In 2017, in response to the protests and violence that took place in Charlottesville, VA, Artist Julie Weitz created her performative project My Golem—a series centering on her embodiment of a mythical creature drawn from Jewish folklore. A futuristic, highly-stylized figure covered with white mud, Golem was brought to life to respond to contemporary challenges including climate catastrophe, white supremacy, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia. Golem v. Golem is a new, eight-part episodic video series inspired by the Passover story’s struggle between tyranny and freedom. Through the series, Weitz reexamines the multi-year My Golem project, exploring Golem’s creation story, her activism, and how the character has been received and (mis)interpreted by different audiences in various contexts.
Over the past four years, My Golem has evolved from Instagram videos to performances at protests to creative collaborations—in the process, taking on a life of her own. Weitz’s journey through her previous work as both creator and creation in Golem v. Golem requires a retelling and reframing of her past, and ultimately leads her to question her connection to God. The project’s eight videos weave the themes of Passover throughout this dialogue, and explore the possibility of both psychological and spiritual liberation within all of us.
Golem v. Golem is a digital project designed for Instagram that presents an unfolding narrative, with a new episode debuting each day of Passover, in addition to supporting posts, stories, and a companion literary collaboration, "What We Talk About When We Talk to the Golem," by Moriel Rothman-Zecher. Weitz has created this project in collaboration with filmmaker D.S. Chun of Rug and Vase alongside Director of Photography Mustafa Zeno, Sound Recordist Cameron Gibson, and Costume Designer Jill Spector.
Golem v. Golem premiered the week of Passover (March 28–April 4, 2021) on The CJM’s Instagram account.
Uncanny, mysterious, and satirical, GOLEM: A Call to Action is an exhibition by artist Julie Weitz that draws on Jewish folklore to inspire action around social justice and environmental disasters. The exhibition’s three works—Golem v. Golem, My Golem as a Wildland Firefighter, and Prayer for Burnt Forests—frame a view of nature that emphasizes cultural issues and ecological catastrophe, while acknowledging human beings’ implicit responsibility for repair.
Julie Weitz is a Los Angeles–based artist working in video, performance, and installation. Weitz has been featured in Artforum, Art in America, The L.A. Times, The New York Times, Bomb Magazine, L.A. Confidential, Photograph Magazine, Hyperallergic and on KCRW. She is a 2020–2021 Cultural Trailblazer of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and a Helix Fellow at Yiddishkayt. Weitz is also a 2020 recipient of the Fulcrum Arts Emerge Program and a 2019 nominee for the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Award. Weitz has received grants from the California Center for Cultural Innovation, Asylum Arts, American Jewish University, the Banff Centre and the Memorial Foundation of Jewish Culture. She currently teaches in Los Angeles and is a contributing writer to Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles. Weitz also founded the Instagram account @Jews4BlackLives, which serves as an educational hub for the Jewish activist community in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Weitz can also be found on Instagram @mygolem_is_here.
GOLEM: A Call to Action is organized by The Contemporary Jewish Museum and is co-curated by Qianjin Montoya, Assistant Curator, and Heidi Rabben, Senior Curator. Leadership support is generously provided Maribelle and Stephen Leavitt.
Golem v. Golem by Julie Weitz is produced by Asylum Arts, made possible with the generous support of CANVAS. The project is presented at the Vilna Shul, Boston's Center for Jewish Culture in partnership with the Jewish Arts Collaborative. A companion literary collaboration, "What We Talk About When We Talk to the Golem," by Moriel Rothman-Zecher, is produced by Jewish Book Council. Additional digital partners include the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. The work is part of a North American project—Dwelling in a Time of Plagues—a coast-to-coast Jewish artistic response to contemporary plagues. To see the other works on display, visit plaguedwelling.com.