Jac Lahav’s Great Americans Featured at Longview Museum
At right is one of Lahav’s portraitures featured in the exhibition at the Longview Museum of Fine Arts through December 15. It is of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second female justice of four to be confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States.
“The Great Americans: Works by Jac Lahav” is featured at the Longview Museum of Fine Arts through December 15. The exhibition explores identity, history, and pop culture in 29 full-length portraits. The series, which references a 2005 Discovery Channel show, The Greatest American, asked U.S. citizens to vote for the greatest American. Oprah Winfrey was voted into the Top Ten, eliminating medical researcher and virologist Jonas Salk, the discoverer and developer of one of the first successful polio vaccines.
Lahav combines the concept of celebrity and image consumption versus achievements and contributions. Does fame play a role in how history sees America’s historical figures? Does history do justice for the people portrayed in this exhibition? How do we reconcile the famous Americans’ celebrity status with their achievements? Lahav plays with notions of group identity, individual identity, personal biographies, factual biographies, how clothing reflects identity, fashion, and celebrity. All these ideas come together in this unique series.
Abshalom Jac Lahav is an artist, writer, and curator. He is best known for his unique style of portraiture. Born in Jerusalem, Israel, in 1977, Lahav’s family moved to the United States when he was four. Lahav studied psychology at Wesleyan University and received his Bachelor of Arts in 2000. After this, he studied painting before earning his Master of Fine Arts from Brooklyn College in 2008.
Visually stunning through scale, composition, and use of color, Lahav often presents his audience with an unreadable representation of his subjects. By creating a sense of ambiguity and uncertainty, Lahav questions what is known and what is unknown, notions of personal and political, and what is abstract and what is representational.
Lahav is also known for his series “48 Jews.” Both exhibits have shown at museums such as Richmond Art Museum, Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, The Oregon Jewish Museum and Jewish Museum of Florida. He is the founder of the Midnight Society, an artist-run curatorial project based in Brooklyn, New York.