By Jacob Rzempoluch, Part-Time Staff Writer
The Verotsko Center for the Arts opened two new exhibits on Jan. 27: People of the Book & the Storyboard and The Hood Series. The opening of these exhibits was commemorated with a special conversation featuring visual arts professor, Dr. Ben Schacter, Rabbi Jamie Gibson and Rabbi Jason Z. Edelstein, Chair in Catholic Jewish Dialogue. During this conversation, which was open to all students, they discussed the works in the gallery and spoke about the role of artistic and creative storytelling within Judaism.
“Our exhibits are often about bringing the past and present into conversation with one another,” Andrew Julo, curator of the Verotsko Center, said. “Both the exhibits now on view were selected for their ability to balance tradition with innovation.”
People of the Book & the Storyboard contains a wide selection of artwork created by contemporary Jewish comic book and graphic novel artists. Many of the works were inspired by or strongly influenced by events in the Torah or historical events such as the Holocaust or the Jewish diaspora. Artists exhibited include JT Waldman, Ben Schachter and Harvey Pekar.
The exhibit displays a variety of artistic styles. The art on the wall varies from classic comic book styles to dizzying, almost abstract imagery to minimalist comic panels. Most of the artwork on display is concept art and drafts or single pages from comic books and graphic
novels, many of which are available as full copies that can be read in a small lounge in the center of the gallery.
The other new exhibit, The Hood Series, features a series of portraits by Tara Lamourt, MFA, an educator and artist at St. Benedict’s Preparatory School. This New Jersey Benedictine institution exists to help provide inner city youth with a strong education. Lamourt was inspired by a lack of artwork depicting urban youth and hoped to combat racial profiling by painting subjects wearing a black hoodie reminiscent of the habit of a Benedictine monk.
Although no portraits of monks were included in The Hood Series, the portrayal of the 18 high schoolers in a similar style to depictions of monks creates a strong connection between the educating monks and the monks’ pupils. The Hood Series is also a tribute to the Benedictine philosophy of community, especially a community that is not always immediately connected to the monastery despite their proximity.
Both of the exhibits are currently open and will be on display until March.
Laura Horn, junior history major, particularly enjoyed the selection of works featured in these exhibits.
“The curators always have a good eye. The exhibits always make me look at the world in a different way,” Horn said.
The Verotsko Center is open on Wednesday from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m., Thursday from 1:00 - 7:00 p.m. and Friday from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.