Through October 6, 2014
Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism is the first exhibition to look at the contribution of Jewish designers, architects, patrons, and merchants in the creation of a distinctly modern American domestic landscape. In the aftermath of World War II, the hub of world Jewry shifted from Europe to America. We look at the cultural context in which many Jewish émigré architects and designers from Europe in the 1930–40s were welcomed and embraced into the creative communities that sprang up around the US—including Black Mountain College, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis, and even in the Bay Area at Pond Farm in Guerneville. The story told in this exhibition gives remarkable insight into Jewish assimilation into American society. At the same time, Designing Home goes beyond a simple exploration of physical Jewish contributions to the history of modern architecture and design—an impact that continues today—to examine broader cultural and social themes.
The Secret Musical History of Black-Jewish Relations
Through August 26, 2014
A musical journey through a unique slice of recording history–the Black-Jewish musical encounter from the 1930s to the 1960s.
Through June 29, 2014
The haggadah, the ritual text for the Passover seder, evokes the story of the exodus of the ancient Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. While myriad haggadot have been created from the tenth century to the present, the exhibition highlights the unique and powerful story of The Szyk Haggadah (1940). Arthur Szyk (1894–1951), a Polish Jew keenly aware of current events, fused his two passions—art and history—into a visual commentary on the dangerous parallel between the Passover narrative and the alarming developments unfolding in Nazi Germany in the 1930s. The exhibition includes all forty-eight original illustrations of Szyk’s masterpiece that has become a mainstay in Jewish homes. Historical illuminated haggadot from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as contemporary versions, will also be featured.
November 21, 2013–March 23, 2014
Using traditional photography, found images and text, Chicago-based Jewish artist Jason Lazarus (b. 1975) makes his West Coast museum debut at The Contemporary Jewish Museum. Jason Lazarus: Live Archive is comprised of four parts: Too Hard to Keep, which is an ongoing archival collection of items that are too difficult to retain because they conjure memories of pain or past joy; Phase I/Live Archive, a repository of Occupy Wall Street signs, recreated from images culled from print and online media; Untitled (2013) features a student of classical piano learning to play Frédéric Chopin's Nocturne in F Minor, op. 55, no. 1, live in the gallery; and additional sculptures, installations, and photographs.
May 23–September 8, 2013
Through over seventy photographs by renowned poet, Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997), Beat Memories tenderly captures the young writers and rebels that would define the Beat Generation.
Highlights from SFMOMA's collection
June 28–October 27, 2013
Beyond Belief is an expansive exhibition exploring the spiritual dimensions of modern art, especially as seen through the lens of Jewish theological concepts. The exhibition features forty-eight internationally-known artists whose work—painting, sculpture, photography, video, and installation art—are all drawn from SFMOMA’s outstanding collection. Ranging from a 1914 abstraction by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian to a luminous 1960 abstraction by Mark Rothko and oversized prayer beads by contemporary artist Zarina, Beyond Belief provides an engaging alternative that prioritizes spirituality in the reading of art.
November 15, 2012–February 24, 2013
The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats is the first major exhibition in the United States 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)—the first modern full-color picture book to feature an African American protagonist.
November 3, 2011–September 8, 2013
Stanley Saitowitz: Judaica combines the Contemporary Jewish Museum’s ongoing commitment to presenting new perspectives on Jewish tradition with its dedication to working with contemporary artists, like Saitowitz, whose vision enables us to find fresh ways to examine and appreciate Jewish culture and ritual.
February 16–September 9, 2012
Do Not Destroy: Trees, Art, and Jewish Thought is an exciting opportunity to explore the subject of the tree in Jewish tradition through the lens of contemporary artists who enable us to see the world in new ways and to encourage us to find fresh meaning in tradition.
May 12, 2011–September 6, 2011
Drawing upon a wealth of rarely seen artistic and archival materials, Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories illuminates Stein's life and pivotal role in art during the 20th century.
April 7, 2011–August 28, 2012
Hagar in the Desert (1969), the last monumental bronze cubist sculptor Jacques Lipchitz created before his death, will be on view on the Museum’s second floor in a small exhibition examining the many ways Western religions and artists interpret the meaning of this fascinating story from the Torah.
March 31–July 2011
Are We There Yet? is a new media art installation in the Museum's Yud Gallery by Bay Area artists Ken Goldberg and Gil Gershoni that celebrates inquisitive impulse. An immersive sound environment, the installation poses questions from a variety of sources including the Talmud, literature, and popular culture. Questions vary based on visitors’ movement through the space.
