Biofeedback-generated self-portrait created at MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies
New York City, USA
|Known for||experimental art|
Mel (Menahem) Alexenberg is an artist and art educator best known for his explorations of the intersections between art, science, technology and culture through his artworks, teaching, writing and blogging.
He was born and educated in New York City, where he earned degrees in biology from Queens College, City University of New York and in education from Yeshiva University, and an interdisciplinary doctorate in art, science, and psychology from New York University. He lives in Ra'anana, Israel, with his wife, artist Miriam Benjamin. They have four children, Iyrit, Ari, Ron, and Moshe, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Alexenberg’s artworks are in the collections of more than forty museums worldwide including Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art in New York, High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Baltimore Museum of Art, Cincinnati Art Museum, Denver Art Museum, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Portland Museum of Art in Oregon, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, Museum der Moderne Kunst in Vienna, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Haags Gemeentemuseum in the Netherlands, Jewish Museum in Prague, Israel Museum in Jerusalem, and Malmo Museum in Sweden.
As an educator in the US, Alexenberg served as professor of art and education at Columbia University, head of the art department at Pratt Institute, research fellow at MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, and dean of visual arts at New World School of the Arts in Miami. In Israel, he has taught at Tel Aviv University, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, University of Haifa, Bar-Ilan University, Ariel University, and was head of the School of the Arts at Emuna College in Jerusalem. Alexenberg has served as a member of the Council of the Wolf Foundation that awards the international Wolf Prizes in the sciences and arts. He was appointed to the Council by the President of Israel upon the recommendation of the Minister of Education (2002-2017).
His works explore relationships between the networked world and spirituality, postdigital art and Jewish consciousness, participatory art and community, and space-time systems and electronic technologies. Millions throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia have seen his blogart, environmental sculptures, multi-media installations, telecommunications art events, and exhibitions of paintings and prints that explore digital technologies and global systems. The leading American art magazine, ARTnews, praised his LightsOROT exhibition created in collaboration with Otto Piene at MIT for Yeshiva University Museum in New York by writing: “Rarely is an exhibition as visually engaging and intellectually challenging.” Alexenberg's papers, exhibition catalogs, and art project documents are in the collection of the Archives of American Art of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
- LightsOROT: Spiritual Dimensions of the Electronic Age (Yeshiva University Museum, 1988)
- Cyberangels: Aesthetic Peace Plan for the Middle East (Jewish Museum in Prague, 2004)
- Hidden Garden: An Art Journey into a Leaf (Jerusalem Botanical Gardens, 2007–2009)
- Photograph God (Kuhn Fine Arts Gallery, Ohio State University, 2010)
- Silent Witnesses: Bar Mitzvah in a Brooklyn Mosque (Holocaust Memorial Center, Detroit, 2012)
- Shaping Community: Poetics and Politics of the Eruv (Yale University Art Galleries, 2012)
- Photograph God: Creating a Spiritual Blog of Your Life (North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace, 2015) ISBN 978-1507658895
- The Future of Art in a Postdigital Age: From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness (Bristol and Chicago: Intellect Books/University of Chicago Press, 2011) ISBN 978-1-84150-377-6
- Educating Artists for the Future: Learning at the Intersections of Art, Science, Technology and Culture (Bristol and Chicago: Intellect Books/University of Chicago Press, 2008) ISBN 978-1-84150-191-8
- Dialogic Art in a Digital World: Four Essays on Judaism and Contemporary Art (Jerusalem: Reuven Mass House, 2008) in Hebrew ISBN 978-965-09-0227-8
- The Future of Art in a Digital Age (Bristol and Chicago: Intellect Books/University of Chicago Press, 2006) ISBN 978-1-84150-136-9
- Aesthetic Experience in Creative Process (Ramat Gan, Israel: Bar-Ilan University Press, 1981) ISBN 965-226-013-4
- Light and Sight (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1970)
- A Unitary Model of Aesthetic Experience in Art and Science (doctoral dissertation, New York University, 1969)
He has written numerous papers and book chapters: including: "Postdigital Consciousness" in Archithese (2012), "Eruv as Conceptual and Kinetic Art" in Images (2011), "Space-Time Structures of Digital Visual Culture: Paradigm Shift from Hellenistic to Hebraic Roots of Western Civilization" in Inter/sections/Inter/actions: Art Education in a Digital Visual Culture (2010), "Autoethnographic Identification of Realms of Learning for Art Education in a Post-Digital Age" in International Journal of Education through Art (2008), “Ancient Schema and Technoetic Creativity” in Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research (2006), “From Science to Art: Integral Structure and Ecological Perspective in a Digital Age” in Interdisciplinary Art Education: Building Bridges to Connect Disciplines and Cultures (2005), “Semiotic Redefinition of Art in a Digital Age” in Semiotics and Visual Culture: Sights, Signs, and Significance (2004), "Creating Public Art through Intergenerational Collaboration" in Art Education (2004), "An Interactive Dialogue: Talmud and the Net" in Parabola (2004), “Wright and Gehry: Biblical Consciousness in Postmodern Architecture” in Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education (2003), and “Jewish Consciousness and Art of the Digital Age’ in Journal of Judaism and Civilization (2003). He is former art editor of The Visual Computer: International Journal of Computer Graphics.
Ori Z. Soltis. Tradition and Transformation: Three Millennia of Jewish Art and Architecture. Canal Street Studios, 2016. ISBN 978-1530201273. Ori Z. Soltis. Fixing the World: Jewish American Painters in the Twentieth Century. Brandeis University Press, 2003. ISBN 1-58465-049-4. Who's Who in American Art, 2016. ISBN 978-0-8379-6316-7.