Seeing is Believing

The artist relates in her new book, the typically tongue-in cheek-titled The (In)Complete Works of Jo – 30 Years of Visual Midrash

August 1, 2018 17:50
JO MILGROM poses among some of her works during her exhibition at the Jerusalem Theater

JO MILGROM poses among some of her works during her exhibition at the Jerusalem Theater. (photo credit: RICKI ROSEN)


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Ask Jo Milgrom a question, and the chances are the response will leave you with more food for thought. If, for example, you ask about the significance of one of her works of art, and embellish your question with a suggested meaning of your own, it is more than likely Milgrom’s answer will start out along the lines of “Well, it could be,” or “That’s one way of looking at it,” or possibly “Whatever you think.” More often than not, the verbal rejoinder is accompanied by a shrug of her shoulders, and a gentle smile.
Milgrom, who recently turned 90, is currently exhibiting a selection of her works at the Jerusalem Theater under the teasing and pretty enigmatic title of “Whatever Is Whole Has First Been Broken.” That doesn’t make sense, I proffer when we meet up at her delightful high-ceilinged abode not far from the theater. Surely, to have something that is broken you have to start out with something that is whole, which you break, no? I get a friendly shrug for my querying pains.

Milgrom hails from the United States, and eventually – officially - made aliyah with her late husband Rabbi Jacob Milgrom around 20 years ago. The couple had already spent three years here in the late 1960s to early 1970s, although their initial visit here was made as far back as 1950, “on the first El Al flight from New York,” Milgrom noted when we first met a couple of years ago. That was around the time of her previous showing at the theater, which was entertainingly called “The Spiritual in Curious Trash.”


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