October 29, 2010–March 29, 2011
Rarely-seen Old Master paintings reveal the legacy of a preeminent Jewish art dealer whose vast collection was looted by the Nazis. Discover a dramatic story of great art, injustice and reclamation.
April 22–October 3, 2010
The first major international exhibition to examine the reinvention of Jewish ritual in art and design.
The Torah Project
October 8, 2009–March 29, 2011
As It Is Written: Project 304,805 is centered around a soferet (professionally trained female scribe) who, while on public view, will write out the entire text of the Torah over the course of a full year.
A photographic journey through the streets of Germany
June 18, 2009 - August 18, 2009
There are 303 roads, streets, and paths in Germany, whose names refer to a Jewish presence. Artist Susan Hiller has visited all of them over a three-year period, filming and taking photographs of these historically evocative places.
The Dorothy Saxe Invitational
February 27, 2009 - June 2, 2009
Continuing its long-standing tradition of engaging artists from myriad backgrounds to rethink, reshape and redefine traditional Jewish ritual objects, the Contemporary Jewish Museum has invited eighty leading local and national artists to creatively explore the meaning and form of the Passover seder plate.
Adi Nes: Biblical Stories and Yael Bartana: Short Memory
January 30 - March 17, 2009
Dateline 09 inaugurates a new series of exhibitions that provide a forum for the Museum to respond to the latest developments in today's rapidly changing world. The exhibition will feature presentations of work by two of today's leading artists- photographer Adi Nes and video artist Yael Bartana.
June 8, 2008 - February 1, 2009
Acclaimed musician John Zorn curates a series of original sound pieces based on a letter of the Hebrew alphabet by such leading musicians and composers as Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Erik Frielander, Chris Brown, and Terry Riley.
June 8 - September 7, 2008
Celebrating the "King of Cartoons", this exhibition features a wide selection of original drawings from William Steig's long acclaimed career as both a brilliant cartoonist for The New Yorker and an award-winning, beloved author of children's literature.
August 5–August 12, 2014
Employing a large range of media and visual strategies, artist, educator, and curator Julio César Morales explores issues of migration, underground economies, and labor on personal and global scales. His current body of work, Forever Now!, previously exhibited at the Wendi Norris Gallery, examines ideas of boundaries, barriers, and limits through installation, video, photography, and light sculpture.
Through July 8, 2014
In conjunction with Work in Progress: Considering Utopia, this exhibition explores and celebrates the kibbutz as it starts its second century. To Build & be Built: Kibbutz History focuses on the growth and development of these unique communities which helped create the infrastructure and culture of the State of Israel, and which are now transforming themselves as Israel becomes increasingly urban and capitalistic. The influence of the kibbutz on national and Bay Area culture—including many summer camps, youth movements, and “intentional communities”—is also addressed.
November 21, 2013–March 23, 2014
This exhibition celebrates the art of Arnold Lobel (1933–1987), author and illustrator of some of the most beloved children’s books produced since the late 1960s. Included among these are his Frog and Toad series (1971–79), Mouse Soup (1977), and Fables (1980), which was awarded the prestigious Caldecott Medal. Creating a magical world animated by a talking frog, a toad, an owl, mice, kangaroos, and other colorful creatures, Lobel subtly reflects upon human foibles in his charmingly rendered stories and illustrations. Included are approximately one hundred original illustrations and works on paper. Organized by the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, in collaboration with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, Massachusetts.
October 3, 2013–January 20, 2014
Presenting new work by three artists, Work in Progress: Considering Utopia encourages visitors to consider the concept of utopia both in a Jewish context and from a contemporary perspective that emphasizes community and participation. Two videos and five photographs by Oded Hirsch feature members of the artist’s kibbutz engaging in communal activities. Ohad Meromi’s striking sculptural installation inspired by the Chadar Ochel [dining hall] of the kibbutz encourages discussions about the meaning of utopia today, and Elisheva Biernoff’s interactive magnet painting allows visitors to construct their own utopian vista.
Oct 12, 2008–Dec 15, 2013
The Contemporary Jewish Museum is the first museum in the country to host a StoryCorps StoryBooth. StoryCorps is a New York-based oral history project founded and directed by award-winning documentary artist and MacArthur Fellow Dave Isay.
February 14–May 27, 2013
African American artist Kehinde Wiley is known for vibrant, large-scale paintings of hip men of color rendered in the self-confident poses typical of classical European portraiture. The first major exhibition of Wiley’s work in San Francisco, The World Stage: Israel is part of the artist’s bold series exploring the black diaspora. The portraits are complemented by a selection of historical Jewish textiles and works on paper from which the artist drew inspiration.
