Aug 5, 2021–Jan 2, 2022
Judy Chicago: Cohanim, a solo exhibition by inimitable artist Judy Chicago, features twelve vibrant paintings on porcelain that explore and reflect on the lyrics of Leonard Cohen. Chicago, who has led the contemporary art field in feminist practice for decades, created this body of work as a personal tribute to Cohen's lyrics and what they have meant to her throughout her life. In their colorful, spare, and painterly interpretations of Cohen’s songs, these works express a sense of intimacy and heartfelt spiritual connection.
Aug 5, 2021–Jan 2, 2022
George Fok’s Passing Through is an immersive video work celebrating Leonard Cohen’s singular voice, influential music, charismatic persona, and inimitable stage presence. Drawing on a vast archive of audiovisual material, Fok pays tribute to Cohen’s monumental five-decade career through a collage of collective memories, concert footage, and emotions that have enchanted generations of fans around the world. Presented as a seamless, hour-long video presentation, Passing Through invites visitors to explore Cohen’s life and legacy as a mash-up concert, a composite portrait of the artist, and an evocative reflection on his relationship with God, his fans, and himself.
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.
Oct 17, 2020–Jun 27, 2021
Los Angeles-based artist Stephen Berkman’s immersive photography installation is a tribute to Shimmel Zohar, a mythical nineteenth-century Jewish immigrant photographer, founder of Zohar Studios. The exhibition includes over thirty photographs, several large installations, a cabinet of curiosities, and a large format artist book about the Zohar project.
Feb 13, 2020–Jun 27, 2021
This exhibition draws extensively from the holdings of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life (University of California, Berkeley) and showcases a variety of textiles in use by San Francisco Jewish community members during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Apr 19, 2020–Apr 1, 2021
The teen years are instrumental in the development 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 family history.
What shapes us? Which family histories become our core stories? How do we make them our own? Over fifty teens, ranging in age from twelve to nineteen years old, created audio works reflecting on these questions and exploring themes including migration, language, rebellion, persistence, and passion.
Apr 14, 2019–Mar 8, 2020
Featuring over fifty individual audio works created by teens, reflecting on stories of migration, language, passion, persistence, tradition, bridging distance, and love.
Jun 27, 2019–Feb 23, 2020
Tonight the World, Daria Martin’s new installation, co-commissioned with Barbican, London, combines computer gaming technology and film to explore the unconscious memories of her grandmother, Bay Area-based artist Susi Stiassni. As a teenager, Stiassni and her family fled then Czechoslovakia from the imminent Nazi occupation, eventually settling in Marin County, where Martin was born and raised.
Jul 25, 2019–Jan 19, 2020
Izidora Leber LETHE: Peristyle is the first solo museum exhibition of Croatian-Swiss, Oakland-based artist Izidora Leber LETHE. Drawing from the visual languages of Brutalist architecture and minimalist performance scores, this site-specific installation and performance mines the layered memories of the double émigré artist.
Jul 25, 2019–Jan 19, 2020
Annabeth Rosen: Fired, Broken, Gathered, Heaped is the artist’s first major museum survey and chronicles over twenty years of her work in ceramics. The exhibition features more than 120 of Rosen’s most influential and dynamic works, never before exhibited in her home base of Northern California. Included are both early and recent ceramic sculptures that range from the diminutive to the monumental, as well as largescale works on paper that mirror the trajectory of her sculptural practice.
Jul 26, 2018–Jan 14, 2020
Visual artist Oxossi Ayofemi and her chosen havruta partner, groundbreaking Stanford physicist Risa Wechsler, infuse the concept of dark matter and dark energy with notions of power, blackness, diaspora, economy, and utopian imagination. What if our city and economy were built from a metaphor of abundance instead of scarcity?
Feb 7, 2019–Jul 7, 2019
How do we depict “the self” if it is unknowable, inherently constructed, and ever changing? How does the concept of portraiture shift when categories are in crisis, and visibility itself is problematic?
Jul 26, 2018–Jun 9, 2019
“Lew the Jew” Alberts (1880–1954) was one of the most influential artists tattooing in NYC’s Bowery at the beginning of the twentieth century. The exhibition includes previously unpublished and rare original tattoo artwork, photos, and correspondence between Lew and San Francisco tattooers “Brooklyn Joe” Lieber and C. J. ”Pop” Eddy.
Mar 25, 2018–Mar 25, 2019
What shapes us? What family stories become our core stories? What pieces of ourselves are formed and reformed from our heritage? What We Hold features individual audio segments from over seventy teens, each reflecting on the people, moments, and voices that have imprinted on their identities. These compelling recordings offer a rare window into personal reflections of youth today.
