein 2Plagued Man The Plagued Man, 2017 by Joel Silverstein 3Bezalel, 2017 Bezalel by Joel Silverstein Abrazo Interno Gallery, The Clemente Center Monday – Sunday; 3:30 – 7pm 107 Suffolk Street NY, NY, 10002 Faces of Transformation: New Works by Joel Silverstein & Tine Kindermann Exhibition Closes August 30, 2017 Downtown has been livened up considerably by this double exhibition exploring the role of the human face to map history, personality and political resistance at the Clemente Center Abrazo Interno Gallery. Tine Kindermann’s ongoing project, We the People, started after the 2016 election, documents the beauty and diversity of the American people; immigrants, native Americans and slaves in a series of 25 large scale paintings derived from vintage photographs. The works are arranged on a three-tiered eight-foot high wall, an impressive visual confrontation with the humanity and diversity of the American past intensely relevant to our times. My Metaphysical Romance maps Joel Silverstein’s wrestling with his identity as a contemporary American Jewish artist. In the fifteen recent large acrylic works shown he examines the notion of himself as the ‘New Jewish Artist’ distilled in a mix of heady late 20th century American culture and 2000 years of Jewish thought. (Because I share many of these ideas in my own artwork as well as Jewish Art in general, I will dwell extensively on Silverstein’s work. Apologies to Tine Kindermann.) What is an artist…or more specifically what is a Jewish artist? Silverstein sees the Jewish artist as a maker of artificial life, much like the legendary Rabbi Lowe of Prague making the Golem and, later, Doctor Frankenstein! “The Golem Maker” (The Metaphor of Jewish Modernism) envisions a laboratory set in the Eldridge Street Synagogue in which “artificially making life through religious practice, mysticism or art.” The painting is bifurcated, Dr. Frankenstein and his monster on the right, the ‘Golem’ being created with the Alte Neue Shul of Prague resting on his chest. On the left the artist himself; garbed in a protective gas mask, stands above a model of the Second Temple, the paradoxical source of his cultural legitimacy. Can indeed the power of Jewish Art act to save the Jewish people from their enemies as Rabbi Lowe thought the Golem could? Of course the enemies of the Jews are at times no match for the enemies within the Jewish people themselves. “The Plagued Man” addresses the struggles of the contemporary secular Jew by presenting a portrait of a friend of the artist who was diagnosed with schizophrenia in his teens and committed suicide at 30. Seen here he is haunted by forces beyond his control, both social and painterly. This audacious painting introduces a radically new motif of red, yellow and green scribbles floating above the primary image. Looking carefully, the scribbles coalesce into images from the Amsterdam Haggadah. They act as floating memories, flashes of Jewish cultural insights and accusations delineating the subject’s distance with his own cultural past. Ask most educated Jews who the first Jewish artist was and the biblical Bezalel will be the answer. Silverstein passionately agrees and assigns him as “the titular head of a divinely inspired Jewish Art.” In Silverstein’s vision, “Bezalel,” he sits with the Second Temple at his feet, (almost a casual creation) while the model of the Golem and his modern reflection, the Hulk, hover over him. Silverstein opines that “Divinely inspired art is dangerous…and making art is inherently dangerous.” Significantly Bezalel the man is depicted as an ‘African native’ who reaches back to the historical ‘original man.’ Nonetheless, this Bezalel is readily recognizable as American black man, chewing on short cigar and clad in red and white knee high socks and sneakers ready for the basketball court. Silverstein is smashing all cultural stereotypes in making a transgressive artist hero ready to go out and change the world! To make art takes time, skill…but perhaps most of all…IDENITY! Alas, exactly who are you Jewish Artist? Silverstein’s “Black Hat, Blue Shirt” poses the question in stark terms. We see the artist seemingly frozen in the high beams of an oncoming vehicle. He is brandishing his Superman undershirt (representing the heroic Jewish spirit embodied in superhero comics) while crowned by the archetypical Black Hat of Orthodox Judaism that proclaims his Jewish cultural and religious history! In the background of spare foliage, Comic Heroes and Heroines are the cultural evidence of 20th century pulp culture. Silverstein’s exploration of Jewish-American identity was inspired by a Brighton Beach incident. Once the young Silverman was wearing a Superman T shirt on the beach. He was taunted by a non-Jewish family who yelled, “Look, there’s Superman Jew!” The epithet stuck and became his badge of honor. Let them laugh now as he proudly makes art with this very Super Jewish identity. Joel Silverstein’s exhibition, My Metaphysical Romance, is remarkable in many aspects. First of all he does not flinch from using explicit Biblical and Jewish historical metaphors to confront contemporary issues of identity. Secondly the very role of the artist in Jewish history as well as contemporary practice is lauded in extraordinary terms. And finally his heroic use of superhero motifs to express his affirmation of 20th century Jewish cultural production casts the Comic Book universe in an entirely new light. Perhaps indeed Jewish Art can change our perception of the world.


