05 February 2019

On Participatory Art

Art Linking Jerusalem in Israel and JerUSAlems in USA is a group of participatory artworks in which the artist Mel Alexenberg invites people in Israel and USA to join with him in creating a collaborative work of art. Unlike the solitary role of the visual artist in his studio, the role of the artist in a networked world is shifting to becoming more like the role of the playwright/producer/director in theater and film, the composer/conductor in music and the choreographer in dance.

In her seminal book on trends in postmodern art, The Reenchantment of Art, Suzi Gablik proposes, “a new paradigm of participation in which art will begin to redefine itself in terms social relatedness…encouraging the emergence of a more participatory, social interactive framework for art, and supporting the transition from art-for-art’s-sake assumptions of late modernism.”

As the artist of 
Art Linking Jerusalem in Israel and JerUSAlems in USA, I create the conceptual framework, craft the score/script, and form a team of collaborators who together under my baton bring into being an aesthetic work of participatory art.

16 October 2018

Cyberangel Artworks in Museum Collections in States with Places Called JerUSAlem

Alexenberg's cyberangel artworks are in the collections of art museums in some of the states where there are places called Jerusalem: Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, Alabama; University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; Museum of Modern Art, New York City; Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio; Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, Tennessee; and High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia. 

He created them (1986-87) at Pratt Institute in New York when he was head of the art department.  His cyberangel artwork is also represented in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History as a pioneering exemplar of computer-generated fine art printmaking.

Long Island Angels
Angel Announcing Birth of Samson to Manoah
Day Angels
Angels Ascending from the Land of Israel

The serigraph above in the collection of the Israel Museum was created by Mel Alexenberg at the museum affiliated Burston Graphics Center in Jerusalem, Israel.  It inspired the cover of the artist's newest book Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media.  The book provides the conceptual background for his cyberangel artworks: fine art prints, paintings, global telecommunications events, and the digital flight of cyberangels from Jerusalem in Israel to JerUSAlems in USA and throughout the world. 

05 October 2018

Cyberangels to Fly from Jerusalem in Israel to Places Named JerUSAlem in USA

“He [Jacob] had a vision in a dream. A ladder was standing on the ground, its top reaching up towards heaven as Divine angels were going up and down on it.” (Genesis 28:12)

The artwork above “Angels Ascending from the Land of Israel” is in the collection of The Israel Museum in Jerusalem. I created it at a graphics center affiliated with the museum.  It  shows digitized Rembrandt angels going up from a NASA satellite image of the Land of Israel.  

These cyberangels are being animated to fly via digital technologies from Jerusalem in Israel to the twelve US states having places named JerUSAlem and on to the rest of the world. Digital age art events are a contemporary realization of the biblical commentary that angels go up on Jacob’s ladder from the Land of Israel and come down throughout the world.


Students at Emunah College of the Arts in Jerusalem are creating smartphone videos of food in everyday life in Israel from which the cyberangels emerge. These videos will explore the idea that the biblical words for food and angel are written with the same four Hebrew letters to teach us that angels are spiritual messages arising from everyday life.

The cyberangel launching events from Israel will correspond with the launching of my book Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media and the Global Tribute to Rembrandt. See the book’s blog at http://throughabiblelens.blogspot.com and scroll down for descriptions of some of my earlier events: “Cyberangels Circle the Globe via AT&T Satellites” seen by millions, and The New York Times article “Artist’s Angel to Fly by Computer.” 

See my article in The Times of Israel https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/jerusalem-usa-see-the-20-jerusalems-in-usa/

19 June 2013

JerUSAlem-USA Blogart Project

Jerusalems in Rhode Island, Utah and Michigan
Everyone with a camera is invited to be part of this jerUSAlem-usa participatory art project.  Send your photos as jpg images of life in the many places called Jerusalem in USA to melalexenberg@yahoo.com. Also tell us the story of how the place got the name "Jerusalem." 