Aug 30, 2018–Jan 6, 2019
The Textile Lab is a hands-on educational annex to the exhibition Veiled Meanings: Fashioning Jewish Dress, from the Collection of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Located in The Museum’s Stephen and Maribelle Leavitt Yud Gallery, the Textile Lab delves into the craftsmanship and embellishment of fabrics from the exhibition and explore contemporary local connections to the clothing traditions. The space offers opportunities to weave on large looms, to play with draping and dressing, and to embroider. It also features a listening station with interviews of community members from the regions represented in the exhibition, a community-driven photo montage, and pop-up programs with textile artists, musicians, and community members from Middle Eastern and North African heritage.
Aug 30, 2018–Jan 6, 2019
Clothing is intended to cover our bodies, but it also uncovers. To what extent is our choice of dress freely made, and how do our surroundings affect our decisions? This exhibition will focus on how clothes balance the personal with the social, how dress traditions distinguish different Jewish communities, and how they portray Jewish and secular affiliations within a larger societal context. These exquisite objects from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries demonstrate how diverse global cultures have thrived, interacted and inspired each other for centuries.
Feb 22, 2018–Jul 29, 2018
Contraption: Rediscovering California Jewish Artists is a group show that presents the work of sixteen California-identified artists of Jewish descent—both historical and living—whose work refers to the machine either literally or metaphorically. Some of the artists are rarely seen now. Among the living artists, there will be large-scale mechanical installations by Bernie Lubell and Sheri Simons, as well as ceramics, drawings, sculpture and paintings by Ned Kahn, Bella Feldman, Howard Fried, and Annabeth Rosen. This original exhibition was co-curated by Chief Curator Renny Pritikin and Mark Dean Johnson, Professor of Art at SFSU.
Mar 15, 2018–Jul 8, 2018
The Art of Rube Goldberg was organized by Jennifer George, the granddaughter of Rube Goldberg, who lives in New York, and this exhibition makes its only California appearance at The Contemporary Jewish Museum. Accompanied by a delightful coffee-table style catalog including interactive cover, the exhibition includes original drawings of his beloved machines, photographs, toys, films, newspaper clippings, and more.
Jul 20, 2017–Jul 8, 2018
Kutiman, a young Israeli musician and composer, utilizes found audio and video from the Internet as the source of his own work. In 2016 the Tel Aviv Museum of Art worked with the artist as he developed the piece titled offgrid, comprised of twelve monitors that play a 38 minute-long video and music composition by Kutiman on a loop. These minutely edited snippets of music played by soloists found on the Internet are displayed on twelve monitors that periodically join in or go silent.
Jul 20, 2017–Jul 3, 2018
Allison Smith's collaboration with Christina Zetterlund looks at craft and design history to explore issues of inclusion, exclusion, and hierarchies of power.
Nov 12, 2017–Feb 25, 2018
The Dorothy Saxe Invitational, now in its eleventh iteration, gives contemporary artists from a variety of backgrounds the opportunity to delve into a Jewish tradition. While previous Invitationals have primarily focused around Jewish ceremonial and ritual objects, The 2017 Dorothy Saxe Invitational explores a Jewish idea—that of The Sabbath. All the works of art are for sale.
Sep 28, 2017–Jan 28, 2018
This exhibition presents newly commissioned works by sixteen contemporary artists in response to a selection of tales from Jewish folklore. Acting as modern maggids—storytellers, transmitters of knowledge, secrets revealers—they explore the many facets of these stories’ characters, themes, and metaphors. Artists include: Michael Arcega, Julia Goodman, Dina Goldstein, Andy Diaz Hope and Laurel Roth Hope, Vera Iliatova, David Kasprzak, Mads Lynnerup, Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor, Mike Rothfeld, Tracey Snelling, Chris Sollars, M. Louise Stanley, Inez Storer, and Young Suh and Katie Peterson.
Jul 20, 2017–Oct 22, 2017
The 613 is a major painting project by Archie Rand presented at The CJM in its museum debut and first appearance outside New York City. In traditional Jewish texts 613 rules for ethical and religious behavior are asked of all Jews. Rand’s exhibition includes one painting for each one of the 613; they are acrylic on canvas paintings (20 x 16 in.) arranged in a huge grid comprising 1700 square feet.
Oct 5, 2017–Oct 11, 2017
Inspired by the Jewish festival of Sukkot, The CJM has built its own sukkah for gathering and community building by inviting six local artists to inhabit the sukkah as an open studio. The Sukkah Studio provides an inviting space for the artists to share their practice with visitors and even work with interested folks to make something together. Each artist will inhabit the Sukkah Studio for one day.
