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The Jewish Museum Sets July-Sept Exhibits

The Jewish Museum Sets July-Sept Exhibits

The Jewish Museum is dedicated to the enjoyment, understanding, and preservation of the artistic and cultural heritage of the Jewish people through its unparalleled collections, distinguished exhibitions, and related education programs.


September 9, 2011 through January 29, 2012

The first major United States exhibition to pay tribute to award-winning author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats (1916-1983), whose beloved children's books include Whistle for Willie (1964), Peter's Chair (1967), and The Snowy Day (1962), opens at The Jewish Museum on September 9, 2011 and remains on view through January 29, 2012. Published at the height of the American civil-rights movement and winner of the prestigious Caldecott Medal, The Snowy Day became a milestone, featuring the first African-American protagonist in a full-color picture book. The Snowy Day went on to become an inspiration for generations of readers, and paved the way for multiracial representation in American children's literature. The dilapidated urban settings of Keats's stories are also pioneering - picture books had rarely featured such gritty landscapes before. The author and illustrator was born Jacob (Jack) Ezra Katz in Brooklyn. His parents were Eastern European Jewish immigrants and very poor. Primarily self-taught, he drew upon memories of growing up in East New York, one of the most deprived neighborhoods in New York City. Yet his work transcends the personal and reflects the universal concerns of children. Keats used lush color in his paintings and collages and strove for simplicity in his texts. The exhibition features over 80 original works by the artist, from preliminary sketches and dummy books, to final paintings and collages, including examples of Keats's most introspective but less-known output inspired by Asian art and haiku poetry. Documentary material and photographs will also be on view. Following its New York City showing at The Jewish Museum, The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats will travel to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA (June 26-October 14, 2012); the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, CA (November 15, 2012-February 24, 2013); and the Akron Art Museum (March-June 2013). The Jewish Museum exhibition is part of a wide-scale celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Snowy Day.

July 31 through October 23, 2011

In the installation, Maya Zack: Living Room, the artist and filmmaker takes a Jewish family's apartment in 1930s Berlin as inspiration for this room-sized work, using 3D technology and sound to explore the past and how it is remembered. With four large-scale, computer-generated 3D prints, Zack shows cross-sections of the living room, dining room, kitchen and other spaces, including furniture, appliances, tableware, wallpaper and light fixtures. 3D glasses enhance these oversized (47.2" high x 118.1" wide) images and give them immediacy and depth. While much attention has been paid to the major world events of the era, Zack's piece serves as a reminder that ordinary lives were interrupted by the catastrophic events of the Holocaust. The installation is based on the remembrances of Manfred Nomburg, a German-born Jew now living in Israel, who fled Berlin in 1938 as a boy. His vivid memories of the Berlin apartment where he lived with his parents and brother before the war recall life in an average home, comfortable but not opulent, with furniture and housewares typical of the time and place. While looking at the images, visitors will hear a sound recording of Nomburg's stories about his family's home, adding texture and a sense of time to the installation. Recollections of the familiar objects and Nomburg's anecdotes bring the rooms and their contents back to life.


Through July 31, 2011

This first major museum survey of the work of illustrator, author and designer Maira Kalman features a selection spanning thirty years of 100 original paintings, drawings, and sketches shown along with the many ways Kalman's work has entered contemporary culture - in books and magazines, and on commercial products, from clothing to watches. Less widely seen works in photography, embroidery, textiles, and performance are also included. Kalman illuminates contemporary life with a profound sense of joy and unique sense of humor. As a context for this survey, Kalman has created a special installation to reveal some source material she has gathered as collector, walker, traveler, reader and maker of lists. Furnished with chairs, ladders and "many tables of many things," this installation offers a view of how she sees the world, both in and outside the studio. Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World) is organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Through September 25, 2011

