Bible Review 16:2, April 2000

Casting Genesis

George’s Segal’s biblical sculptures

By Jack Miles

The familiar, the quotidian, the unexalted—these are the subjects of George Segal’s most famous sculptures. The American artist’s best-known works may be mentally arranged as a walk through a typical small city—out the front door of a diner onto the street corner, down the road past the gas station, the dry cleaner and the park bench, up a narrow staircase to a cramped apartment, along the corridor into the bathroom, and eventually into the bedroom. There is a Segal work for each of these places.

But what happens when Segal’s mind and eye are turned loose on the most mythological, the most exalted, the most timeless of all texts—the Book of Genesis?

In the past half century, while working on his now-famous scenes of American life, Segal produced a series of much less familiar works based on the first book of the Bible—dramatic scenes inhabited by plaster figures of Adam and Eve, Abraham and Isaac, and other figures from Genesis.

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