Apr 27, 2017–Sep 4, 2017
The CJM is pleased to present the only appearance of Roz Chast’s Cartoon Memoirs retrospective exhibition outside of New York and Massachusetts. Chast is one of the most celebrated and beloved cartoonists working in the United States today; she has been publishing with The New Yorker since 1978. Her 2014 graphic memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? deals with the difficult subject of caring for aging parents.
Nov 25, 2016–Jun 29, 2017
The Yud Video Project features twenty-five short videos that were selected among more than 700 submissions, and that altogether present a wide range of interpretation of what memory means today. Artists of all backgrounds were encouraged to submit their videos of five minutes or less to be shown in the stunning Stephen & Maribelle Leavitt Yud Gallery.
Nov 25, 2016–Jun 29, 2017
In a series of audio stories, The Museum’s Teen Art Connect interns share a layered quilt of myth and memory from the perspective of Bay Area teens in 2016. Exploring their own family narratives allowed these students to claim and understand how moments of the past transform, beyond memories, into relationships and outlooks in the present.
Jan 26, 2017–Jun 25, 2017
Cary Leibowitz: Museum Show is the first comprehensive career survey and solo museum exhibition devoted to the New York-based contemporary artist, Cary Leibowitz (b. 1963). Since the early 1990s Leibowitz has carried on with an interdisciplinary practice that turns a critical eye on subjects of identity, modernism, the art market, queer politics, and kitsch. The exhibition features nearly 350 original artworks and multiples from 1987 to the present: paintings, commercially manufactured multiples, works on paper, archival material, and fabric works and will be accompanied by a hardcover catalog with newly commissioned contributions.
Jul 28, 2016–Jun 20, 2017
Bay Area visual artist Kota Ezawa partners with San Francisco native James Kirby Rogers, a contemporary dancer at The Houston Ballet II. The pair create a video animation based on Rogers’ choreography and movements, which he performs in front of Ezawa’s camera. Their collaboration, Much Ado About Nothing, as a synthesis of two art forms, blurs the line between tangible human movements and the imaginative powers enabled by digital animation.
Nov 25, 2016–Apr 2, 2017
From Generation to Generation: Inherited Memory and Contemporary Art presents work by twenty-four artists who grapple with memories that are not their own. There are many forms of memory: memories we have experienced, memories we have heard as family stories and from popular culture, even memories from an imagined future. Through their work, the artists in this exhibition search, question, and reflect on the representation of truths related to ancestral and collective memory—ultimately attempting to deal with their own past.
Jul 28, 2016–Jan 8, 2017
Ned Kahn was commissioned to create a singular large sculpture with a smaller complementary untitled piece for The Contemporary Jewish Museum. Spanning twenty feet in diameter, Negev Wheel is an immense, slowly spinning disc filled with sand from the Negev desert in Israel; the piece presents an ever-changing, mesmerizing image of tumbling change. The sand from that region is made of a mixture of sands from a great many geographic sources, representing complexity within unity and constant evolution within permanence.
Jun 30, 2016–Oct 30, 2016
Stanley Kubrick exerted complete artistic control over his projects; in doing so, he reconceived the genres in which he worked. The exhibition covers the breadth of Kubrick’s achievements, beginning with his photographs for LOOK magazine taken in the 1940s, and continuing with his directorial achievements of the 1950s through the 1990s, and explores Napoleon and Aryan Papers, two projects that Kubrick never completed, and the technological advances developed by Kubrick and his team. This exhibition is organized by the Deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt am Main, Christiane Kubrick and The Stanley Kubrick Archive at University of the Arts London.
Sep 24, 2015–Sep 1, 2016
In 1940, all Jewish residents of Efringen-Kirchen in Southern Germany were deported to France and then sent on to Auschwitz. German-American artist Trimpin’s Pour Crever commemorates the seventy-fifth anniversary of these tragic events. In this installation of suspended water tanks, a computer-controlled mechanism developed by the artist releases sheets of water which spell out the names of the murdered residents of his town; they fall through space and disappear forever into the pool below.
Jan 28, 2016–Jul 5, 2016
Based on the Talmudic study principle of havruta—the study of religious texts by people in pairs—In That Case at The CJM encourages learning through fellowship for Bay Area artists, established professionals, museum staff, and the entire CJM community. Capitalizing on the unique Jewish perspective inherent to The Museum, this program takes the practice of havruta and repurposes it for the contemporary art community. Each local artist invited to participate in In That Case is given the opportunity to work with an established writer, scientist, thinker, or academic in a field of their choosing. The resulting collaboration is presented in the Sala Webb Education Center.
