The space between—between traditions, cultures, and ideas—is where creative work happens. This is a show about those places.
Recorded in the StoryCorps StoryBooth hosted at the museum, the podcast features conversations with artists, musicians, academics, spiritual leaders, and everyone in-between. Dan Schifrin and Kathryn Jaller are your hosts.
Memory / Forgetting
Francesco Spagnolo, Curator at the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at UC Berkeley, suggests a role for archives and ritual as our culture re-imagines the idea of memory for a digital age.
Invisible / Visible
To celebrate the Jewish New Year, Rabbi Menachem Creditor puts a spiritual lens on the upcoming exhibition, The Radical Camera: New York's Photo League, 1936–1951.
Myth / Science
Artist Merav Tzur, through her alter-ego Sarah Gray, has formed a research institute promoting impossible tasks – like recreating the Tree of Knowledge – and performance spaces where everyone can make art. It’s what happens when an artist mixes a kibbutz with a laboratory, then adds YouTube.
Art / Ecology
Amy Tobin, musician and Executive Director of the David Brower Center in Berkeley, reflects on what art and social action can learn from each other, and if saving the world can be beautiful.
Truth / Exaggeration
Cartoonist and comedian Michael Capozzola describes how humor is truth stretched to its limit, and how he has funneled his Jewish/Italian heritage and ambivalence about technology into his popular comic strips and standup routines.
Sound / Artifact
David Katznelson is all about music. As a founder of the Idelsohn Society, the Grammy-nominated producer helped created the CJM exhibitions Jews on Vinyl and Black Sabbath. In this interview, learn why record covers tell the story of a people, and why “history sounds different when you know where to start listening…”
Language / Code
Ellen Ullman is a writer and computer programmer, whose new novel By Blood takes place in dystopic 1970s San Francisco. We talk with her about the promise and threat of that time in the Bay Area, the difference between human and computer language, and some of the barriers to there being more female programmers.
In "Dissolving Localities," a multi-media installation at the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at UC Berkeley, Israeli musician, composer, and curator Emmanuel Witzthum created a dialogue between his hometown of Jerusalem and Berkeley. In this conversation, Witzthum explores how contemporary culture, Jewish identity, and Israeli life function best when the “open platform” of art is applied to social, religious and political problems.
Speech / Silence
Is directing a play similar to designing a building? And in both drama and architecture, when is silence preferable to speech? American Conservatory Theater Artistic Director Carey Perloff, author of the new playHigher, explores the complex rituals of architecture, theater, and memory in her drama about a competition to build a memorial in Israel.
Presence / Absence
Rachel Schreiber is a historian and artist who works with text and image, often at the same time. Her projectSite Reading, which includes photographs of Bay Area places with unexpected stories, was commissioned for the current CJM exhibition California Dreaming: Jewish Life in the Bay Area from the Gold Rush to the Present. In this conversation she explores her artistic processs (which begins with a bedrock of research) as well as a career at the sometimes lonely intersection of art and history.
Celebrity / Authenticity
Biographer Kenneth Silverman on Houdini's upbringing, his Jewishness, his innovations as a performer, and the psychics and mediums he worked to discredit. And then there's the matter of Professor Silvermans's own magical past...
Image / Illusion
Deborah Oropallo is currently known for her boundary-blurring mixed media work, but she thinks like a painter. She discusses what artists and magicians have in common, and how she embraces the creative gifts of the digital age.
Scholarship / Lyrics
Poet, teacher, and Girls in Trouble front-woman Alicia Jo Rabins discusses her "religiously Jewish, culturally Protestant" upbringing, and how she gets into the minds and hearts of the biblical women she sings about.
Art / Ritual
Architect and designer Stanley Saitowitz discusses the ideas behind his thoughtful contemporary structures, and what the iPhone and his new line of modern Judaica have in common.
Perception / Reality
Renowned magician Joshua Jay on truth, deception, the difference between good and great magic, and why there are so many Jewish magicians.
Technology / Connection
Tiffany Shlain, Director of "Connected: An Autoblogography About Love, Death & Technology", explores the ways contemporary culture uses technology to connect or disconnect.
Gertrude Stein / Virgil Thomson with Historian Steven Watson
Historian Steven Watson discusses the collaboration of Gertrude Stein and composer Virgil Thomson, in connection with the Contemporary Jewish Museum exhibition, Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories, and SFMOMA’s new production of the opera Four Saints in Three Acts at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Image: Thérèse Bonney, Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein, c. 1929, modern print from original negative, Courtesy of the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley