Testimonials for The Brighton Beach Bible | Reader Experiences
The Brighton Beach Bible shreds those coordinates where an impulsive intuition bursts against the inherited obligations of illustrating religious text. In a wild ride, drenched in expressive necessity, Joel Silverstein conflates and contradicts his own art-history-inflected stories with, brash applications in strident color. This short ramble of creativity is a cacophonous, intriguing work of illogicality where somehow The Book of Exodus is, plainly, the main character. eIt caused me to recall, in David Steinberg's stand-up routine, 'You remember Moses, don't you folks, from last week's sermon?' The Judaism that Silverstein lives, shares the heavily peopled stage with his family members, 80s Action Movie heroes, Hasidim, Marvel characters, Houdini, The Pharaohs, and the Golem - all unwillingly crammed into this diasporic elevator. They just barely play nice although, oddly, their presence catalyzes to a cohesion. These arresting works are unified by a heartfelt desire to give equal time to that, and those, which Silverstein loves. Surprisingly, the flavors congeal because of an embarrassingly frontal, insistent sincerity. This appearance of vulnerability offers us the illusion of unchallenged entrance. But in this fresh, bumpy cache of visual poetry, the discomfiting pairings, and narrative crevices demand revisiting. How could they not? 'these images that are presented with one raucous, wide-ranged voice. That repeated engagement ignites self-awareness as we become greedy digesters of the unfamiliar viewable. Silverstein's fine achievement emits a pull with a barb. When hooked we are provided with the wholesome rewards of wonder.Read more
Archie Rand Artist, Author/Artist, The 613
To paraphrase Kurt Vonnegut, Joel Silverstein has become unstuck in time"and in art and in high culture and in pop culture and in scripture and in history and in his own memories. His Brighton Beach Bible is an intensive tour through the artist"s psyche as expressed via a series of from-the-heart paintings, a hallucinatory roller coaster ride through Silverstein"s own lived and imagined experience. Ori Z. Soltes" insightful text illuminates the many cultural touchstones that inform the paintings, but the art alone will dazzle your eyes and ignite your emotions. Read more
Danny Fingeroth, longtime writer and editor at Marvel Comics and biographer of comics legend Stan Lee and TV assassin Jack Ruby.
Joel Silverstein"s teeming visual tapestry weaves the personal into the mythic, mixing liturgy, legend and lore into sequential narratives that encompass Exodus, Jewish history, Silverstein"s family history, and the history of art. The painted and collaged images evoke a series of unforgettable postcards not just from the titular beach, but from the biblical and cultural landscapes of Jewish memory. Houdini, hawk gods, Maimonides and the Maharal mix it up with body builders and sci-fi grotesqueries in Silverstein"s brilliant, tragicomic, and vividly rendered journey through the American, and American Jewish, experience. Read more
Eli Valley, author of Diaspora Boy: Comics on Crisis in America and Israel and the forthcoming Museum of Degenerates: Portraits of the American Grotesque.
In The Brighton Beach Bible, effervescent colors, biblical themes of mythic proportion, the entire canon of Art History, whimsical pop culture, and Joel Silverstein's intensely polychrome inner life are thoughtfully whisked together in delightful and disarming ways. Beautifully explicated by Ori Soltes, this volume is a joy!Read more
Professor Steven Fine, Churgin Professor of Jewish History, Yeshiva University and Director of the Yeshiva University Center for Israel Studies.
Joel Silverstein"s paintings are a revelation. Fittingly for a "Bible," there are brilliant visual exegesis aplenty in these works. But there are also personal disclosures that are raw, humorous, and sometimes haunting. The real genius here is how these two forms of revelation mutually illuminate one another, rendering scripture more personal and autobiography more spiritual. This body of work is a powerful addition to an expanding canon of contemporary Jewish visual art. Read more
Aaron Rosen, PhD, Executive Director of The Clemente Course in the Humanities, and author of Art & Religion in the 21st Century.
We were all at Mount Sinai" is a tenet of Jewish tradition. In "The Brighten Beach Bible" the prophets might appear in comic hero t-shirts while artist Joel Silverstein"s family stands witness to God"s Revelations. Then is now. Now is then. We were all there. Ori Z. Soltes" extensive and profoundly informative essay guides us on the journey, (part Bible, part art history) through Silverstein"s expressive and thought-provoking images. "The Brighten Beach Bible" made me see this epic, yet ongoing, story of Jewish struggle and liberation in a fresh way. Read more
Mike Cockrill, Artist
I was totally blown away by Silverstein's images and the kinds of knowledge he pours into them. The works here illustrated are the result of the momentous meeting of Silverstein's brilliant, wildly active imagination, combining virtually everything he has seen, read, and experienced in his lifetime, with the ancient but always contemporary Jewish texts he knows so well. He has created both a very modern and a very profound series of works that help define what an artist professing Jewish identity in the visual arts can achieve today. Read more
Matthew Baigell, Professor Emeritus, Art History, Rutgers University. Author, Jewish Identity in American Art. A Golden Age Since the 1970s. Syracuse University Press, 2020
Joel Silverstein's paintings for The Brighton Beach Bible are singular and extraordinary. From the stunning "Nile Colossi" to "Crossing the Red Sea", these contemporary Biblical images deserve a wide and appreciative audience. Read more
Mark Podwal , Artist, Author, Filmmaker, and Physician.
Silverstein"s Brighton Beach Bible is tour-de-force of fluid visual creativity and encyclopedic knowledge of Jewish sacred texts, comic book classics, Hollywood stills and art historical references, all utilized to unpack the Torah narratives and reflect on his family and personal life. A truly courageous and audacious narrative work of contemporary Jewish Art that only gets better in light of the biblical citations and Ori Soltes" essay. Read more
Richard McBee, is an Artist and writer on Jewish Art, He is also The Director of Exhibitions for the Jewish Art Salon, a role he shares with Joel Silverstein.
This extraordinarily original art book represents a wild personal ride through Biblical narratives, offered up as a kind of visionary and experiential diary. The individual images reflect his wide knowledge of art history, technical mastery of the material, and contemporary issues of identity in a profound and rather moving way. This innovative volume demonstrates his own artistic achievement, yet proposes new possibilities for visual art, narrative, and what it means to be a Jew in the current age. Read more
Yona Verwer, is an artist and Founding Director of The Jewish Art Salon, NYC, the largest Jewish visual arts professional organization in the world.