Mar 17, 2016–Jul 5, 2016
Explore the life of Bill Graham (1931–1991) from his childhood as a German Jewish refugee to his pivotal role in making rock music a multi-billion dollar global industry. The exhibition looks at his immense success as a rock promoter and his pioneering work behind the scenes to use rock music to raise consciousness and deliver aid to those in need. Organized by the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.
Sep 18, 2014–Jun 16, 2016
The Contemporary Jewish Museum celebrates the legacy of one of San Francisco’s greatest and most beloved benefactors, Warren Hellman (1934–2011), an investment banker, philanthropist, musician, and music enthusiast who founded the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival (HSB).
Feb 11, 2016–May 30, 2016
This exhibition repositions the work of Roman Vishniac (1897–1990), an extraordinarily versatile and innovative photographer who created the most widely recognized photographic record of Jewish life in Eastern Europe between the two World Wars, within the broader tradition of social documentary photography.
Nov 19, 2015–Feb 25, 2016
The exhibition is inspired by the biblical exhortation of Deuteronomy 16:20 to “pursue justice.” Three artists have produced bodies of work exploring different approaches to this Jewish commitment that have resulted in engagement with the government.
Oct 15, 2015–Jan 17, 2016
Inspired by the 1960s program Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), NEAT celebrates the Bay Area’s leading role in bringing digital innovation into the fine arts, featuring nine Bay Area artists, representing three generations of practitioners.
Jul 30, 2015–Jan 3, 2016
Inspired by the ambiguity of the Hebrew word found in Psalm 130, mima‘amaqim, David Wilson and Francesco Spagnolo have been collaborating on a deep study of the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at UC Berkeley. Mima‘amaqim, translated alternatively as “from [or out of] the depths” or de profundis, is a concept that evokes deep valleys, dark places, and mysteries. For several months, David worked in the deep storage of the Magnes, finding, researching, looking at, and drawing objects from the four corners of the world. Each drawing session culminated in a conversation with Francesco, who expanded on and played with the origins and meanings of the objects he portrayed. This installation is the result of their collaboration. Artifacts, drawings, and annotations open a window into the process of bringing out the life of an object, unleashing its performative powers. The conversation is by all means not over.
Jul 23, 2015–Nov 1, 2015
Taking its title from a song on Winehouse’s award-winning album Back to Black (2006), this companion exhibition featuring contemporary artists Jason Jägel, Rachel Harrison, and Jennie Ottinger, displays each individual artist's response to the phenomenon surrounding Winehouse’s legacy.
Jul 23, 2015–Nov 1, 2015
This personal and intimate exhibition about Amy Winehouse (1983–2011) celebrates her passion for music and fashion, as well as her love for London and her family. The Winehouse family gave The Museum access to the late singer’s belongings, including her guitar, record collection, and iconic outfits.
Sep 2, 2015–Oct 2, 2015
The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s Teen Art Connect (TAC) interns contribute a young, local, and current perspective to the walls of The Museum by adding their voices to the exhibition, Chasing Justice.
Jun 18, 2015–Sep 20, 2015
Night Begins the Day is an international group exhibition that includes work in many mediums by twenty-five artists. In Jewish tradition, day begins at sundown, rather than dawn. This notion inspired the exhibition, which looks at alternative or contemporary ways of thinking about space, time, and beauty.
Apr 30, 2015–Jul 14, 2015
Bay Area visual artist Anthony Discenza in collaboration with nationally renowned New York-based author of horror novels Peter Straub collaborate in a series based on the Talmudic study principle of havruta—the study of religious texts by people in pairs. In That Case at The CJM encourages learning through fellowship for Bay Area artists, established professionals, museum staff, and the entire CJM community. Capitalizing on the unique Jewish perspective inherent to The Museum, this program takes the practice of havruta and repurposes it for the contemporary art community. Each local artist invited to participate in In That Case is given the opportunity of working with an established writer, scientist, thinker, or academic in a field of their choosing. The resulting collaborations is presented in the Sala Webb Education Center.
Mar 26, 2015–Jun 28, 2015
The Contemporary Jewish Museum presents a solo exhibition of the work of San Francisco-based conceptual artist Josh Greene. Bound to be Held: A Book Show celebrates the relationship between a reader and a book and extends Greene’s career-long interest in instigating social interaction among people.
Feb 26, 2015–May 25, 2015
Commissioned as the first temporary exhibition at the new POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, the immersive audiovisual art installation Letters to Afar, created by internationally acclaimed Budapest-based filmmaker and video-artist Péter Forgács in collaboration with the New York City-based band The Klezmatics, revisits, rearranges, and recontextualizes rare amateur movies made by Jewish immigrants from the United States who visited their hometowns in Poland during the 1920–30s alongside official newsreels and Polish cinema of that time.
