House of David inscription, part of the “Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age” exhibit at NY’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Meidad Suchowolski)
Dimly lit, the stone slab, or stele, doesn’t look particularly noteworthy, especially when compared to the more lavish sphinxes, jewelry and cauldrons one encounters en route to the room where it is installed.
Indeed, in a Twitter post this fall, art journalist Lee Rosenbaum described the nearly 13-by-16 inch c. 830 BCE rock, which resembles an aardvark or elephant, as “homely.”
What’s significant about this stone — on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of its “Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age” exhibit running through Jan. 4 — is its inscription: “the earliest extra-biblical reference to the House of David.”
My article “‘Homely’ ancient rock adds evidence of King David’s existence” appears in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA).
Posted by Menachem Wecker on December 15, 2014
Oszmiana, Poland. Still from Polish home movie c. 1920s-30s/YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
My review of the Museum of the City of New York’s exhibit of videos of Poland “The Women of ‘Letters to Afar’
,” co-written with Chavi Moskowitz, appears in the Jewish Daily Forward
Posted by Menachem Wecker on December 10, 2014
James Castle. Untitled.
n.d. Found paper and soot. Smithsonian American Art Museum
My article “James Castle, subject of Smithsonian show, put ‘taught’ in self-taught
” appears in the Washington Post
“The 54 Castle works in the show, a 2013 Smithsonian acquisition, represent one of the largest collections of the artist’s work. The show’s prominence raises questions about how viewers should respond to self-taught art — which goes by aliases such as outsider, visionary, and folk art and involves figures such as Grandma Moses and Henri Rousseau. Can visitors be expected to ignore an artist’s biography, particularly in a field such as self-taught art, which suggests in its very title that context is vital?
Experts are divided on how museums should contextualize works such as Castle’s…”
Posted by Menachem Wecker on November 25, 2014
Florence Duomo. Photo: Menachem Wecker
My article “Donatello exhibition heading to Museum of Biblical Art in New York” appears in the Washington Post.
Posted by Menachem Wecker on November 21, 2014
Mormon missionaries draw in the street in Bologna, Italy. photo by Menachem Wecker.
My article, “Mormon missionaries pound Italian pavements with chalk,” appears in Religion News Service.
UPDATE: The piece has been picked up by Washington Post, Kansas City Star, Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News, Christian Century and Adventist Review.
Posted by Menachem Wecker on November 11, 2014
Posted by Menachem Wecker on October 24, 2014
Neilson Carlin works in his studio in April
Neilson Carlin is pretty sure that he will soon have the opportunity to cross something off of his aesthetic bucket list: having the pope see one of his paintings.
“That’s obviously a dream come true for someone like me, who has devoted his entire career to serving the Catholic church,” said the Kennett Square, Pa.-based painter.
Anytime he has the opportunity to create art for a parish, it is a blessing, Carlin said, but he never contemplated the idea that “the Holy Father of the entire global Catholic church” would see his art. “As much as I’d hoped for it,” he said, “what’s the reality? I certainly didn’t think that would be the case.”
Pope Francis will see Carlin’s work in person if, as is speculated, he attends the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, planned for Sept. 22-27, 2015. Carlin is the commissioned artist, and his painting of the Holy Family will be on view at the meeting.
But even if the meeting can’t get on the pope’s busy schedule, Carlin says that Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput is bringing a digital version of his painting to present to Francis. “So if he hasn’t seen it yet, I’m sure that very shortly he will,” Carlin said.
Read more of my article “Artist brings interior radiance to global stage in painting for World Meeting of Families” in National Catholic Reporter.
Posted by Menachem Wecker on October 11, 2014
Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, in the 1960s and ’70s, Odell Cleveland leveraged his basketball skills to land a college scholarship. The 6-foot-3 Cleveland would go on to earn a place in the University of South Carolina Upstate’s Athletics Hall of Fame.
“I’m one of those individuals who came from just a poor, poor background, and because at the time I was able to play sports in America, I was able to go to college, get an education. I saw that education itself helped turn my life around,” said Cleveland, now a senior pastor and chief administrative officer at the 4,000-member Mount Zion Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina.
In addition to his church role, Cleveland chairs the advisory board for the college completion initiative Degrees Matter!, which receives funding from the Lumina Foundation, an Indiana-based nonprofit that tries to get more students enrolled in college.
He’s not the only one who thinks that houses of worship can partner with local postsecondary schools to preach the importance of higher education.
Read more of my article “In faith-based communities, college completion may be uniquely emphasized” in Deseret News.
Posted by Menachem Wecker on October 4, 2014