ARTIST: SELECTED ONE AND TWO PERSON EXHIBITIONS 2018- The Hebrew Bible; Real & Imagined. Beth El Keser Israel, (BEKI) New Haven Ct. 2017-Faces of Transformation; New Works by Joel Silverstein & Tine Kindermann. Abrazo Interno Gallery, The Clemente Center NY 2014- JO-EL/JORE-EL; Superheroes, Autobiography and Religion. Pratt Institute, Rohr Center, Hadas Gallery Bklyn, NY 2012- Fractured Epics; History Paintings and Imaginary Portraits. The Kraft Center, Columbia/Barnard University Center for Jewish Student Life, NY, NY. 1999 – Partners; 55 Mercer Gallery, NY, NY 1996 - Locus of Memory, the Painting Center, NY, NY 1994 - Recent Works, Teatro Tiempo Gallery 1992 – Unstill Life, Westbeth Gallery I, NY, NY 1991 -Recent Work, Tower Gallery Porchester, NY 1987 - Central Academy of Art and Design – Beijing, China ARTIST: SELECTED GROUP SHOWS AND RESIDENCIES 2019- Rand/McBee/Silverstein, Modern Jewish narratives. Brooklyn Jewish Art Gallery, NY The Stanton 11, curated by David Wander. Stanton Street Gallery, NY Spinoza, Marrano of Reason, curated by Janet Heit and Billha Zussman. Amstelkirk, Amsterdam, Holland On the Consequences of Hate Speech, Curated by Nancy Current, Robin Atlas and Rachel Kanter. Manny Cantor Center, Education the Educational Alliance Building, NY Convivio; Jews, Hispanics and the Comics, curated by Joel Silverstein, Ray Felix and Goldie Gross, Julian Voloj, Repair the World, Brooklyn NY TCE, Through Compassionate Eyes; Artist Call for Animal Rights. Curated by Julie Seidman, Joel Silverstein and Aimee Rubinsteen. Charter Oak Cultural center, Hartford Ct. POW!!! Jewish Comic Art and Influence at Jewish Comic Con, Brooklyn Jewish Art Gallery, Bklyn, NY. Freedom, an Artistic Interpretation, curated by Sheryl Intrator Urman and Fred Spinowitz. The Belskie Museum of Art and Science, Closter NJ. Jerusalem between Heaven and Earth, curated by Ori Z. Soltes. The Derfner Judaica , Riverdale NY. 2017- Natural Instincts, curated by Goldie Gross and Yona Verwer, The Charter Oak Foundation, Hartford, CT. Brooklyn Jewish Art Gallery at CKI, The Golem, An Artist’s View, curated by Shoshannah Brombacher The Jewish Art Salon's "Jerusalem Between Heaven and Earth” curated by Ori Z. Soltes for the Jerusalem Biennale 2017. Personal Renaissance, curated by Sheryl Intrator Urman and others. Belskie Museum of Art & Science, Closter NJ. 2016-Trees of Light and Evil Eyes, A Contemporary take of Superstition, Symbols & Mysticism. curated by Deborah Ugoretz, Tine Kinderman. Abrazzo Interno Gallery, CSV Cultural Center, NY Comic Art; Fantasy and Imagination curated by Virginia Walsh. Anne Street Gallery Safe Harbors, Newburgh NY. Passover and the Consequences of Freedom, curated by Richard McBee. Brooklyn Jewish Art Gallery, Bklyn NY. 2015- The Jew as Other, curated by Deborah Ugoretz, Tine Kinderman , Yona Verwer. Abrazzo Interno Gallery, CSV Cultural Center, NY The Jerusalem Biennial, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and The Mishkan Le'Omanut Museum, David Sperber, Devora Liss Curators. JOMIX; Jewish Comics-Art & Derivation UJA NY, The Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art 2013- "Breath/Breadth. Brooklyn College Hillel curated by Jewish Art Now (Elke Reva Sudin, Saul Sudin) and Maria Rand 2012- The Dura Europos Project. UJA (United Jewish Appeal) NY 2011- The Dura Europos Project. The Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art Philadelphia, PA. Artist’s Choice, Artist’s Equity Fund, NY 2010- Seduced by the Sacred- The Charter Oak Foundation, Hartford Ct. and