Henri Matisse called them "my two Baltimore ladies." Their friend Gertrude Stein wrote a poem about them entitled "Two Women." The sisters Dr. Claribel Cone (1864-1929) and Miss Etta Cone (1870-1949) began buying art directly out of the Parisian studios of avant-garde artists in 1905. Although their taste for this radical art was little understood - critics disparaged Matisse at the time and Pablo Picasso was virtually unknown - the Cones followed their passions and eventually amassed one of the world's greatest art collections. The Jewish Museum is presenting Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters: The Cone Sisters of Baltimore, an exhibition of over 50 works from The Baltimore Museum of Art's internationally renowned Cone Collection. Paintings, sculptures and works on paper by such artists as Matisse, Picasso, Cézanne, Gauguin, Renoir, and van Gogh are featured. Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters focuses on the remarkable vision of these two Jewish sisters from Baltimore and the personal relationships they formed with of-the-moment contemporary artists as they shaped their extraordinary collection. In addition to masterworks of French art, the exhibition includes textiles, decorative arts, arts of Asia and Africa, photographs, and archival materials to place the Cone sisters' remarkable story in the context of the exciting world of modern art and the artists who made history. Ten of the fine art works and all of the textiles and decorative arts have never been seen in New York City before. The exhibition is organized by The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Jewish Museum, and the Vancouver Art Gallery. Following its New York showing, Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters: The Cone Sisters of Baltimore will travel to the Vancouver Art Gallery (June 2 to September 23, 2012). Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters includes iconic paintings by Matisse such as Standing Odalisque Reflected in a Mirror (1923), Interior, Flowers and Parakeets (1924), Large Reclining Nude (1935), and Striped Robe, Fruit, and Anemones (1940). Pablo Picasso's Blue period Woman with Bangs (1902), as well as a Picasso sculpture and several of his early drawings are also on view. Other highlights are Gauguin's Tahitian masterpiece, Vahine no te vi (Woman of the Mango) (1892), Gustave Courbet's The Shaded Stream at Le Puits Noir (c. 1860-65) and Camille Pissarro's The Highway (La Côte du Valhermeil, Auvers-sur-Oise) (1880). Also on display are important paintings by Delacroix, Renoir, and van Gogh.


Through October 23, 2011

In this video (19 min. 26 sec.), artist Sharone Lifschitz documents a two-week period she spent working with her mother in February 2009. Returning together to the darkroom for the first time in more than twenty years, mother and daughter printed fourteen images, selected by the artist and taken by her mother and other members of Kibbutz Nir Oz. The photographs, made between 1959 and the early 1980s, depict life in a community whose socialist values represent a particular moment in Israel's history. The printing of the images is itself an act of nostalgia, since digital photography has made such work almost obsolete. The process followed by the two women shapes a conversation through both content and ritual and the photographs become a catalyst for a new understanding to emerge--between parent and child, artist and artist, past and present. The video is a meditation on the vanishing space of the photographic darkroom and the demise of the utopia Lifschitz's mother tried to create.



In Archaeology Zone: Discovering Treasures from Playgrounds to Palaces, an engaging and thoroughly interactive experience, children become archaeologists as they search for clues about ancient and modern objects. Visitors can discover what happens after archaeologists unearth artifacts and bring them back to their labs for in-depth analysis. Children ages 3 through 10 magnify, sketch and weigh objects from the past and the present, piece together clay fragments, interpret symbols, and dress in costumes. By examining these artifacts and imagining how people used these objects in their daily lives, children learn how forms have changed and evolved over time, and how these objects relate to their own lives.



The Barbara and E. Robert Goodkind Media Center features an exhibition space dedicated to video art and new media, and houses a digital library of 100 radio and television programs from The Jewish Museum's National Jewish Archive of Broadcasting (NJAB). Selections include such comedy favorites as "How to Be a Jewish Son," a panel discussion from a 1970 David Susskind Show featuring Mel Brooks; a 1947 radio drama entitled "Operation Nightmare" starring John Garfield and Al Jolson, produced by the United Jewish Appeal to call attention to displaced persons in postwar Europe; contemporary television documentaries on black-Jewish relations, Latino Jews, and klezmer music; interviews with artists such as Marc Chagall, Jacques Lipchitz, Larry Rivers, George Segal and Ben Shahn; and Manischewitz wine commercials produced between 1963 and 1981 featuring Sammy Davis, Jr. and Peter Lawford.

