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Bob Dylan

Jac Lahav

in Jerusalem, Israel

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Jac Lahav
48 Jews - Selections From The Series
June 20 – August 1, 2009
Opening reception June 20, 2009, 6–9 p.m.
curated by Katharina Niesert, Chelsea Art Museum NY

In his series entitled “48 jews”, the young American artist, Jac Lahav, tackles the question of Jewish identity. Even the title itself challenges viewers to question their understanding of the term “Jew”. From the very first attempt at questioning, several layers are revealed. There are many different ways of identifying oneself as Jewish: culturally, genetically, legally or practically. Being Jewish does not simply come from having Jewish ancestors. There are plenty of examples in history of non-practising Jews, or those who converted to Christianity. Perhaps this is one of the reasons for Lahav’s interest in how Judaism influences the consciousness of the Jewish people. Something has certainly encouraged him to further the dialogue concerning Jewish identity and its importance for the individual.
Lahav is always trying to incorporate contradictions and anomalies in his work to frustrate any attempts at classification. The exhibition’s title itself is in contradiction to the actual number of images, which is much greater than 48. His reference to Gerhard Richter’s series aside, the number 48 has a huge significance in Jewish history: 1948 is the year Israel declared its independence, and there are 48 prophets in the Hebrew Bible.
However, he does not attempt to highlight the ‘Jewishness’ of his figures explicitly, nor celebrate the very fact that they are Jewish. For him it is much more a question of the dichotomy of his own situation; of engaging with his background and of questioning stylised identity as a painter, and Jewish identity in general. It is often at first a total surprise to come across this or that figure in the context of a series of “Jewish” portraits. All of these questions form the background for the artist’s often highly colourful images. Famous paintings from the last seven centuries serve as a point of departure and orientation for his own interpretations.
In this way, you can find a complex portrait of Bob Dylan, for example, inspired by a painting by Hans von Marees, “Self-portrait with Lenbach” from 1863. Lahav stays very close to his own model in this instance and even accentuates the interpretation, which portrays Lenbach in Marees’ painting as the personification of Death, with his double depiction of Dylan as death in Lenbach’s place in the painting.
All of his paintings give the impression of a collage, because Lahav moves in a realm on the border between abstract and figurative painting. Even the process of the paintings’ creation makes an important contribution to their overall effect; Lahav reveals the layers of his paintwork, for example, by continually scraping off the surface of the painting and exposing deeper layers. All of his paintings are square and of equal size, yet stylistically they could not be more different. Each painting arises out of a brand new process of engagement with the subject. In this way, Jac Lahav produces each portrait individually with its own particular content and even its own different stylistic results.

Art objects of this artist

Lahav, Jac ◊ Alan Greenspan, 2009
Lahav, Jac ◊ Alan Greenspan, 2009

Lahav, Jac ◊ Elie Wiesel, 2009
Lahav, Jac ◊ Elie Wiesel, 2009

Lahav, Jac ◊ Elvis Presley, 2009
Lahav, Jac ◊ Elvis Presley, 2009

Lahav, Jac ◊ Franz Kafka, 2009
Lahav, Jac ◊ Franz Kafka, 2009

Lahav, Jac ◊ Gertrude Stein, 2009
Lahav, Jac ◊ Gertrude Stein, 2009

Lahav, Jac ◊ Golda Meir, 2009
Lahav, Jac ◊ Golda Meir, 2009

Lahav, Jac ◊ Gwyneth Paltrow, 2009
Lahav, Jac ◊ Gwyneth Paltrow, 2009

Lahav, Jac ◊ Jaques Derrrida, 2009
Lahav, Jac ◊ Jaques Derrrida, 2009

Lahav, Jac ◊ Ludwig Wittgenstein, 2009
Lahav, Jac ◊ Ludwig Wittgenstein, 2009

Lahav, Jac ◊ Marc Chagall, 2009
Lahav, Jac ◊ Marc Chagall, 2009

Lahav, Jac ◊ Sigmund Freud, 2009
Lahav, Jac ◊ Sigmund Freud, 2009

Lahav, Jac ◊ Ruth Bader Ginsberg, 2009
Lahav, Jac ◊ Ruth Bader Ginsberg, 2009


Jac Lahav

born 1979 in Jerusalem, Israel
lives and works in New York



2008 Brooklyn College (CUNY), NY – M.F.A. in painting
2005 The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art,
New York (painting residency)
2002 School For Visual Arts,New York (painting residency)
2000 Wesleyan University - Middletown, B.A. – Psychologie/University Honors Major

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Selected solo exhibitions

2009 Jewish Museum of Florida, Miami Florida
2009 Oregon Jewish Museum, Portland Oregon
2009 “48 Jews: Selections from the Series“, Jarmuschek + Partner, Berlin
2009 “The Great Americans“, Gallery 532 Thomas Jaeckel, NY
2008 “Boundless“, Gallery 532 Thomas Jaeckel, NY
(group exhibtion with John Berens)
2007 Esther Prangley Rice Gallery, McDaniel College's, Westminster

Selected group exhibitions

2009 Smithumenta, 261 Bond St, NY
RoCoCo Pop, Dean Projects, NY
RoCoCo Pop, Crossing Art, NY
“Snippets Samplings Static “, Ernest Rubenstein Gallery, NY
2008 “Art, Image and Warhol Connections”, Jewish Museum, NY
“Brooklyn College”, NYCAMS, NY
2007 “Neo-Integrity”, Derek Eller Gallery, NY
“Warning: Heat Index“, Bushwick Star, NY
“American for Sale”, Protest Space, NY
“Stencil It!”, Protest Space, NY
2006 “10 Curatorial Perspectives“, Haven Arts, NY
“Amendicons“, Makor Steinhardt Center, NY
“Notebook”, Current Gallery, Middletown
“Art Against The Death Penalty”, The Brecht Forum, NY
“Wandering “, Makor Steinhardt Center, NY
2005 “New Politics“, Studio 459, NY
“1800 Frames”, City With Out Walls, Newark, New Jersey
2003 “Set Design”, The Compound Company, Philadelphia together
with “Murder, Hope of Womankind” by Oskar Kokoschka

Public Collections

Jewish Museum, NY


2007 Graduate Fellowship, Brooklyn College, CUNY, NY
GIP Travel Grant and GIP Research Grant Brooklyn College, CUNY, NY
2006 Graduate Fellowship, Brooklyn College, CUNY, NY
GIP Research Grant, Brooklyn College, CUNY, NY
Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, Residency, Nebraska City
KHN Emerging Artist Grant
Vermont Studio Center, Residency, Johnson VT
VSC Artist Grant
2005 92nd st Y, Makor/SteinHardt Center, Residency, NY
2004 I-Park (Artist Enclave), Residency, East Haddam

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