the Joyce and Andrew C. Mandell JCC of West Hartford 2009- Tzelem: Likeness and Presence in Jewish Art. The Stanton Street Synagogue NY, NY Artist’s Choice, Artist’s Equity Fund NY Inaugural Multimedia Exhibition, the Bronfman Center, NY. 2007- Home, Curated by Lois Stafsky, the Bronfman Center New York University, NY 2005- Bamidbar- Paintings of the Wilderness Narratives, Curated by John Bradford, 55 Mercer Gallery NY 2003- Artist’s Choice: Soho 20 Chelsea Gallery Broome Street Gallery Artist’s Invitational Drawing Conclusions: An Exhibition of Artist/Critics. New York Arts Gallery NY, NY 2002- 2001 Artist’s Equity Holiday Invitational. Broome Street Gallery NY, NY Artists Pick Artists, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ 1999 – Volte/Face: Portraits – 450 Gallery, NY, NY 1998 - Green Mountain Gallery Small Works Invitational – NY, NY Bowery Gallery National Competition – New York, NY. – Curated by John Walker Magic Realism Landscape- Cheryl Pelevin Fine Art NY 1997 - CSV Cultural Center Open Studios – New York, NY 1996 - Stuff 2000 - Curcio/Spector Gallery – New York, NY 15th Annual Metro Show - City Without Walls Gallery. Curated by Vivien Raynor. Chosen for 10 stop tour including Monmouth Museum. Newark, NJ The Graven Image -The Jewish Center NY.Curated by Richard McBee and Sharon Lieberman-Mintz, Jewish Theological Seminary, NY, NY Open Studios - CSV Cultural Center, Small Works Show -New York University Gallery, NY, NY. Honorable Mention, curated by Edward Thorpe CSV Cultural Center Open Studios – NY, NY 1995 -The Metro Show - City Without Walls Gallery. Curated by Stephan Haller Chosen for 10-stop tour including Monmouth Museum. Open Studios - 45 Artists from 18 Countries – CSV Cultural Center NY, NY Emerging From New York .K and E Gallery, Soho Presents at the Klienert James Arts Center – Woodstock, NY 1994 - Brooklyn College Graduate Alumni Show. Curated by Lois Dodd. Laguardia Gallery, Brooklyn, NY. Mass Exposure -Organization of Independent Artists – NY, NY. 1993 - Watchung Art Center Group Show: “The Seven Deadly Sins” – Watchung, NJ. 1993, 1991 - Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, Vermont. Work Scholarship and Exhibitions Wall to Wall - Tribecca Gallery 148, NY, NY. 1988 -Figure and Metaphor Edward Hopper House – Nyack, NY. NY Law School – NY, NY


PUBLICATIONS ON MY ART OR CURATING 2019-BRP, Modern Jewish Art, by Ori Z. Soltes, BRP Brill Research Perspectives in Religion and the Arts. Brill Publishers, Leiden, Boston Plein van Siena Gallery Program, Amsterdam. Spinoza, Marrano of Reason Art at The Heart Of Stanton St. Revival by Shira Hanau. Review of Stanton 11, Jewish Week, Jan23. 2018- The Brooklyn Daily Eagle blog. Review of Convivio, Jews and Hispanics in the Comics. ‘Convivio’ Exhibit Explores Jewish and Hispanic Influences on the Comics. Oct 25. The Artist Argument for Veganism at Charter Oak. Review of Through Compassionate Eyes by Susan Dunne. The Hartford Courier, Oct 11. How to be a Vegan Jewish Artist. Through Compassionate Eyes; Artists Call for Animal Rights. Review by Abigail Klein Leichman The Jewish Standard. Oct.4 Reading Clothing, by Joanne Palmer, June 23. The Jerusalem Standard and The Times of Israel. The Jerusalem Biennial, 2017 Catalog; Jerusalem Between Heaven and Hell, catalog by Ori Z. Soltes, Israel. BEKI Ushers in Spring with Inspired Art. Shalom New Haven. Spring, 2018 Jewish Comic Con Celebrates 2nd Event Alongside Art Exhibition. Bleeding Cool Jason Borelli, April 30, 2018 Jewish Comic Con Comes to Brooklyn by Aaron Rosen. Video Blog, The New York Jewish Week, April 30, 2018. The Riverdale Press. Jewish Art at a Watershed Moment by Tiffany Moustakas. 