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Distributed for Hirmer Publishers


Rediscovering California Jewish Artists

Cartoonist Rube Goldberg became a beloved humorist at the turn of the last century by drawing enormously complicated machines to accomplish wholly unnecessary jobs. Ned Kahn, who invents machines that make visible otherwise invisible natural phenomena, is among America’s greatest artists working today in public places. Amid these towering figures are a hundred years worth of California Jewish artists including standouts such as acclaimed ceramicist Annabeth Rosen and gizmo matriarch Bella Feldman. Such artists’ works gracefully render the world as a gigantic unexplained mechanism—complex, baffling, and lovely.
            The first book to examine the achievements of these California artists, Contraption illustrates how sixteen artists use the metaphor of the machine to understand and depict how the individual aligns his or her identity with the workings of an at times incomprehensible social system. The compelling works showcased in this catalog illuminate the humor and drama of a century on the West coast.

96 pages | 50 color plates | 8 1/2 x 11 | © 2018

Art: American Art

Jewish Studies

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“At this exhibit, the audiences won’t find the sleek machines populating the dreams and demo videos of the Silicon Valley startups. They’ll find clunky, awkward, ridiculous but profoundly affecting mechanisms that will remind us above all of the most outdated technological golems: ourselves.” 


Table of Contents

Executive Director’s Foreword
Moving Parts: Contraptions and Jewish Tradition
Rachel B. Gross
Conversations about Contraptions
Mark Dean Johnson
Society is a Machine
Renny Pritikin
Judith Belzer
Carol Bernard
Edward Biberman
Boris Deutsch
Miriam Dym
Bella Feldman
Howard Fried
Rube Goldberg
John Gutmann
Bruce Handelsman
Ned Kahn
Richard Kamler
Bernie Lubell
Irving Norman
Annabeth Rosen
Sheri Simmons
Arist Biographies
Board of Trustees

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