“Nehushtan”, unique bronze 98”x69”x34” 2019 from the series “Stories From My Ancestors”
A few months after Charlottesville's cultural clashes and riots, in August of 2018, my father in law passed away. The funeral was held at a Church on Long Island, NY. After family and friends gave their heart-felt goodbyes the Pastor gave 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 losing 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, where 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? Shortly after "Charlottesville" I couldn’t help but feel the latter.
My worldly beliefs were turned upside down when the President of the United States voiced approval for the hate filled and violent protesters. His support sent a wave of hatred felt throughout our country to emerge in our everyday life and not so every day, like a funeral. The events at Charlottesville gave new meaning to a sculpture I made in 1991 “Kristallnacht : A Sleep of Reason”. The sculpture was built as a memorial to the shocking events in 1938 when the Nazi government sanctioned the looting and destruction of Jewish homes and businesses. When I returned to my studio in Santa Fe, N.M. I was compelled to build a sculpture as witness to the confusing and continually unfolding events of “Charlottesville”. Chopping up nearly completed sculptures I reassembled the parts to build
"NEHUSHTAN", An Inversal Faith.
“Kristallnacht : A Sleep of Reason” In the collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum https://www.pafa.org/museum/collection/item/kristallnacht-sleep-reason)