Feb 13, 2020–Aug 8, 2021
In 1873, at the end of the California Gold Rush, Levi Strauss & Co., named for a Bavarian Jewish dry goods merchant in San Francisco, obtained a U.S. patent with tailor Jacob Davis on the process of putting metal rivets in men’s denim work pants to increase their durability. It was the birth of the blue jean.
Mar 28, 2021–Dec 5, 2021
GOLEM: A Call to Action is an exhibition in three parts by Los Angeles–based artist Julie Weitz, comprising three video artworks—Golem v. Golem, My Golem as a Wildland Firefighter, and Prayer for Burnt Forests—that draw on Jewish allegory, folklore, and spiritual practice to confront societal and ecological disasters. The legend of the golem originates as far back as the Middle Ages, when Jewish mystics imagined the creation of a clay humanoid as a meditative technique for becoming closer to God. By the nineteenth century, popular Yiddish folktales characterized the golem as a helper, companion, or rescuer of an imperiled Jewish community. In this exhibition, Weitz revitalizes golem mythology to frame a moral imperative for action on the social and ecological issues we face today.
Apr 11, 2021–Mar 18, 2022
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 in a larger familial history.
What shapes us? Which family histories become our core stories? How do we make them our own? In the fourth iteration of What We Hold, over twenty teens, ranging in age from fourteen to nineteen years old, have created individual audio recordings reflecting on and connecting with their families’ stories of migration, language, rebellion, persistence, and passion.
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.