In his new exhibit at UCLA’s Hillel, “Super Heroes, Holy Land,” Brynjegard-Bialik presents comic-book panels that have been chopped up and remodeled into Jewish holy sites. In one, speech bubbles and desert backgrounds are laid out to look like the Western Wall. In another, a series of mystical, magical comics are worked into a Safed passageway. In the piece “Fantastic City,” Brynjegard-Bialik models the winding, zigzagging, rocky passageways of the Old City of Jerusalem’s four quarters into the Fantastic Four.
Perhaps in other hands, these pieces would be cheap or kitschy. But for Brynjegard-Bialik, whose wife is a rabbi, his devotion fuels and electrifies these pieces. His piece in “Jacob and Esav,” for instance, is based on another mythic sibling feud: that between Thor/Loki.
“Super Heroes, Holy Land” is showing at the UCLA Hillel through March before traveling to other destinations. If you’re in the area, go see it! And if not, you can check out the exhibition catalog right here.