New Works/Old Story: 80 Artists at the Passover Table

The Dorothy Saxe Invitational

February 27, 2009 - June 2, 2009


Lanny Bergner, Bronze Mesh Seder Plate, 2008.


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. Passover is perhaps the most celebrated Jewish holiday and the seder, a home-based ceremony and meal, occurs on the first night of the eight-day holiday. At the heart of this ritual is the seder plate that holds the various ritual foods that symbolize the holiday. The seder commemorates a key event in Judaism: the redemption of the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt. In contemporary times, the Passover seder has more broadly come to represent themes of renewal and rebirth, freedom from oppression, and social justice and activism. Participating artists are encouraged to interpret the traditional object from a contemporary perspective, exploring its ongoing relevance and universality.

Recently, the invitational was renamed The Dorothy Saxe Invitational in honor of Museum Trustee Dorothy Saxe, a highly-regarded and nationally recognized collector of art and crafts. Through the naming of the Invitational, Mrs. Saxe’s interests, passions, and legacy will be perpetuated by inspiring new generations of artists and collectors to invest in the creativity of artists and to make Jewish values and ideas relevant, meaningful, and accessible to audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

Check out KQED's SPARK* which profiles New Works/Old Story

Congratulations to Lynne Avadenka, the winner of the Dorothy Saxe Award for Creatitivty in Contemporary Arts, and Tor Archer, who was elected by visitors for the Audience Choice Award.


Lynne Avadenka, World Book, 2008, Cardboard Globe, wood, paint, ink


Tor Archer, A Natural Seder, 2008, Copper, brass, acrylic paint


The Dorothy Saxe Invitational, New Works/Old Story: 80 Artists at the Passover Table, is organized by the Contemporary Jewish Museum with lead support from Dorothy and George Saxe, and additional support from The National Endowment for the Arts, Siesel Maibach, and Roselyne Chroman Swig.


Lead Inaugural Year Exhibition Support: Koret Foundation Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture.


736 Mission Street (btwn. 3rd and 4th Streets), San Francisco, CA 94103 | Hours: Daily 11am–5pm, Thursdays 11am–8pm, Closed Wednesdays | 415.655.7800 |