Exhibition of works by Humanist Artist
Jacob Landau opens at Monmouth University
April 5, 2017
Monmouth University Galleries opens an exhibition of works exploring the theme of justice for women by American artist, humanist, and teacher Jacob Landau in the Monmouth University Library, Room #101, on April 10, 2017 at 4:30 p.m.
Born in Philadelphia in 1917, Jacob Landau launched his career as an illustrator, winning national prizes at age 16 and a scholarship to the Philadelphia College of Art. He had over sixty one-person shows and was the recipient of many awards, including Tiffany, Guggenheim and National Arts Council grants. Many of his works are featured in permanent collections in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, among others. A master teacher, he retired as professor emeritus at New York’s Pratt Institute. In 1996, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts by Monmouth University.
For Jacob Landau “art enables us to see the world whole and undivided.” As a humanist his art was devoted to the unity of the imagination. Here we find the center of all desire and accomplishment, such as the longing to end oppression and the building of a new order of justice, which could not be except it was once imagined. Here also lies wholeness, art erasing borders between science and art, God and man. And it dissolves false boundaries between male and female, whether imposed roles or traditional attitudes. Erasing these lines is the beginning of justice.
Monmouth University’s exhibit “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights” dramatizes this erasure. Landau’s art, devoted to the “advocacy of the human,” which entails “revelation of the tragic” and “hope of transcendence,” embodies a vision of justice for women. Powerfully and subtly erasing inherited gender boundaries, it triumphs. In his watercolor AS ABOVE SO BELOW he gives us an unforgettable vision of the “patterned energy” that is the just relation between sexes. We see masculine “incompleteness” and feminine “imperfection” in balanced unity. The man below and the woman above, declaring together: “I and thou we create each other.” And by this creation of the human imagination we are convinced of its truth.
In Landau’s work is the wisdom of the body and spirit, the imagination itself. For as he says, “without wisdom [chochmah], there is no justice. Without justice, the law is repression.” And this is true whether the law is imposed or simply accepted as convention. By the wisdom of his various depictions of women, imaginatively participating in their lives, Landau asserts women’s rights are human rights. This artist, then, does not gaze at women so much as enter the “patterned energy” between male and female that is life and justice itself.
The exhibition features a selection of twelve pieces. All works are from Monmouth University’s extensive collection of Jacob Landau’s work, comprising over 300 prints, drawings and paintings. The collection was gifted to Monmouth University in 2008 by the Jacob Landau Institute of Roosevelt, NJ. This exhibit is co-sponsored by the Jewish Culture Studies Program and the Honors School of Monmouth University.
Women’s Rights Are Human Rights: An Exhibit of Selected Works by Jacob Landau will be on view from April 10 – April 16 in the Library Exhibition Room (#101). All events are free & open to the public. Docent tours are available (for times, contact Professor Noel Belinski 732-263-5425; email: email@example.com). For additional information on the exhibition and other gallery events on the West Long Branch campus of Monmouth University, please call 732-263-5759 or visit www.monmouth.edu/arts.