Locations of Jerusalems in USA
Jerusalem, Alabama, [Place] is in Lawrence County; location is 34°42'18"N 87°13'37"W
Jerusalem, Arkansas, [Place] is in Conway County; location is 35°24'17"N 92°49'0"W; Zip Code is 72080
Jerusalem, Georgia, [Place] is in Camden County; location is 30°58'41"N 81°50'45"W
Jerusalem, Georgia, [Place] is in Pickens County; location is 34°26'30"N 84°34'56"W
Jerusalem, Maryland, [Place] is in Baltimore County; location is 39°27'46"N 76°23'22"W
Jerusalem, Maryland, [Place] is in Frederick County; location is 39°31'27"N 77°34'49"W
Jerusalem, Maryland, [Place] is in Harford County; location is 39°27'46"N 76°23'22"W
Jerusalem, Maryland, [Place] is in Montgomery County; location is 39°9'33"N 77°24'23"W
Jerusalem, Michigan, [Place] is in Washtenaw County; location is 42°16'29"N 83°58'55"W
Jerusalem, New York, [Township] is in Yates County; location is 42°37'13"N 77°8'35"W; Zip Code is 14418
Jerusalem Corners, New York, [Hamlet] is in the Town of Evans in Erie County; location is 42°40'93"N 79°00'98"W
Jerusalem, North Carolina, [Place] is in Davie County; location is 35°48'54"N 80°30'57"W
Jerusalem, Ohio, [Populated Place] is in Monroe County; location is 39°51'6"N 81°5'33"W
Jerusalem, Ohio, [Village]; location is 39°51'N 81°6'W; Zip Code is 43747
Jerusalem, Rhode Island, [Place] is in Washington County; location is 41°22'36"N 71°31'5"W
Jerusalem, Tennessee, [Place] is in Lincoln County; location is 35°14'36"N 86°47'4"W
Jerusalem, Utah, [Place] is in Sanpete County; location is 39°33'50"N 111°39'25"W
Jerusalem, Vermont, [Place] is in Addison County; location is 44°10'11"N 72°58'15"W
Jerusalem, Vermont, [Place] is in Windsor County; location is 43°50'18"N 72°46'27"W

23 October 2011

Jerusalem, Ohio

Jerusalem resident Joy Yontz is a fifth grade teacher. She invited her students to photograph their Jerusalem, a town in an agricultural area in the rugged hills of eastern Ohio. Their photographic sequence begins and ends with images titled "Good morning Jerusalem" and "Good night Jerusalem." We see children's views of their rural town: rooster announcing dawn, entrance to Jerusalem, Amish buggy on a rainy day, snowy day, old school, Jerusalem post office, quilt barn, pumpkin harvest, painted pumpkins on Miss Clevenger's porch, Allison showing her goat at the county fair, tractor, Jim riding his horse Penny, and wild turkeys in a corn field.

Jerusalem, Ohio
by Jerusalem Resident Joy Yontz

The first house was built in 1825. By 1847, there were only three residences in the area that was to become Jerusalem. The Quaker religious group built a church and named it Jerusalem. It is thought that Jerusalem (the town) was named after the church. The Quakers moved from the area and about 1860 the building was remodeled and used as a hotel. The Ohio River & Western Railroad went through Jerusalem until forced out of business in 1931 by a combination of automobile competition and the Great Depression. There are no signs of the railroad left in the small village.

The People and Families of Jerusalem: As of 2010 Census
There are an estimated 161 people in the village corporation limits; 1,079 people with a Jerusalem address. About 61% of adults are married. Approximately 79% of housing in Jerusalem is owner-occupied. 93% of the residents drive to work. The following statistics are based on the population with a Jerusalem address: Total Population 1,079 - Male, 538; Female 541; Median Age 37.4; Race - White 1,051, Black or African American 9; Indian American 2; Asian 14; Hispanic or Latino 1; Average family size 3.09; Occupied housing units 401; High School Graduate or higher 604; Bachelor’s Degree or higher 80; Speak a language other than English at home 6.

The first and only school in town was built in 1884. It was a two story frame building at the west end of Church Street. That building was replaced in 1920 with a three room building. Jerusalem had a high school until 1929. Elementary students continued to attend the Jerusalem School until the fall of 1958 when they were transferred to Beallsville Elementary School. The building now serves as a Community and Recreation Center.

The earliest records found of the Church of Christ date back to about 1907 when meetings were held in the homes of members and then in one of the rooms of the Jerusalem School. They purchased a building lot in 1912 for $150. The congregation still worships in the building on Main Street.  Beginning in 1852, Methodist services were held in the private residence of Jacob Lawrence. They purchased a building in 1960. In the past few years, there have been several Amish families move into the area. There is now a large population of Amish and they travel to each other’s homes to worship.

