“Nehushtan”, unique bronze 98”x69”x34” 2019 from the series “Stories From My Ancestors”
A few weeks after Charlottesville my father in law passed away and the funeral was held at a Church in Long Island, NY. After family and friends gave their heart felt goodbyes the Pastor gave a sermon sighting stories from the old and new testaments. From the Old Testament he told the story of Nehushtan, where in their exodus from Egypt, the Jews started loosing their faith. Yahweh, angered by the doubters, sent a plague of poisonous serpents to bite and kill the unbelievers. When Moses interceded, Yahweh instructed him to build a “Bronze” serpent, hold it aloft on his staff and decreed that all those who look upon the serpent, Nehushtan, would be healed from the poisonous bites. In the second part of his sermon the Pastor told the story of the “Unclean Jew” from the New Testament when an “impure” Jew went to Jesus to find salvation. I later learned that the Pastor knew I was a bronze sculptor and a Jew, I can safely say the only one in attendance. I've wondered for years why, when we were at a funeral to honor and say goodbye to a patriarch of our family, would a sermon turn to an “unclean Jew”? Was it for my salvation? or was it a damnation? Two weeks after Charlottesville’s I couldn’t help but feel the latter. My world and my beliefs were turned upside down when the president of the U.S. sided with the racists and fascists. A wave of hatred was felt through out our country and emerged in our every day. In 1991 I made the sculpture “Kristallnacht : A Sleep of Reason” to remember shocking events in 1938 when the Nazi government sanctioned the destruction of Jewish homes and businesses. When I returned to my studio in Santa Fe, NM I was compelled to dismantle three sculptures I was building and used the parts to construct “Nehushtan” a reaction to my shocking disbelief of the events of “Charlottesville”.
Currently “Nehushtan” is being exhibited at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden till May 2021 as part of the exhibition “Human Nature” that I share with Allan Houser.
"Kristallnacht: A Sleep of Reason" is in the collection of the PA Academy of the Fine Arts Museum https://www.pafa.org/museum/collection/item/kristallnacht-sleep-reason)