Jewish Life in the Bay Area from the Gold Rush to the Present
November 17, 2011–April 28, 2013
From Levi’s® blue jeans to the Sutro Baths, Gump’s to Allen Ginsberg’s Howl
, the story of the Bay Area’s Jewish community is the story of the region itself. The first exhibition of its kind, California Dreaming
explores Jewish life in the Bay Area from the Gold Rush to the present and demonstrates how it is informed by the pioneering, entrepreneurial spirit of the many Jews who came out West in the booming decades that began with the Gold Rush.
October 11, 2012–January 21, 2013
In 1936 a group of young, idealistic photographers, most of them Jewish, first-generation Americans, formed an organization in Manhattan called the Photo League. Their solidarity centered on a belief in the expressive power of the documentary photograph and on a progressive alliance in the 1930s of socialist ideas and art. The Radical Camera: New York's Photo League, 1936–1951 presents the contested path of the documentary photograph during a tumultuous period that spanned the New Deal reforms of the Depression, World War II, and the Cold War.
October 2, 2011–January 16, 2012
The first art exhibition in an American art museum on this master magician,Houdini: Art and Magic explores how Houdini's role as an American icon was transformed across three centuries: first in the late 19th century by the artist’s own interpretation of himself; by popular culture in the 20th century; and today by contemporary artists who conjure Houdini as an audacious performer and showman of raw physicality.
April 7, 2011–August 28, 2011
The Contemporary Jewish Museum is celebrating an oft-overlooked chapter in sports history, the decades of Jewish Ping Pong domination that followed World War I, with The Ping Pong Project. The free, temporary installation of regulation tables and equipment allows anyone to take a shot at table tennis triumph during regular Museum hours.
March 31, 2011–October 16, 2011
Charlotte Salomon, a young Jewish artist from Berlin, worked feverishly between 1940 and 1942 to produce approximately 1300 paintings before she was arrested by the Nazis in 1943, transported to Auschwitz, and killed at the age of 26. The gouaches make up Life? or Theatre?, which through imagery and text tells the slightly fictionalized and theatrically imagined story of Salomon’s family.
November 14, 2010–March 13, 2011
Curious George, the impish monkey protagonist of many adventures, may never have seen the light of day if it were not for the determination and courage of his creators, the illustrator H. A. Rey and his wife, author and artist Margret Rey. The exhibition features nearly 80 original drawings of the beloved monkey and other characters, a look at the Reys’ escape from Nazi Europe, and more.
July 1–October 26, 2010
The first museum survey of Maira Kalman’s narrative art. Working as an illustrator, author, and designer, Kalman illuminates contemporary life with a profound sense of joy and a unique sense of humor. Kalman’s art appears everywhere in the foreground of today’s visual culture.
February 11–June 15, 2010
Artist Linda Ellia confronted Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampf by inviting both artists and the general public to respond to the text by altering one of the books 600 pages.
September 8, 2009 - January 19, 2010
Maurice Sendak has written or illustrated more than 100 picture books over his 60-year career. A number of those books inspired generations of children and changed the landscape of picture books. This major retrospective sheds light on
April 23, 2009 - September 7, 2009
Devoted to the extraordinary artwork created for Russian Jewish theater productions in the 1920s and 1930s, this exhibition will bring to light a remarkable period in the early years of the Soviet Union when innovative visual artists, including Marc Chagall, Natan Altman, and Robert Falk, joined forces with avant-garde playwrights, actors, and theatrical producers.
And You Shall Know Us by the Trail of Our Vinyl
February 6, 2009 - August 22, 2010
Jews on Vinyl is a unique exhibition based on Josh Kun and Roger Bennett's new book: And You Shall Know Us by the Trail of Our Vinyl: The Jewish Past as Told by the Records We Have Loved and Lost, which spans the history of Jewish recorded music from the 1940s to the 1980s, weaving an account that begins with sacred songs and ends with the holy trinity of Neil, Barbra, and Barry.
October 12, 2008 - February 3, 2009
On view for the first time on the West Coast, Andy Warhol’s original paintings from his extraordinary series, Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century, which portrays a pantheon of great Jewish thinkers, politicians, performers, musicians, and writers.
June 8, 2008 - January 6, 2009
The exhibition pairs seven new artist commissions, including works by Matthew Ritchie, Ben Rubin and Shirley Shor, with a range of historically important works by Marc Chagall, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and others in order to explore our changing understanding of the story of creation as depicted in Genesis Chapter 1.
Exhibition on view June 8, 2008 – October 18, 2011
Discover the many different ways of “being Jewish” in the Bay Area through this mural of community photos, and objects which reflect the flavor of Jewish life in the Bay Area, both past and present.