3/23/18. The Jewish Standard, 3/6/18. From Jerusalem to Riverdale; Jewish Art Salon on Display in Riverdale by Joanne Palmer. Jerusalem Between Heaven and Hell, catalog by Ori Z. Soltes and Susan Chevlow. The Derfner Judaica Museum of Art, Riverdale NY. 2017- Wise Guy Artists by Ben Schachter, The Jewish Art Salon Website: Art Catalog: Jewish Folk Tales Retold, Artist as Maggid. The San Francisco Contemporary Jewish Museum, Focus Golem. Faces of Transformation; New Works by Joel Silverstein and Tine Kindermann., Jewish Week, The Times of Israel Blog, review by Richard McBee Reprinted in Alpha Omega Arts, Disney Britton’s Art of Religious Imagination Artcritical, The List, This Week’s Picks review by David Cohen, Editor. Contact, a Publication of the Steinhardt Foundation, July (Summer Edition). From Pulp to Paradise, by Eli Valley. The Jewish Standard, June 22 issue, Jewish Art Salon Rockets to Teaneck by Joanne Palmer. Interview plus three-color illustrations and cover. 2016- Tradition and Transformation: Three Millennia of Jewish Art and Architecture by Ori Z. Soltes, 630 pages, MaKoM Publications 2015. Essay on my painting and curated exhibition The Dura Europos Project”. 2015- Sacred and Sequential (Website) August Art Culture and Events. JOMIX: The New Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art Exhibition on Jewish Comics. The Jerusalem Biennial for Contemporary Art. Directed by Ram Ozeri, curated by David Liss and Devorah Sperber, catalog by both, Painting reviewed and displayed on Israeli National Television, Channel 10 news, Date: 13/10/15, 26 min: 17 seconds. Visual Midrash- The Sidney & Gertrude Zack Gallery, Jewish Community Center Vancouver, Canada. Nancy Current, author and Presenting Artist. 2014-Silverstein’s Heroes, March. The Jewish Press, Richard McBee 2013-J Space Featured: The Jewish Art Salon, 5/23/13. Four paintings featured. Reform Jewish Quarterly, Winter Issue. Inspiration & Opportunity: The Arts and Jewish Life. Numbers/B’midbar: Challenge and Perspective. Text and Commentary: Contemporary Jewish Art, Ori Z. Soltes, Pg. 135. 2013- Catalog Fractured Epics, History Paintings and Imaginary Portraits by Joel Silverstein. Interview by Richard McBee. The Jewish Press- The Art of Joel Silverstein. Review of the exhibition Fractured Epics by Richard McBee. Vimeo video and - Fractured Epics, The Art of Joel Silverstein (5 minutes) directed by Saul Sudin and Elke Reva Sudin. Numbers/B’midbar: Challenge and Perspective. Text and Commentary: Contemporary Jewish Art by Ori Z. Soltes. The Reform Jewish Quarterly,Winter, 2013. 2012- The Jewish Press- The Art of Joel Silverstein. Review of the Fractured Epics exhibition by Richard McBee. Vimeo video and - Fractured Epics, The Art of Joel Silverstein (5 minutes) directed by Saul Sudin and Elke Reva Sudin. 2011- Vimeo video and Bridging the Institutional Gap; the Jewish Art Salon at the CAJM Conference by Elke Riva Sudin. The Jewish Daily Forwards- Images of Ben-Gurion and Ahmadinejad Update Ancient Frescos. Review of the Dura Europos Project by Aubrey Whelan. 2009- The Jewish Press- Joel Silverstein: Brighton Beach Bible. Article by Richard McBee. 2009- The Jewish Press- The Amulet, the Temple, the Disfigured Book and the Butterflies: The Art of Yona Verver, Robert Kirschbaum, David Friedman, and Joel Silverstein by Menachem Wecker. JEWESS, a publication of Feminist Jewish Culture- Review of “Tzelem.” The Jewish Week – Review of Yona Verver and the Exhibition “Tzelem.” 