Teddy Poneman, MFA 2019

March 20 - 23, 2019

Opening Reception March 22, 6-8pm

Artist Statement

In Jewish folklore a golem is a clay monster, traditionally made by a desperate rabbi trying to protect their community. Ultimately the golem becomes too powerful and destroys what it was created to protect. Golems refer specifically to Ashkenazi Jewish culture and history, but they also tell a universal story of masculine responses to marginalization and desperation. In my current body of work I embody the golem through performance as a reaction to my experiences as a white Jewish American man. My white male body represents enormous privilege, but the resurgence of fascism in America has challenged my sense of safety. As both golem and maker I try to understand the fascism, anti-Semitism, and ethno-nationalism that I witness at home and around the world. The legacy of the golem demonstrates that contemporary events are a continuation of world history, not a modern aberration. While I feel powerless as an individual in the face of injustice, the golem makes it clear that we cannot turn to a monster to save us. Golems represent the destruction and violence of dehumanization; their failure proves the importance of embracing our shared humanity, and working in solidarity against forces of oppression.