Archie Rand: Sixty Paintings from the Bible


The Skirball Museum on the historic Cincinnati campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion invites you to visit its current exhibition, Archie Rand: Sixty Paintings from the Bible. Internationally celebrated artist and Jewish scholar Archie Rand brings a unique blend of expressionistic comic book style and loosely painting imagery rendered in loud, colorful tones to familiar stories from the Hebrew Bible. These visually stunning and thoughtful works are at the same time irreverent and serious, adding fresh perspectives to narratives that have shaped Western civilization.

In conceiving this series, Rand turned to two disparate sources: the language of comic books replete with speech bubbles and prints by the somewhat forgotten seventeenth-century Swiss-born engraver Matthäus Merian. In the case of a well-known story from Genesis, The Sacrifice of Isaac, Rand’s interpretation derives humor from distress. Prepared to sacrifice Isaac at the request of God, Abraham holds a knife. An angel bathed in gold hovers in a cloud above the distraught father. Leaning forward, Abraham shouts out “I’m here!” in a desperate effort to catch the angel’s attention, with the dialogue emphasized by large capital letters, an exclamation and double underlining. 

Rand described the canvases in the series as “old friends of mine and they tip the balance in my art.” He went on to remark that “there’s nothing irreligious about these pictures. I mean, it’s exactly what’s going on, but they’re painted in such a way that they become available.”

The exhibition continues through June 28, 2020.