From photo essays to fine art, our Special Exhibit space hosts the compelling past-and-present stories of Jewish communities, individuals, and ideas throughout the American South.

January 26, 2022 – May 31, 2022

“God, Goats and Pickup Trucks: Maurice Schmidt’s Visions of Texas”
On View

By turns rural and religious, Jewish Texan artist Maurice Schmidt’s bold, colorful work celebrates the deep connection between the land and the divine that has come to characterize life in the so-called Bible Belt. This collection of 23 artworks, including paintings, sketches, prints and sculpture, ranges over the diverse Texas landscape through subjects both pastoral and holy: farmhands transport livestock, a matador soars over a bull, three men in prayer shawls carry Torah scrolls. 

Full of movement and meaning, Schmidt’s work is a dramatic exploration of Southerness inspired by Jewishness, expressed in a visual, sensory medium. “There are holy spaces between the soil and the tractor above (where the crops will grow), between trees and their shade,” Schmidt has said, noting that “art that would praise God must touch the human heart.”

Pictured: “Herdsmen are we, both we and thy fathers,” oil on canvas, Maurice Schmidt, 2012