Feb 26, 2015–May 25, 2015
Poland and Palestine: Two Lands and Two Skies is an exhibition of approximately fifty images made in the 1930s by photographer Ze’ev (Wilhelm) Aleksandrowicz. The images selected for this exhibition depict everyday life for Jews in Poland and the British Mandate before the Founding of the State of Israel in 1948.
Feb 26, 2015–May 24, 2015
In partnership with the Galicia Museum-Poland, The CJM showcases Our Roots, an international youth new-media project connecting teens in the Bay Area and Europe to their ancestors and their peers—both locally and abroad. The exhibition consists of a selection of the final videos, on view at The CJM.
Apr 9, 2015–May 17, 2015
Started in 1984 and now in its tenth iteration, The 2015 Dorothy Saxe Invitational is an important component of The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s long-standing tradition of inviting artists from a variety of backgrounds to explore a Jewish ceremonial object within the context of their own medium and artistic philosophy.
Jan 22, 2015–Apr 14, 2015
Keeffe and Prentice’s havruta installation—A Menu for Recognizing Invisible Forces—utilizes the case in a dynamic way, showing evidence of their experiments and explorations around all the unseen but powerful processes that weave through our food system and our community life—from traditional practices that "cultivate" the wild food sources, to microorganisms in our guts and in the soil, to world views that draw connections between seemingly disparate "facts." Objects included range from ceramics and textiles to recipes both actual and conceptual.
Nov 20, 2014–Mar 8, 2015
J. Otto Seibold is one of America’s most beloved and influential authors of children’s books, yet remains somewhat of a hidden treasure here in the Bay Area. Born and raised in the East Bay, where he still resides, his Mr. Lunch books (written with Vivian Walsh) are the first children’s books designed using computer software. His Olive the Other Reindeer is a holiday classic. In conjunction with the twentieth anniversary of the Mr. Lunch books, the exhibition explores Mr. Lunch’s history and Seibold’s artistic process. Along with original artwork, the exhibition includes interactive areas for children designed by Seibold with new content relating to Mr. Lunch.
Oct 23, 2014–Feb 1, 2015
Arnold Newman (1918–2006) was one of the most productive, creative, influential, and successful portrait photographers of the twentieth century. With great sensitivity and care, he incorporated the personal environment, the work, and the intellectual background of the subject in his photographs.
Oct 23, 2014–Jan 6, 2015
Based on the Talmudic study principle of havruta—the study of religious texts by people in pairs—In That Case at The CJM encourages learning through fellowship for Bay Area artists, established professionals, museum staff, and the entire CJM community. Capitalizing on the unique Jewish perspective, inherent to The Museum, this program takes the practice of havruta and repurpose it for the contemporary art community. Each local artist invited to participate in In That Case is given the opportunity of working with an established writer, scientist, thinker, or academic in a field of their choosing. The resulting collaborations is presented in the Sala Webb Education Center.
Jul 13, 2014–Oct 28, 2014
Since the 1920s, the game of mah jongg has ignited the popular imagination with its beautiful tiles, mythical origins, and communal spirit. It is a game more widely known than played or understood, and it is a true cultural hybrid. With roots in China, it made a lasting impression on American audiences and became closely linked with Jewish women beginning in the 1930s. The exhibition explores the fascinating history of the game and its impact on cultural identity, fashion and style.
Apr 24, 2014–Oct 6, 2014
Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism is the first exhibition to look at the contribution of Jewish designers, architects, patrons, and merchants in the creation of a distinctly modern American domestic landscape.
Aug 5, 2014–Aug 12, 2014
Employing a large range of media and visual strategies, artist, educator, and curator Julio César Morales explores issues of migration, underground economies, and labor on personal and global scales.
Oct 3, 2013–Jul 8, 2014
In conjunction with Work in Progress: Considering Utopia, this exhibition explores and celebrates the kibbutz as it starts its second century. To Build & be Built: Kibbutz History focuses on the growth and development of these unique communities which helped create the infrastructure and culture of the State of Israel, and which are now transforming themselves as Israel becomes increasingly urban and capitalistic. The influence of the kibbutz on national and Bay Area culture—including many summer camps, youth movements, and “intentional communities”—is also addressed.
Feb 13, 2014–Jun 29, 2014
The haggadah, the ritual text for the Passover seder, evokes the story of the exodus of the ancient Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. While myriad haggadot have been created from the tenth century to the present, the exhibition highlights the unique and powerful story of The Szyk Haggadah (1940).
