Helène Aylon’s Biography
Helène Aylon is an artist who has addressed what she perceives as the three landscapes of feminism of the last three decades: biological, ecological, theological. Born, raised and schooled in the Orthodox tradition in Borough Park, Brooklyn, she married an Orthodox rabbi at age 18 and lived the life of a rabbi's wife until his untimely death the week of her 30th birthday. In the last years of the marriage, Aylon studied art at Brooklyn College with Ad Reinhardt, who encouraged her greatly. The mural, “Ruach,” that Aylon painted at Kennedy airport became the bridge between Aylon’s former life and the start of a search for a deeper spiritual ethic in the Torah. In 1973, Aylon moved to California to teach art at San Francisco State University and stayed for a decade. In the 1980s, she united Arabic and Jewish women in “A Stone Carrying.” In 1982, she drove an “Earth Ambulance” cross-country as a participatory performance, stopping at military sites to gather earth into pillowcases donated by hundreds of women. The ambulance and pillowcases are a permanent installation at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art in Peekskill, NY. Since the 1990s, she has explored the omission of women in the Jewish tradition and the projection of patriarchal values onto G-d. “The Liberation of G-d” is a permanent acquisition at The Jewish Museum in New York, and the “Digital Liberation of G-d” is a permanent exhibit in the San Francisco JCC.
Text of biography of Jewish feminist artist Helène Aylon for the Jewish Women's Archive online exhibition "Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution."