The Dictionary of American Studio Ceramics, 1946 Onward
The Dictionary of American Studio Ceramics, 1946 Onward
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1942 Born Russia
2015 Died Knoxville, Tennessee
1966 BA Zoology, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee
1969 BA Architecture, School of Architecture, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee
1985, 1988, 1991 International Seminar on Jewish Art, Jerusalem, Israel
1980's Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
1992 Coursework, The Synagogue Throughout the Ages: Art & Architecture, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
1991 Visiting Artist, Mishkenot Sha'ananim, Jerusalem, Israel
1992 Visiting Artist, Mishkenot Sha'ananim, Jerusalem, Israel
PRIMARY WORK EXPERIENCE
1969-1976 Partner, GSW Architecture, Knoxville, Tennessee
1977-1981 Partner, Wilcox & Schwarzbart Architecture, Knoxville, Tennessee
1981-2015 Studio Artist, Knoxville, Tennessee
Arnold Schwarzbart, z”l emigrated to the United States in 1951. He is known for his creation of ceramic and mixed media Judaica. Signature forms include donor walls, meditation cylinders, and a ritualistic utilitarian production line created between 1981 and 1996. Everything had a purpose in Schwarzbart's work. Trained as an architect, he often bridged clean modernist design with antiquity by focusing on themes of ritual and spirituality. Subject matter in Schwarzbart's work often includes texts from the Hebrew Bible, other traditional Hebrew texts, and the Jewish mystical traditions. Work is created using a variety of clays and firing techniques based appropriate for the work at hand.
Schwarzbart's donor walls are frequently site-specific works. Walls are typically created using at least two different tile types. Schwarzbart typically reserves one type of tile for names of donors, while the other set acts as an embellishment: serving as an area for carved drawings, traditional texts, and decorative glazes related to the project.
Meditation Cylinders are created on the potter's wheel in conjunction with artist Peter Rose. Once the pre-fired piece reaches the leather hard stage, Schwarzbart carves a low-relief grid-like frame work onto the exterior of each cylinder. Traditional Jewish meditations, among other texts, are then incised onto the surface of select squares in the grid.
Schwarzbart's production line (1981 – 1996) features a variety of ritualistic utilitarian forms that accompany the Jewish faith. Signature pieces include menorahs, Kiddush cups, mezuzahs, Shabbat candlesticks, Shabbat plates, Passover Seder plates, and Elijah's cups. Pieces are created using a variety of methods including: slip casting, slab building, or made using a jolly jigger.
About his work, Schwarzbart states:
In Judaism we have the concept hiddur mitzvah, “The Beauty of Holiness.” The idea is to make physically beautiful the objects and spaces used in the performance of ritual. At one level, that is the essence of my work. Trained as an architect, function often serves as my frame of reference. Another focus is the history of particular objects as expressed for millennia. For me, it is important that my work be connected to, and part of, the tradition of Jewish religious objects. (Arnold schwarzbart Artist Statement and bio.doc 8/2017 jk)
Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection of the Knox County Public Library System, Knoxville, Tennessee
Donor Wall, Adas Israel, Washington, DC
Donor Wall, Beth Shalom Village, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Donor Wall, Cedar Village, Cincinnati, Ohio
Donor Wall, Congregation Beth Israel, Northfield, New Jersey
Donor Wall, Congregation B'nai Amoona, St. Louis, Missouri
Donor Wall, Congregation Mikve Israel, Savannah, Georgia
Donor Wall, Heska Amuna Synagogue, Knoxville, Tennessee
Donor Wall, Jewish Agency, Jerusalem, Israel
Donor Wall, Jewish Congregation of Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Donor Wall, Jewish Home and Aging Services of Detroit, Detroit, Michigan
Donor Wall, Kehilath Israel, Overland Park, Kansas
Donor Wall, Laconia Public Library, Laconia, New Hampshire
Donor Wall, Nashville Zoo, Nashville, Tennessee
Donor Wall, Pelham Jewish Center, Pelham Manor, Pelham, New York
Donor Wall, Temple Anshe Sholom, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Donor Wall, United Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, Albany, New York
Donor Wall, Village Shalom, Overland Park, Kansas
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum, New York, New York
Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, Tennessee
Rosenbaum Collection, Heichel Shlomo Synagogue, Jerusalem, Israel
The Arnold Schwarzbart Gallery at the Arnstein Jewish Community Center, Knoxville, Tennessee
Wall sculptures: “Judah” and “Naphtali,” Kehilath Israel, Overland Park, Kansas
Hemachandra, Ray, and Daniel Belasco. 500 Judaica: Innovative Contemporary Ritual Art. New York, NY: Lark Books, 2010.
McRary, Amy. “History & Function: UT exhibit 'Judaica' reflects former architect's faith, family.” Knoxville News Sentinel, July 26, 2008.
Morton, Kathryn. Judaic Artisans Today: Contemporary Judaica in the United States and the Artists Who Created It. Gaithersburg, MD: Flower Valley Press, 2000.
Rockland, Tupa Mae, “The New Work of Our Hands.” Metro Pulse Magazine, June 1994.
Soltes, Ori Z, Tradition and Transformation: Three Millennia of Jewish Art and Architecture. Boulder, CO: Canal Street Studios, 2016.
|This research was supported by a Craft Research Fund grant from The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design, Inc.|
|The Archive of the Southern Highland Craft Guild.|
Citation: Jeffrey Kuratnick. "The Marks Project." Last modified May 2, 2019. http://www.themarksproject.org:443/marks/schwartzbart-zl