GUEST BLOG POST: Deborah Greniman, Managing Editor of Nashim, discusses serendipitous connections between themes and artwork in the new issue, Nashim 26.
It began with author Patricia Vertinsky’s article in the current issue of Nashim (26) on turn-of-the-20th-century Russian Jewish dancer Ida Rubinstein and her decadent “art of the beautiful pose.” In one of her first sensational roles, Rubinstein—bosom friend of Romaine Brooks, Sarah Bernhardt and Gabriele D’Annunzio—thrilled and scandalized Paris in 1908 as Salomé, in her own wordless staged production of Oscar Wilde’s banned play about the dancing daughter of Herodias, said in Christian myth to have demanded the head of John the Baptist on a platter.
As Vertinsky’s article was being prepared for press, a poetry submission arrived from New York-based poet and performance artist Adeena Karasick, Professor of Communications and Media Studies at Fordham University. Drawn from her composition Salomé: Woman of Valor, which premiered in a multidisciplinary performance with Frank London’s Klezmatics at the Tribeca New Music Festival in New York on May 14, it features a dialogue between Salomé—in Karasick’s words, “a freedom fighter … who rejoices in her sexuality, in transgressive passion, in the ardorous fervor of female eroticism”—and John the Baptist:
i say come
Come crowded with fluid runes perfumed
and naked as echoes ripple, buzzed
thirsty as plumy flumes
Come gazing through aperçu ersatz
bathed in micro ceremonies
of dissolute amplitudes
moistened with wrenched whispers, drifts
As art editor, Judith Margolis, and I mulled the choice of a cover image for the issue, I mentioned that, serendipitously, we would be publishing two works in which Salomé’s image is prominent. Her imagination piqued, Margolis began searching the internet to see who else might be working on Salomé. Her search led her to Anya Roz, a New-York based Russian Jewish artist at work on a haunting art photograph series of biblical beheadings. The discovery of Roz yielded not only a striking cover image of the biblical Judith with Holofernes’ head, but also a feature on Roz’s current work and a series of evocative illustrations for Karasick’s poem.
In a (perhaps not) final turn of the story, Karasick met Roz at her studio in New York. The result was a stunning poster for the production of Salomé: Woman of Valor, showing a masked Karasick as Salomé.
For me, bringing together the work of brilliant and creative individuals is the very heart of editing a journal. But rarely is the synergy of an issue so visually spectacular.
Deborah Greniman, Managing Editor, NASHIM
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