In That Case: Havruta in Contemporary Art

October 23, 2014–Ongoing

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Based on the Talmudic study principle of havruta—the study of religious texts by people in pairs—In That Case at The CJM encourages learning through fellowship for Bay Area artists, established professionals, museum staff, and the entire CJM community. Capitalizing on the unique Jewish perspective, inherent to The Museum, this program will take the practice of havruta and repurpose it for the contemporary art community. Each local artist invited to participate in In That Case will be given the opportunity of working with an established writer, scientist, thinker, or academic in a field of their choosing. The resulting collaborations will be presented in the Sala Webb Education Center.

The Jewish Tradition of Havruta

In that Case draws inspiration from the traditional Jewish learning method of studying the Talmud in pairs, havruta. The Talmud itself is a book of scholarly exchange with writings outlining Jewish law by multiple rabbinic authors in two parts—the Mishnah, a transcription of the Oral Torah (c. 200 C.E.) and the halakhah, the defining of the laws (c. 500 C.E.). There are approximately 120 known authors of the Mishnah alone. Contrasted with the university model where students passively listen to lectures to absorb information, havruta demands active participation and engagement with the texts being studied. The root word haver—“friend” in Hebrew—emphasizes the communal nature of learning, and the havruta learning model reflects the Jewish affinity for asking questions and grappling with complex topics, together.

Featured Artists

Lindsey White | Oct 23
Lindsey White (b. 1980, Tulsa, Oklahoma) received her Masters in Fine Art from California College of the Arts. Through video, photography, and sculpture, White is creating a type of sight-gag index, working with the language of magic and comedy to present the unexpected and impossible in everyday life. Additionally, she is part of the collaborative project Will Brown, whose main objective is to manipulate the structures of exhibition-making as a critical practice.
Helena Keefe | Jan 22
Helena Keeffe (b.1978, Wausau, Wisconsin) received her Master of Fine Arts from UC Berkeley. She is an artist and organizer who responds to specific situations, people, and places. Her work often seeks to connect art and non-art audiences to hybridize art and everyday life and her projects have involved collecting oral histories; producing publications; organizing large public gatherings or intimate private dinners; and conducting workshops.
Anthony Discenza | Apr 30
Anthony Discenza (b. 1967, New Brunswick, New Jersey) received his Masters in Fine Arts from California College of the Arts. His work is directed by a preoccupation with interrupting the flow of information in various formats. While his work has been primarily video-based, it has also taken the form of other mediums such as text, imagery, and computer-generated sound.

Opening Receptions 

Lindsey White and Ron Lynch
Oct 23 | 6pm
Nathaniel Deutsch, professor of literature and history and co-director of the Center for Jewish Studies at UC Santa Cruz introduces the practice of havruta. His talk is followed by a conversation between artist Lindsey White and comedian Ron Lynch about their collaboration for In That Case: Havruta in Contemporary Art.



  Press Release


Image: Lindsey White, Lily Pad, 2014. C-print.



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