Dec 7, 2023–Apr 28, 2024
First Light: Rituals of Glass and Neon Art explores mastery in craft as a devotional pursuit, presenting breathtaking artworks that connect both artists and viewers to spirituality, wonder, and universal questions of human existence. The exhibiting artists utilize both science and art as equally noble methods to explore the mysteries of the universe and its reflection in their consciousness. The exhibition features artworks in neon, glass, and plasma, large-scale sculptures, and installations that invite you to learn about fascinating scientific processes, and inspire deeper contemplation of the role of light in our quest to understand our place in the universe. Through these works, the artists gain an intimate understanding of light as a profound and transformative force. Experience awe, make spiritual connections, and discover the science and craft of neon and glass artwork.
First Light: Rituals of Glass and Neon Art is an exhibition by She Bends, an organization dedicated to building a more equitable future for neon art through public education, curatorial projects, and artist programs that foster diversity and sustainability.
Aug 31, 2023–Jul 28, 2024
Travel through some of the most electrifying moments in music history through the lens of Bay Area–based photographer Jay Blakesberg. RetroBlakesberg: The Music Never Stopped presents photographs of legendary musicians that reveal the evolution of San Francisco’s unique music culture and its wide-reaching influence. Featuring images of the Grateful Dead, Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman, Neil Young, Soundgarden, and many more alongside original tickets stubs, press passes, and other ephemera, this exhibition invites visitors to experience an electrifying visual history of the sounds and stories that have shaped the Bay Area and beyond.
Dec 7, 2023–Apr 28, 2024
Radiant Practices: Illuminating Jewish Traditions traces the foundational role of light in Jewish life and ritual, both historically and today. Journey through a collection of Jewish ritual objects, from menorahs to memorial candles, that offer insights into practices that draw on light to uplift Jewish holidays, lifecycle moments, and spiritual spaces. Presented in The CJM’s Stephen and Maribelle Leavitt Yud gallery, the exhibition brings new meaning to the presence of natural light within this symbolically rich gallery while offering new reflections on the forms of light that illuminate Jewish ritual.
Feb 16, 2023–Jun 9, 2024
The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s celebrated building, designed by world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, has served as an artistic, community, and cultural generator since its opening fifteen years ago. This exhibition delves into the deep symbolism imbued in The CJM’s iconic building. Inspired by the Hebrew phrase l’chaim (“to life”), used most often as a toast to mark moments of togetherness and celebration, the architecture of The CJM’s building embodies the values, traditions, and ideas The Museum explores within its walls. L'Chaim: Celebrating Our Building at 15 explores the multitude of symbols layered in the space we inhabit, unlocking the meaning behind its dynamic energy and allowing all who visit to experience the space anew.
Mar 23, 2023–Jul 28, 2024
Bay Area artist Annie Albagli’s expansive video-based installation draws on Jewish tradition, local geography, and ritual to respond to a time of widespread isolation and a desire for human connection. Situated in The CJM’s intimate Black Box Gallery, the installation combines overlaid imagery and field recordings of the Marin headlands with crashing waves and Jewish ritual objects to offer visitors new ways to move through space, time, and familiar and unfamiliar places. Displayed for the first time in a solo museum exhibition, Albagli’s work both draws on and decontextualizes Jewish stories and local histories to break boundaries, explore our interdependence with each other and our world, and offer ways in which viewers can reimagine notions of space and self.
Apr 16, 2023–Mar 31, 2024
The teen years are instrumental in the creation of a sense of self. They are also a critical time in the creation of what psychologists from The Family Narrative Lab at Emory University call the “intergenerational self”—a self embedded within a larger familial history. In the sixth iteration of What We Hold, teens have created individual audio recordings reflecting on and connecting with their families' stories of love, inheritance, and identity.
The Contemporary Jewish Museum commissioned artwork by Sacramento-based artist Dave Lane to be placed in its soaring lobby space. The massive sculpture, entitled Lamp of the Covenant, is a 90-foot-long, six ton work suspended high over the heads of visitors. Attached to an enormous oval of steel are antique objects: world globes, light bulbs, tools such as nineteenth century apple peelers and blow torches, and various other objects that suggest the unfolding marvels of the cosmos.