(Forward) Painting the Commandments, All 613 of Them

Photo by Archie Rand

Photo by Archie Rand

My article “Painting the Commandments, All 613 of Them” appears in the Jewish Daily Forward. Here’s the lede:

While Archie Rand was eating lunch at an Indian restaurant in Manhattan’s East Village in 2014, his agent told him and his wife that she’d landed a book deal to publish his series of 614 canvases — one per Old Testament commandment and an extra title painting. “I thought that some hippie in Saskatchewan had proposed mimeographing the text onto Xeroxed sheets of recycled Yoo-hoo labels,” said Rand, who serves as a professor of art at Brooklyn College.

Rand had reason to be skeptical. Back in 2006, when I viewed the works in Rand’s studio — two years before they hung very temporarily at a Brooklyn warehouse — I learned that it took Rand and two assistants three days just to prime the canvases.

“It took a while for the impact of this to dawn on me before the three of us did a happy dance in the back of the restaurant,” Rand said of his publishing deal.

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