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MemberAnne Swartz

I lecture and write on various topics in contemporary art, including intermedia art, theory and criticism, and women artists.  I currently write about new media/new genre art, the home, and contemporary American feminist art.  I particularly focus on Pattern and Decoration, an American art movement of the 1970s-1980s.  I teach via eLearning for my college.

DepositThe Work of Creation: Image, Idolatry, and Jewish Discourse in Theology and the Arts

The Second Commandment, prohibiting both the worship and manufacture of graven images, is often employed as a mechanism for explaining a perceived absence of Jewish participation in the visual arts, in spite of a well recorded history of Jewish participation in the manufacture of graven images which are typically classed as craft objects. This article aims to introduce to theology the scepticism towards hierarchical distinctions between art and craft which is already familiar in the world of art theory, and by so doing prompt a dislocation of theological reflection on works of art from the point of visual engagement to the point of manufacture. It suggests that attentiveness to Jewish discourses about material production opens up interesting and potentially generative possibilities for work in theology and the arts beyond the consideration of specifically Jewish art.