2004- d’ART International, Canada. Drawing Conclusions by Gae Savannah, with a reproduction of artwork and a sample of writing. 2000- New York Arts review of Figurative Painting Now 1999 - Cover Magazine, Rachel Youens’ review of “Partners” 1997 - Brooklyn Waterfront Week (Vol. 7/14) – Susan Hamburger review of the show “Trace: Painting the Self After Postmodernism.” 1996 - The 15th Annual Metro Show, Newark NJ Catalogue. Painting reproduced. NYU Small Works Show; catalogue award announcement. ART WRITING 2018- Catalog, Through Compassionate Eyes; Artists Call for Animal Rights. Written with Julie Seidman, Charter Oak Cultural Center, Hartford, CT. 2015- Catalog, JOMIX-Jewish Comics; Art & Derivation. UJA NY, The Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art 2014-JO-EL/JORE-EL; Superheroes, Autobiography and Religion. Pratt Institute, Rohr Center, Hadas Gallery Bklyn, NY Catalog Pasqual Hijuelos; Pragmatic Mystic. Scott Foresman Gallery, Mexico 2013- Catalog, Joseph Leo Messina, Jr. ; Recent Work 2010- Catalogue, The Dura Europos Project. The Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art Catalog, Seduced by the Sacred. Curated and written with Richard McBee Charter Oak Foundation, The Mandell JCC, Hartford Ct. 2009- Catalogue, Tzelem: Likeness and Presence in Jewish Art co-curated with Richard McBee, Brochure-Tzelem: Likeness and Presence in Jewish Art. The Jewish Press article, Tzelem; Likeness and Presence in Jewish Art posted May 6, Catalog for George Rada; A Painter’s Journey. Eighty Pages, published by the Estate of George Rada, President of Artist talk on Art. Advisor to the Estate of George Rada. 2008-Review of David Stern Exhibition at Yeshiva University Museum, Artcritical.Com 2004- Catalogue for Young He Choi- Martin, Nabi Gallery 2003- Catalogue for Bill Weiss, Elizabeth Harris Gallery Reviews of the Hyman Bloom Retrospective, Towards a Jewish Art and Paul Georges for Artcritical.Com 2002- Catalogue for Julian Hatton, Elizabeth Harris Gallery The Shiviti Paintings of Jill Nathanson for Gallery Bill Magazine The Sculptures of Irene Gennaro, Sculpture Magazine 2001- Reviews of Elements 2000, Devorah Sperber and Jane Allen Ingram, Sculpture Magazine NY Arts: Interview with Julie Heffernan , Essay for Figurative Painting Now reproduced. Exhibition review of Pat Passlof. Exhibition essay for Cathy Diamond 1998 - 2000 - Art Critic for Review Magazine. Reviewed: Whitney Biennial (April, 2000) Chuck Connelly, Ingres; Portraits at the Metropolitan, Elemental Sources at the Makor Center, Leslie Lerner, Pat Steir, Richmond Burton, Valentina Dubasky, UnrePRESSED at Atelier A/E, Women Painters: Gender Identity and the Integration of Paint into Feminism, Elements 2000 at the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, Alan Hart, a retrospective, Tony Scherman, Fairfield Porter, a Retrospective, Steve Mumford, Esteban Vicente, Critic’s Battle ground, an editorial, Chris Costan, Louise Fishman , three critical comments, Robert Colescott, Steve Harvey, Julie Heffernan, Milton Resnick, Julian Hatton , Terry Winters, Self-made Men at D.C. Moore, Josh Dorman. 1997 - 1998 - Art Critic for Cover Magazine. Interviewed: Rackstraw Downes, Louise Fishman, Julie Heffernan Reviews of Lyle Starr, Brenda Goodman, Chris Costan, Charles Yuen, David Kapp and the Soutine retrospective. 1997 - Catalogue, “Trace: How Painting Defines the Self.” Catalogue essay.

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