Episodes of such classic and contemporary television series such as Bridget Loves Bernie, Northern Exposure, The O.C., Seventh Heaven and Sports Night, as well as clips from The Colbert Report, feature interpretations of Jewish life-cycle events and holidays. A selection of musical performances includes a Hanukkah-themed video from the Latino-Jewish urban band Hip Hop Hoodios, an appearance by the Hasidic reggae star Matisyahu on The Late Show with David Letterman, a radio broadcast of liturgy composed by modern Zionist composer Marc Lavry, and a documentary on contemporary music featuring Frank London of The Klezmatics, Debbie Friedman, and Pharaoh's Daughter.



One of the Museum's newest acquisitions, Prayer Synagogue, Gonder Ethiopia; Prayer at the Vatican, Rome Italy; Prayer 9/11, New York, USA, a large-scale photographic triptych by Moroccan artist Touhami Ennadre, is on view in the contemporary gallery of Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey. The three-section work depicts three sets of praying figures - a pair of Ethiopian Jews, a Christian man at the Vatican after the death of Pope John Paul II, and a Muslim woman praying in New York just after the attacks of September 11, 2001. These photographs will join works from the Museum's collection by artists including Chantal Akerman, Anni Albers, Jacob El Hanani, and Patrick Faigenbaum. The selected artworks address the question of what it means to make religious art in a secular age. They show the persistence of faith and spirituality in contemporary art where ideas about the virtues of aesthetic contemplation and the process of artistic creation have often supplanted direct religious references.

Portrait of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, 1842, by 19th century German artist Moritz Daniel Oppenheim, has been added to the "Modernity" section of Culture and Continuity. The subject of this portrait was the sister of famous composer Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, a talented composer and musician in her own right. Fanny Hensel was the wife of a fellow painter, Wilhelm Hensel, whom Oppenheim met in Rome with the Nazarenes. Oppenheim, widely recognized as a portraitist, is known as the first Jewish artist to have benefited from the Emancipation, when new civil rights permitted Jews entry into academies of art for the first time in Europe. Extensively patronized by the Frankfurt branch of the Rothschild family, Oppenheim characterized himself (immodestly) as "a painter to the Rothschilds and the Rothschild of painters."

Comprised of close to 800 works, this vibrant, two-floor exhibition examines the Jewish experience as it has evolved from antiquity to the present over 4,000 years. Visitors to the 4th floor see the Ancient World galleries, featuring archaeological objects representing Jewish life in Israel and the Mediterranean region from 1200 BCE to 640 CE, and a dazzling installation of selections from the Museum's renowned collection of Hanukkah lamps. On the 3rd floor alone close to 400 works from the 16th century to the present are on view in this dramatic and evocative experience.

Other highlights of Culture and Continuity include: a pair of silver Torah finials from Breslau, Germany (1792-93) reunited at The Jewish Museum after sixty years of separation; paintings by such artists as Marc Chagall, Max Weber, Moritz Daniel Oppenheim, Isidor Kaufmann, Morris Louis, and Ken Aptekar; prints by El Lissitzky; sculpture by Elie Nadelman, and George Segal's monumental sculpture, The Holocaust, 1982. A display of 38 Torah ornaments allows the viewer to compare artistic styles from different parts of the world. It features lavishly decorated Torah crowns, pointers, finials and shields from Afghanistan, Algeria, Austria, England, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Ottoman Empire (Greece and Turkey), Georgia (of the former Soviet Union), Morocco, Israel, Italy, early 20th century Palestine, Persia, Poland, Russia, Tunisia, the United States, and Yemen.

A suite of classic post-World War II works originally designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson and the prominent Abstract Expressionist sculptor Ibram Lassaw for Congregation Kneses Tifereth Israel in Port Chester, New York, is also on view in Culture and Continuity. Included are sections of a large wall sculpture/bimah screen, the eternal lamp, the Torah ark, and two of the four bimah chairs.

Television excerpts from the Museum's National Jewish Archive of Broadcasting are also included. The entire exhibition is accompanied by a series of thematic, random access audio guides using MP3 technology, including a Director's Highlights Tour with The Jewish Museum's Director Joan Rosenbaum and WNYC Radio's Brian Lehrer.


Thursday, August 4, 7:30 pm

Hazmat Modine draws from American music of the 1920s and 30s through the early 60s, blending early blues, hokum, jugband, swing, klezmer, New Orleans R&B, and Jamaican rocksteady.

Tickets: $15 general public; $12 students/over 65; $10 Jewish Museum members


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