The Passover Haggadah
  Modern Art in Dialogue with an Ancient Text
      Rose Ann Chasman
     
     

Rose Ann Chasman was a Chicago-born artist who worked in mediums from paper cuts to ketubot to calligraphy. Her satirical "Stuffed Nose" sculpture is well-known for its comment on anti-Semitism. The artist was known for her blending of art and Judaism in innovative ways that few other artists have accomplished. She studied at Antioch College, the University of Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago, but the skills she was best known for-her paper cuts and calligraphic art-were self-taught. She often used letters of the Hebrew alphabet as important elements in her work. In an artist's statement in a catalog for a show that contained her work, Chasman wrote, "For us as Jews, text study is a religious act. My art comes from a dialogue with the classic sources-an ongoing lively conversation with my Source, my Spur, my Toughest Client-a dialogue by turns moving, infuriating, challenging and inspiring." She often expressed her struggle with the meaning of being "a woman artist" and "a Jewish woman artist," and wrote, "As an artist, one works with all of one's being-gender, faith (or doubt), ethnicity, family, health, age, hurricanes! I bring all my life experiences to the table, and Judaism is an essential component, whether I do Hebrew calligraphy or an apparently abstract piece." She worked in book arts for over 20 years, constantly pushing the boundaries of these crafts with innovative materials and techniques. The letters of the Hebrew alphabet, traditionally seen as God's first creation and used in mystic meditation, are an important element in her work. Chasman died in 2007.

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