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Art Professor Ben Schachter Exhibiting at Duquesne

Public Relations
Posted: Tuesday Feb 5, 2013

Feb. 5, 2013

Ben Schachter, associate professor of fine arts at Saint Vincent College, has an exhibit of his work, Jewish Geography, that focuses on the Jewish Sabbath, on display at the Les Idees Gallery in the Union at Duquesne University.

Schachter, who has previously exhibited his work at Yale University and the Westmoreland County Museum of American Art, brings together Jewish rule, community and art in this exhibit.

Schachter’s artwork, abstractions of physical spaces, focuses on the idea of the “eruv,” a symbolic enclosure that surrounds Jewish homes. He represents this idea through maps of Jewish eruvs from around the world.

In the Jewish tradition, practicing Orthodox Jews cannot carry anything outside the eruv of their community on the Sabbath. For instance, carrying food or pushing a stroller from one house to another is forbidden on the Sabbath. Yet, Schachter sees this process as building community space.

“Fostering community is important in both the Catholic and Jewish traditions,” Schachter said. “And yet, there are some laws that limit communal activities. I see an eruv as a highly regulated line running through space. For Orthodox Jewish communities, it blends individual houses into one communal home. At the same time, it is a collaged line winding its way through the city. More importantly, this set of rules is followed all over the world and to apply them in different places requires creativity.”

“Ideas, such as paths and boundaries, are as much a part of modern and contemporary art as expression is,” said Schachter. “I make a comparison between the rules conceptual artists set up for themselves that limited and guided their work and Jewish law that guides and illuminates behavior.”

The exhibit, free and open to the public, runs through March 1.

Further information is available at: http://applications.duq.edu/times/2013/01/abstract-art-of-jewish-sabbath-to-open-at-les-idees-gallery/ 

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