Tuesday, November 9, 2021 (San Francisco, CA) — The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) is excited to announce its exhibitions for the 2022 calendar year. The Museum will present three distinct exhibitions that highlight the diversity of The CJM’s mission and curatorial purview: Tikkun: For the Cosmos, the Community, and Ourselves; The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited; and Slapshtick: The Art of Jewish Humor. Tikkun and Slapshtick are both original exhibitions, while The Jim Henson Exhibition will be traveling to The CJM from Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York.
The CJM will open Tikkun: For the Cosmos, the Community, and Ourselves, the next iteration of the Dorothy Saxe Invitational, on February 3, 2022. The Dorothy Saxe Invitational is The CJM’s longest-running commitment and invites artists from a variety of backgrounds to explore a Jewish object or concept within the context of their own medium and artistic philosophy. On view through June 5, the exhibition will feature more than twenty-five artists responding to the Jewish concept of tikkun (Hebrew for “to repair”) as a phenomenon of care and interconnectedness that is grounded in personal action, environmental responsibility, and community practice. In this moment of profound challenges and uncertainty, Tikkun re-examines the term in a contemporary context, unfixed from its evolving meanings throughout history. This approach pays particular attention to how tikkun can help us look critically inward and outward to guide us through change and build resilience for the hard work ahead. The exhibition features a dynamic representation of Bay Area-based artists, and is co-organized by Assistant Curators Arianne Gelardin and Qianjin Montoya. All of the artworks in the exhibition will be for sale, with proceeds benefiting the artists and The CJM’s mission and exhibitions programming.
On view March 31–August 14, 2022, The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited presents Jim Henson’s groundbreaking work for both film and television, and explores the social impact of his work and his indelible mark on popular culture. The exhibition will feature over 150 artifacts, including more than 25 beloved puppets, among them: Kermit the Frog, Beaker, and Scooter, from The Muppets; Bert, Ernie, Grover, and Count von Count from Sesame Street; Red and Wembley from Fraggle Rock; Ludo and Fiery from The Labyrinth; and Jen, Kira, and Aughra from The Dark Crystal. Through character sketches, storyboards, scripts, photographs, costumes, puppets, and behind-the-scenes footage, the show lends insight into Henson’s boundless imagination. While Henson himself was not Jewish, his work celebrates diversity and inclusion, both central values of The CJM. The exhibition reveals how Henson and his team of builders, performers, and writers created an unparalleled body of work, sharing characters and stories that represent diverse backgrounds and abilities, and inspire people of all ages to look beyond differences and cultivate a more compassionate, inclusive world.
Finally, The CJM will open the original, large-scale group exhibition Slapshtick: The Art of Jewish Humor in Fall 2022. The exhibition will reflect on the unique character and enduring influence of Jewish humor in the United States and explore how humor in art, culture, and comedy often serves to establish identity, restore agency, and reframe otherness. Slapshtick will feature work by contemporary artists who use humor and comedy as a critical tool in their practice, including approximately fifteen artists presenting new works commissioned for this exhibition. By putting contemporary art into dialogue with Jewish comedians and iconic moments, both past and present, this exhibition will interrogate the power of humor as a tool for critique, reclamation, joy, and resilience. Slapshtick will be on view through February 2023 and is curated by Senior Curator Heidi Rabben.
The artists, makers, and performers in these exhibitions all explore approaches to change-making and healing through creative practice. As we experience and emerge from pandemic isolation and continue to wrestle with heightened political, ideological, and social divisions, The CJM’s exhibitions draw on Jewish values to explore pathways towards togetherness and processing of our current realities and future possibilities.
For over thirty years The CJM has engaged audiences and artists in exploring contemporary perspectives on Jewish culture, history, art, and ideas. In 2008 The Museum opened a new building designed by internationally renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, providing a lively center where people of all ages and backgrounds can gather to experience art, share diverse perspectives, and engage in educational activities. Inspired by the Hebrew phrase L’Chaim (“to life”), the building is a physical embodiment of The CJM’s mission to bring together tradition and innovation in an exploration of the Jewish experience in the twenty-first century.
Major support for The Contemporary Jewish Museum is generously provided by Craig Newmark Philanthropies; Bank of America; Suzanne and Elliott Felson; Grants for the Arts; Irving and Eleanor Jaffe Foundation; Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund; Maribelle and Stephen Leavitt; Joyce B. Linker; Alexandra O. Moses; The Bernard Osher Foundation; John Pritzker Family Fund; Dorothy R. Saxe; Seiger Family Foundation; Ruth S. Stein; and Roselyne C. Swig.
Major support for The CJM Helen Diller Institute is generously provided by The Helen Diller Family Foundation.