Nov 21, 2013–Mar 23, 2014
This exhibition celebrates the art of Arnold Lobel (1933–1987), author and illustrator of some of the most beloved children’s books produced since the late 1960s. Included among these are his Frog and Toad series (1971–79), Mouse Soup (1977), and Fables (1980), which was awarded the prestigious Caldecott Medal.
Oct 3, 2013–Jan 20, 2014
Presenting new work by three artists, Work in Progress: Considering Utopia encourages visitors to consider the concept of utopia both in a Jewish context and from a contemporary perspective that emphasizes community and participation.
Nov 21, 2013–Jan 20, 2014
Rising star and Jewish artist Jason Lazarus has his first West Coast museum exhibition. Live Archive explores collective public archives, personal memory, and the role of photography and collecting in contemporary art and identity. Chicago-based Lazarus is known for using both traditionally developed photography and found and solicited images and texts in collaborative installations and innovative crowd-sourced, online community projects. Lazarus’ work simultaneously directs attention inward toward the personal and outward toward the historical. The three main aspects of the exhibition map onto three key elements of the Jewish experience: memory, prophecy, and learning. The exhibition is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
Oct 12, 2008–Dec 15, 2013
The Contemporary Jewish Museum is the first museum in the country to host a StoryCorps StoryBooth. StoryCorps is a New York-based oral history project founded and directed by award-winning documentary artist and MacArthur Fellow Dave Isay.
Jun 28, 2013–Oct 27, 2013
Beyond Belief is an expansive exhibition exploring the spiritual dimensions of modern art, especially as seen through the lens of Jewish theological concepts. The exhibition features forty-eight internationally-known artists whose work—painting, sculpture, photography, video, and installation art—are all drawn from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s outstanding collection. Ranging from a 1914 abstraction by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian to a luminous 1960 abstraction by Mark Rothko and oversized prayer beads by contemporary artist Zarina, Beyond Belief provides an engaging alternative that prioritizes spirituality in the reading of art.
Nov 3, 2011–Sep 8, 2013
Stanley Saitowitz: Judaica combines The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s ongoing commitment to presenting new perspectives on Jewish tradition with its dedication to working with contemporary artists, like Saitowitz, whose vision enables us to find fresh ways to examine and appreciate Jewish culture and ritual. The San Francisco-based architect has designed private residences, institutions, and public and commercial spaces. The objects on view range from those associated with daily ritual, such as the mezuzah, to more festival-specific objects, such as the etrog box used during the harvest festival of Sukkoth. Rendered in metal and inspired by the architect’s commitment to a modernist aesthetic, this collection is characterized by the clean lines, rational proportions, and smooth, unembellished surfaces that also define Saitowitz’s architecture.
May 23, 2013–Sep 8, 2013
Through over seventy photographs by renowned poet, Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997), Beat Memories tenderly captures the young writers and rebels that would define the Beat Generation.
Feb 14, 2013–May 27, 2013
African American artist Kehinde Wiley is known for vibrant, large-scale paintings of hip men of color rendered in the self-confident poses typical of classical European portraiture. The first major exhibition of Wiley’s work in San Francisco, The World Stage: Israel is part of the artist’s bold series exploring the black diaspora. The portraits are complemented by a selection of historical Jewish textiles and works on paper from which the artist drew inspiration.
Nov 17, 2011–Apr 28, 2013
Just as the founders of San Francisco Jewish life questioned the rules of community and tradition as they created their own robust community life, California Dreaming is structured around five questions that investigate key aspects of the community’s character, and that are designed to draw visitors into the discussion of what constitutes a Jewish community in the twenty-first century.
Nov 15, 2012–Feb 24, 2013
The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats is the first major exhibition in the United States to pay tribute to award-winning author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats (1916–1983), whose beloved children’s books include Whistle for Willie (1964), Peter’s Chair (1967), and The Snowy Day (1962)—the first modern full-color picture book to feature an African American protagonist.
Oct 11, 2012–Jan 21, 2013
A photo project of Teen Art Connect in connection with the exhibition, The Radical Camera: New York’s Photo League, 1936–1951. The result of a workshop with Emilio Bañuelos, an editorial photographer and educator based in California and Jalisco, Mexico, the photographers were encouraged to find their unique voice and capture their own vision.
Oct 11, 2012–Jan 21, 2013
The Radical Camera: New York's Photo League, 1936–1951 is the first comprehensive museum survey in three decades of the famed photography group’s work, history, artistic significance, and cultural, social, and political milieu. Drawing from two extensive Photo League museum collections housed at The Jewish Museum in New York City and the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio, the exhibition includes 150 vintage photographs by more than sixty Photo League members.
Feb 16, 2012–Sep 9, 2012
Do Not Destroy: Trees, Art, and Jewish Thought explores the subject of the tree in Jewish tradition through the lens of contemporary artists who enable us to see the world in new ways and to encourage us to find fresh meaning in tradition.
Jan 1, 2012–Jan 31, 2012
Co-presented with Reboot, this interactive installation allows visitors to contribute their own Six-Word Memoir to a live stock ticker on view in the lobby of The CJM. Take a seat on our Arne Jacobsen swan sofa and use Twitter on your smartphone to instantly add your Six-Word Memoir to the live feed. The Reboot installation on Jewish life is based on SMITH Magazine’s Six-Word Memoirs, a project inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s legendary shortest of short stories, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” This succinct form has become a powerful tool to catalyze conversation, spark imagination, or simply break the ice.
Oct 2, 2011–Jan 16, 2012
The first art exhibition in an American art museum on this master magician, Houdini: Art and Magic explores how Houdini's role as an American icon was transformed across three centuries: first in the late nineteenth century by the artist’s own interpretation of himself; by popular culture in the twentieth century; and today by contemporary artists who conjure Houdini as an audacious performer and showman of raw physicality.
Jun 8, 2008–Oct 18, 2011
Discover the many different ways of “being Jewish” in the Bay Area through this mural of community photos, and objects which reflect the flavor of Jewish life in the Bay Area, both past and present.
Mar 31, 2011–Oct 16, 2011
Charlotte Salomon, a young Jewish artist from Berlin, worked feverishly between 1940 and 1942 to produce approximately 1300 paintings before she was arrested by the Nazis in 1943, transported to Auschwitz, and murdered at the age of 26. The gouaches make up Life? or Theatre?—which through imagery and text tell the slightly fictionalized and theatrically imagined story of Salomon’s family.
May 12, 2011–Sep 6, 2011
Drawing upon a wealth of rarely seen artistic and archival materials, Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories illuminates Stein's life and pivotal role in art during the twentieth century. Focusing on Stein's life from the end of World War I through World War II, the exhibition explores her evolving public personae, lifestyle, relationships, landmark 1934–35 tour of the United States, and life in France during WWII.
Apr 7, 2011–Aug 28, 2011
Hagar in the Desert (1969), the last monumental bronze cubist sculptor Jacques Lipchitz created before his death, is on view on The Museum’s second floor in a small exhibition examining the many ways Western religions and artists interpret the meaning of this fascinating story from the Torah.
Apr 7, 2011–Aug 28, 2011
Ping pong—it saved the life of Polish Jewish champion Alojzy Ehrlich, when a Nazi guard at Auschwitz recognized his lanky frame and pulled him to safety. In fact, what began as an upper-crust amusement in 1880s England became a game dominated by Jewish champions after World War I when its competitive focus shifted to Central and Eastern Europe. For the next few decades, it was players like Ehrlich, Austrian Richard Bergmann (who played in double-breasted suits), and Hungarian hardbats Viktor Barna and Lazlo Bellak that ruled the game.
Mar 31, 2011–Jul 31, 2011
Are We There Yet? is a new media art installation in the Museum's Yud Gallery by Bay Area artists Ken Goldberg and Gil Gershoni that celebrates inquisitive impulse. An immersive sound environment, the installation poses questions from a variety of sources including the Talmud, literature, and popular culture. Questions vary based on visitors’ movement through the space.
Oct 29, 2010–Mar 29, 2011
Reclaimed commemorates a remarkable story of post-Holocaust restitution and the extraordinary life and legacy of Jacques Goudstikker (1897–1940), a preeminent art dealer in Amsterdam. Goudstikker’s vast collection of Old Master paintings was almost lost forever to the Nazi practice of looting cultural properties. Explore the richness of this collection while learning about the plundering of the works and the efforts by Goudstikker’s family that led to the successful recovery of over 200 of the looted works.
Oct 8, 2009–Mar 29, 2011
As It Is Written: Project 304,805 is centered around a soferet (professionally trained female scribe) who, while on public view, will write out the entire text of the Torah over the course of a full year.
Aug 26, 2010–Mar 22, 2011
A musical journey through a unique slice of recording history—the Black-Jewish musical encounter from the 1930s to the 1960s.
Nov 14, 2010–Mar 13, 2011
Curious George, the impish monkey protagonist of many adventures, may never have seen the light of day if it were not for the determination and courage of his creators, the illustrator H. A. Rey and his wife, author and artist Margret Rey. The exhibition features nearly 80 original drawings of the beloved monkey and other characters, a look at the Reys’ escape from Nazi Europe, and more.
