Photo: ©2016 Dan Franklin Smith

The Artist


New York City artist Stanley Bulbach creates his unique contemporary art using the Classical Near Eastern carpet weaving arts as his medium of artistic expression.  The prized, traditional materials are his "canvas" and "paints."

Throughout the millennia the Near Eastern arts of making carpets have been esteemed and treasured for their beauty, their artistic expressiveness, and their cultural significance.  And even though he creates his art work to the same material specifications as pieces traditionally created for use on the ground, he intends his work to be enjoyed and appreciated mounted on the wall as contemporary art.

Stanley Bulbach grew up in the New York metropolitan area.  His family who had worked in the local garment industry and in wood carving at Steinway Pianos imbued in him a respect for fine craftsmanship and the qualities of its materials.

The early part of his education was focused on science and technology, which he found fascinating.  But he soon grew even more interested in our historic and cultural origins.  After finishing a BA in History of Religion, he then continued and earned an MA and a PhD in Near Eastern Studies at New York University, focusing on the ancient Mesopotamian roots of our civilization.

During his studies he traveled through the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and fell in love with Near Eastern carpets, especially the flatwoven carpets from North Africa.  Working in the fiber arts and contemporary craft movements then blossoming in the 1970s, Bulbach mastered the skills of preparing the traditional materials and weaving Near Eastern style flatwoven carpets.  He has traveled throughout the US and Canada lecturing and teaching, and has published extensively in the field.

In addition to the Near Eastern influences, his work is strongly influenced by his life in Manhattan, a small, crowded, noisy island populated by millions of people of differing backgrounds and ideas from all over the world.  Bulbach volunteers time and skills to working on issues important to his local community.  He reflects that "weaving together divergent opinions and concerns into successful solutions for the community's challenging problems in New York City is often similar to weaving together the somewhat wild long wools and natural dyes into a finished carpet."

As a contemporary artist in New York City Bulbach uses the skills and prized original materials to create a corpus of work that engages the eye and all our feeling senses.  After all, the word "aesthetic" does not only mean "seeing" but comes instead from the Classical Greek for "feeling," the opposite of "anesthetic."

At the beginning of his artistic career, Bulbach's work perplexed many art authorities who deemed it "Outsider Art" because they felt there was no important significance of the Near East to our contemporary Western culture.

Now, after the dawning of the new century, Bulbach's art seems prescient in the way that it speaks to the importance of the Near East to our Western lives and culture.  Bulbach's art work addresses crucial questions like that head on.  Who were we?  Where have we come from?  Where are we now?  Where are we going?

What more important questions could art address today?