There is a dairy farm on the west side of town. The surrounding rural area also has many farms where dairy cattle, beef cattle, goats, and produce are raised. The public water system, Switzerland of Ohio Water District, has an office in the corporation limits. They serve the town’s people and any others who have city water in the surrounding area. However, many people still have their own private water wells to supply their homes and farms with water.

The people of Jerusalem are either self-employed or work at the coal mines or steel mill. Ohio Valley Coal and Century Mine are employers of a large number of residents; they are both located within 5 -10 miles of the town. Ormet, a steel mill, is located along the Ohio River. The only other employer, which is within close proximity of the town, is the local school district, Switzerland of Ohio Local Schools. This is the only school district in Monroe County and also includes part of Belmont County. It is the largest school district in Ohio, geographically, has 2 high schools, 1 pre-K/12 school, and 5 elementary schools. The children in Jerusalem, Ohio attend Beallsville Public School; a Pre-K to 12th grade building with under 400 students.

Jerusalem is a very small, rural village and the largest city is an hour’s drive. However, the Switzerland of Ohio Country Club, along with Wilson Lake, is about ½ mile from the east side of town. It offers the residents an opportunity to enjoy a round of golf and/or a day of fishing. The residents who enjoy horseback riding, rodeos, and mutton busting spend many hours at the Grizzle Ridge Arena.

During winter, sled riding, ice skating, and snow days from school are fun for all. Many participate in the different hunting seasons: deer, turkey, raccoon, mink, muskrat, beaver, rabbit, squirrel, and goose are a few. The summer months bring the county fair for the 4-H groups. Children and adults enjoy the week of taking their animals and/or projects to be displayed and judged. This is the beginning for many who will become our future farmers and veterinarians. Others learn the importance of other topics from money management to computer graphics.

31 October 2009

Jerusalem, North Carolina

About the photographer: Maria Howard is a studio art major at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina studying photography with Professor Leo Morissey.

29 October 2009

Jerusalem, Michigan 4

Jordan Long traveled with his friend Cranbrook MFA student PD Rearick to Jerusalem, MI, where he photographed Tillie Whit in her sunflower field, with her dog Bucky, her home and backyard swing. He wrote how he was blessed to have met such an amazing lady who lives in one of the five houses in Jerusalem, Michigan, and had been to the original Jerusalem in Israel.

26 October 2009

Jerusalem, Utah 7

Snow College photography student Molly Davis wrote:
A long, dry, dirt road led up to the town. There were old decaying cabins and sheds, log cabins, and tiny houses where the people lived. A car came down the dirt road with a lady wearing a pink hat and pink lipstick. She introduced herself as Laura Phelps, “Mayor” of the town. She was sweet and excited about the JerUSAlem-USA project when we explained it to her. She told us about the history of little Jerusalem that was established by her great-grandfather.

Walking down the road was a man in his flannel shirt and worn out jeans with his eight-month-old Great Dane puppy. You could hardly call her a puppy. She was huge. The man was in the process of training her. Her jumping all over the place scared me. The man, who did not want to be identified, told us about his great-great-grandmother and how she lived in the broken down blue bus in his shed. He then left to help his neighbor with a farming project. The farming equipment was painted in beautiful bright colors, which was humorous because the town itself was very dry and bland with green trees and hills behind it. I felt a sense of beauty there even with the “No Trespassing” and “Keep Out” signs.

22 October 2009

Jerusalem, Michigan 3

About the photographer: Ginger Owen is Assistant Professor and Area Coordinator for Photography and Intermedia at the College of Fine Arts of Western Michigan University. She photographed Jerusalem, Michigan, a dart road street about a mile long with less than 15 houses on the street. It is surrounded by corn fields and farmland.

Jerusalem, Michigan 2

About the photographer: Paul-David Rearick is a MFA student of photography professor Liz Cohen at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. He photographed the main road through Jerusalem, Michigan, one of five houses in ‘downtown’ Jerusalem, the foundation of the creek mill, and Ms. Tillie Whit and her dog Bucky.

Jerusalem,Utah 6

About the photographer: Heaston Dahl is a photography student at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah.