Hanging With Hipsters and Hassids

Titles: 2am aka Wheres Waldo (left) & 2am Hassid Farbrengen (right)

The room was abuzz last Thursday night as people, music and colorful images filled the cramped, yet vibrant space of Le Salon d’Art (90 Stanton) for the opening reception of, “Hipsters and Hassids.” The show features the paintings of artist Elke Reva Sudin, who explores parallels within the colliding worlds of Williamsburg hipsters and Hassidic Jews.

Packed tight inside the space, onlookers gazed at paired images side by side: one picture representing the world of “hipsterdom,” and the other representing Hassidic culture – somehow in similar scenarios.  The artist thanked the entire room for coming. She said, “It wouldn’t be hipster without you all.”

Le Salon d’Art itself, combines two contrasting worlds in one space: art gallery and hair salon. A jar of blue disinfectant filled with combs adorned a table, a reminder of what happens in the space during daytime hours.

The crowd, mostly comprised of  20-30 year-olds, was very enthusiastic about the show.  Even the bandmates in “The Hot Johnsons,” who played for the beginning half of the show were all smiles. I was spoke with one of the Mandolin players, Ari Dolegowski (a friend of the artist), who wore a shirt with a Star of David next to a Nike logo, which read, “Just Jew It.” He said, “The show represents a streaming pipeline between Hipsters and Hassidic Jews. It’s nice to have the show in the L.E.S. because this was the original Jewish area.”

Documentary filmmakers Jesse Zook Mann, Evan Kleinman, and Saul Sudin (the artist’s husband), were on hand as well, interviewing people for their film project, Punk Jews.  Mann said the documentary web series is about “people who interpret religion in a Punk way. It’s about DIY culture, while honoring ones heritage.”

Make sure you check out the paintingss, on view through June 12th, to determine for yourself what sort of social dialogue is created by juxtaposing images of these  two very different, or perhaps similar, thriving cultures.