Jewish Culture & IdeasContemporary Art

In That Case: Havruta in Contemporary Art—Jenny Odell and Philip Buscemi

Jan 28, 2016–Jul 5, 2016

San Francisco-based artist Jenny Odell and stylist and window designer Philip Buscemi collaborate on a new installation for the havruta case. Based on the Talmudic study principle of havruta—the study of religious texts by people in pairs—In That Case at The CJM repurposes the practice for the contemporary art community, by pairing visual artists with established professionals in another field of their choosing.

about the exhibition

Jenny Odell and Philip Buscemi use the havruta case to create The Bureau of Suspended Objects, a series of window-like displays of objects in a cabinet of curiosities manner. Following a residency at Recology SF, Odell’s research has recently focused on the ways manufactured objects circulate, from the factory to our homes, but also looking at the changes from their initial commercial value to the sentimental attachment we put on them. The objects (whether brand new, in-use, or trash) become tools for an investigation into the ways we invest and divest values into and from material goods, and ultimately, into the powers of visual merchandising.

IMAGE GALLERY
about jenny odell

Jenny Odell is a Bay Area native/captive with an MFA in Design from the San Francisco Art Institute and a BA in English Literature from UC Berkeley. Her work makes use of secondhand imagery and vernacular online sources in an attempt to highlight the material dimension of our modern networked existence. Because her practice exists at the intersection of research and aesthetics, she has often been compared to a natural scientist. Her work has made its way into the Google Headquarters, Les Rencontres D'Arles, Arts Santa Monica, Fotomuseum Antwerpen, La Gaîté lyrique (Paris), the Made in NY Media Center, Apexart (NY), and East Wing (Dubai). It's also turned up in TIME Magazine's LightBox, The Atlantic, The Economist, WIRED, the NPR Picture Show, and a couple of Gestalten books. Odell teaches at Stanford University.

about philip buscemi

Born in 1972 in the suburbs of upstate New York, Philip Buscemi has been working as a Stylist and Window Designer for many years in and around San Francisco’s Union Square, where he has learned to merge the Fine arts and retail to create interesting and fantastical displays. He has been working alongside San Francisco’s celebrated interior designer Ken Fulk for the last 12 years as a Stylist designing environments, installations and events. Recently, Philip created an installation for the La Cienega Design Quarter, Legends 2015-Where Muses Dwell, which won Ken Fulk The Editors Choice Award. Buscemi earned a B.F.A. in Painting and Sculpture at The Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, MI, and has won many artist awards and exhibited his works in many group shows in California.  

artist talk

Jenny Odell and Philip Buscemi discuss their In That Case: Havruta in Contemporary Art installation, The Bureau of Suspended Objects—a series of window-like displays in a cabinet of curiosities manner.

what is havruta?

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.

In That Case: Havruta in Contemporary Art is organized by The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco.

Major support for The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s exhibitions and Jewish Peoplehood Programs comes from the Koret Foundation.

Image Credit

Header image: Jenny Odell, New, Used, and Discarded Items from the Bureau of Suspended Objects, 2016. Digital collage, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.