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Whatever Is Contained Must Be Released
Cover of Whatever Is Contained Must Be Released
Whatever Is Contained Must Be Released
My Jewish Orthodox Girlhood, My Life as a Feminist Artist
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'[A] richly evocative, captivating, and reflective memoir" of a feminist artist who broke free of the limits placed on her by family, Judaism and society (Publishers Weekly).

Growing up an Orthodox Jew in Brooklyn, Helene Aylon spent her Friday nights in a sea of extended family as the Sabbath candles flickered. Passionate about art, she dreamt of escaping the strict, secular world of her youth, but instead married a rabbi and became a mother of two. Then, her world was split apart when her husband was diagnosed with cancer, and Aylon found herself widowed at thirty.

Free to explore both her own soul and the changing world around her, Aylon sought a home in the burgeoning environmental art scene of the 1970s—creating transgressive works that explore identity, women's bodies, the environment, disarmament, and the notion of God. Finally, she dares to asks of Judaism: Where are the women?

With many examples of her work included within, Whatever is Contained "is an arresting tale of uncommon courage, intelligence, and wit" following Aylon's search for truth in art, and the links between feminism and Judaism (Gail Levin, author of Lee Krasner: A Biography and Becoming Judy Chicago).
'[A] richly evocative, captivating, and reflective memoir" of a feminist artist who broke free of the limits placed on her by family, Judaism and society (Publishers Weekly).

Growing up an Orthodox Jew in Brooklyn, Helene Aylon spent her Friday nights in a sea of extended family as the Sabbath candles flickered. Passionate about art, she dreamt of escaping the strict, secular world of her youth, but instead married a rabbi and became a mother of two. Then, her world was split apart when her husband was diagnosed with cancer, and Aylon found herself widowed at thirty.

Free to explore both her own soul and the changing world around her, Aylon sought a home in the burgeoning environmental art scene of the 1970s—creating transgressive works that explore identity, women's bodies, the environment, disarmament, and the notion of God. Finally, she dares to asks of Judaism: Where are the women?

With many examples of her work included within, Whatever is Contained "is an arresting tale of uncommon courage, intelligence, and wit" following Aylon's search for truth in art, and the links between feminism and Judaism (Gail Levin, author of Lee Krasner: A Biography and Becoming Judy Chicago).
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About the Author-
  • Helène Aylon is a visual, conceptual, installation performance artist and eco-feminist whose art has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum in New York; the Jewish Museum in New York; The Aldrich Museum in Connecticut; the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, among many others. She has upcoming exhibitions at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. She has known and worked with many major artists and writers of the past forty years, including Ana Mendieta, Grace Paley, Ad Reinhard, and Mark Rothko. She continues to create new art and exhibit throughout the US.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 23, 2012
    American conceptual artist Aylon was raised in Orthodox Jewish Borough Park, Brooklyn, the first girl born into a loving family who would have preferred a boy. In this richly evocative, captivating, and reflective memoir, Aylon describes her personal and professional evolution from her insular and traditional upbringing to living as an artist in Manhattan’s Westbeth artists’ residence and later in Northern California. Aylon’s writing is refreshingly energetic and conversational, vividly evoking the daily life of her childhood and the frequent conflicts she felt between her identity as a mother and daughter in Brooklyn and her emerging artistic identity in Manhattan. Her evolution into a thriving feminist artist and boldly experimental professor of art in 1970s and ’80s-era San Francisco demonstrates an inspiring reflectiveness, sense of self, and self-confidence. Most fascinating is this Jewish feminist’s creative integration of faith and culture into her art and how deeply her religious training informed and complicated her art and life. The inclusion of rare, evocative personal photographs and documents complete this revealing portrait, making it of great interest to anyone interested in Judaism’s intersections with art and feminism.

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    The Feminist Press at CUNY
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Whatever Is Contained Must Be Released
Whatever Is Contained Must Be Released
My Jewish Orthodox Girlhood, My Life as a Feminist Artist
Helène Aylon
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