Leonard Meiselman, Double Self Portrait, 2003
The Art of Aging: An Unapologetic Look at the Inevitable
In a unique exploration of the human experience, the Museum of Biblical Art presents a new exhibition
entitled The Art of Aging, featuring works by an ensemble cast of contemporary Jewish artists, including Leonard Meiselman, Samuel Bak, and Leonard Everett Fisher. Through a variety of media from oil painting and drawing to drypoint and lithography, artists highlight experiences central to the aging process.
The Art of Aging seeks to challenge the ubiquitous notion that growing old is undesirable, ugly, or
somehow wrong. It holds a magnifying glass to wrinkles and loneliness but devotes equal attention to the values of maturity, understanding, wisdom – even zest – inherent to the Jewish perspective of aging. MBA Director, Scott Peck, cites the exhibit’s special relevance in Dallas. He notes, “We live in a city – and culture – that actively avoids growing old; these works of art defend the aging process as a meaningful and cherished part of life.” Of the collection, curator Laura Kruger adds, “Each of the works in this exhibition captures the vibrancy of life lived to its fullest, even as it seemingly slows down.”
The topic of aging is a serious one, but the artwork displayed is not without humor. The exhibit pairs
cheeky works reminiscent of New Yorker cartoons with others that treat such heavy topics as physical decline and diminished memory with appropriate gravitas. Titles like “Family Exercise Class” and “Old Man’s Departure” demonstrate this simultaneous levity and solemnness. The whole exhibit tells the important story of life and relationships in our later years, and each piece calls viewers to consider the inevitability of growing old with audacity, respect, and ultimately, optimism.