Warhol’s “Minyan,” Paired Up
For his “Jewish Geniuses” portrait series, Andy Warhol ended up choosing 10 subjects — coincidentally (or not?), the number of Jews you need to start a religious service. (Technically, I’ve been told, a minyan is traditionally 10 men — but as a feminist Jew, I think I’ll just go with a gender-free definition.) As I have been working on Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews?, I’ve found it helpful to pair up the 10 — not for any thematic reasons, necessarily, just as a mnemonic device:
- Ein/Stein: Albert Einstein and Gertrude Stein.
- Rhapsody in Lou: George Gershwin and former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis.
- Acting Out: Sarah Bernhardt and Sigmund Freud.
- Metameirphosis: Franz Kafka and Golda Meir.
- I and Thou (and Thou and Thou): Religious philosopher Martin Buber (author of I and Thou) and the Marx Brothers.
Now, you may notice that — with the Marx Brothers — there are actually 12 members of Warhol’s minyan (not even counting Zeppo or Gummo!). So, okay, let’s call this a “baker’s minyan.”