Articles in Category: Mark Podwal

Contemporary Book Art and Hebrew Texts: MOBIA

Written on July 28, 2013

The “book” is a mighty big place these days and the current exhibition at MOBIA, “As Subject and Object: Contemporary Book Artists Explore Sacred Hebrew Texts” is no exception.  Highly mobile eBooks compete with online publications and traditionally bound volumes, scrolls, accordion-style tomes and folios that present equally exciting options for contemporary artists to interact with image and text in one unifying medium.  The 14 artists shown here take advantage of many of these possibilities to consider distinctly traditional Hebrew texts.  

Old and New: Mark Podwal’s Textiles for the Altneuschul in Prague

Written on December 23, 2011

Mark Podwal is a busy, busy man.  When I wrote that in these pages in September, 2010 it is now clear I didn’t know the half of it…witness his current exhibition at Yeshiva University Museum.  In what is effectively a love song to his adopted city, Prague, Podwal has had the delicious opportunity to give her Jewish community a spanking new Chanukah gift; the new Torah curtain, shulhan covers and Torah mantles.  For a Jewish artist and lover of Prague like Podwal it doesn’t get any better than that.

Podwal’s Books

Written on September 10, 2010

Good and Evil
Mark Podwal is a busy, busy man.  He has spent the last 38 years making every conceivable kind of art: innumerable paintings, 28 illustrated books written by him and the likes of Elie Wiesel, Harold Bloom and Francine Prose, children’s books, Haggadot, ceramics and graphic works. Dubbed the “Master of the True Line” by author Cynthia Ozick he has been seen on the Op-Ed pages of the New York Times since 1972 with pro-Israel political cartoons and drawings. 

Podwal’s Lamentations
The Book of Lamentations: Illustrated by Mark Podwal

Written on July 12, 2012

Cardinal (ca.1600) oil on canvas by El Greco Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

In 1974 Mark Podwal, noted author, illustrator and physician, created a spare, illustrated Book of Lamentations.   This complete English translation is graced with 28 black and white illustrations, or more correctly, reflections, on the tragic text. Podwal maintains Jeremiah’s alphabetical acrostic of each chapter containing 22 sets of lines, reflecting aleph to tav, denoting each English set with the appropriate Hebrew letter.  According to Sanhedrin 104a “ R. Johanan said: Why were they smitten with an alphabetical dirge? Because they violated the Torah, which was given by means of the alphabet,” representing the tragic reality that the Jews of his time transgressed the Torah fromaleph totav, beginning to end. Eicha!