Sep 9, 2010–Jan 19, 2011
Maurice Sendak has written or illustrated more than 100 picture books over his 60-year career. A number of those books, including Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, and Chicken Soup with Rice, inspired generations of children and changed the landscape of picture books. This major retrospective sheds light on the many mysteries of his life and art by exploring the intensely personal undercurrents in his work; and it does so using Sendak's own words, insights, and remarkable stories.
Jul 1, 2010–Oct 26, 2010
Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World) is the first museum survey of award-winning illustrator, author and designer Maira Kalman’s narrative art. Well-known for her covers and drawings for The New Yorker, over a dozen books for children and adults, two celebrated illustrated blogs for The New York Times, and collaborations with leading designers and innovators, Kalman illuminates contemporary life with a profound sense of joy and a unique sense of humor.
Apr 22, 2010–Oct 3, 2010
The first major international exhibition to examine the reinvention of Jewish ritual in art and design. The exhibition surveys works by more than fifty-eight artists, including Oreet Ashery, Jonathan Adler, Helene Aylon, Galya Rosenfeld, and Allan Wexler, who are exploring Judaism as a vital, multicultural, and contradictory force.
Feb 6, 2009–Aug 22, 2010
Jews on Vinyl is a unique exhibition based on Josh Kun and Roger Bennett's book And You Shall Know Us by the Trail of Our Vinyl: The Jewish Past as Told by the Records We Have Loved and Lost, which spans the history of Jewish recorded music from the 1940s to the 1980s, weaving an account that begins with sacred songs and ends with the holy trinity of Neil, Barbra, and Barry.
Jan 11, 2010–Jun 15, 2010
Artist Linda Ellia confronted Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampf by inviting both artists and the general public to respond to the text by altering one of the books 600 pages.
Jun 8, 2009–Sep 7, 2009
Organized by The Jewish Museum in New York City, From The New Yorker to Shrek: The Art of William Steig, features a wide selection of original drawings for both his New Yorker cartoons and his children’s books such as Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Doctor De Soto, Amos & Boris, Gorky Rises, Dominic, When Everybody Wore a Hat, and Shrek! (“fear” in Yiddish). Additionally, the exhibition will showcase his lesser known mid-life symbolic drawings, correspondence, and other documentary materials that will shed light on Steig, the man and the artist.
Apr 23, 2009–Sep 7, 2009
Through paintings, costume and set designs, posters, photographs, film clips and theater ephemera this exhibition will bring to light an exhilarating but fleeting moment in the cultural history of the Soviet Union when innovative visual artists joined forces with avant-garde playwrights, actors, and theatrical producers. Organized by the Jewish Museum, New York.
Jun 18, 2009–Aug 18, 2009
There are 303 roads, streets, and paths in Germany, whose names refer to a Jewish presence. Artist Susan Hiller has visited all of them over a three-year period, filming and taking photographs of these historically evocative places.
Feb 27, 2009–Jun 2, 2009
Continuing its long-standing tradition of engaging artists from myriad backgrounds to rethink, reshape and redefine traditional Jewish ritual objects, The Contemporary Jewish Museum has invited eighty leading local and national artists to creatively explore the meaning and form of the Passover seder plate.
Jan 30, 2009–Mar 17, 2009
Dateline 09 inaugurates a new series of exhibitions that provide a forum for The Museum to respond to the latest developments in today's rapidly changing world, featuring presentations of work by two of today's leading artists—photographer Adi Nes and video artist Yael Bartana.
Oct 12, 2008–Feb 3, 2009
On view for the first time on the West Coast, Andy Warhol’s original paintings from his extraordinary series, Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century, which portrays a pantheon of great Jewish thinkers, politicians, performers, musicians, and writers.
Jun 8, 2008–Feb 1, 2009
Acclaimed musician John Zorn curates a series of original sound pieces based on a letter of the Hebrew alphabet by such leading musicians and composers as Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Erik Frielander, Chris Brown, and Terry Riley.
Jun 8, 2008–Jan 6, 2009
The exhibition pairs seven new artist commissions, including works by Matthew Ritchie, Ben Rubin, and Shirley Shor, with a range of historically important works by Marc Chagall, William Blake, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, and others in order to explore our changing understanding of the story of creation as depicted in Genesis Chapter 1.
May 10, 2007–May 20, 2007
See how teens inspired by The Jewish Identity Project created their own photographic exploration of personal identity. Projects on view include interview-based portraits of friends and family, symbolic self-portraits, and photographic series depicting significant rituals. The youth involved in this project acted as both artists and curators.
Oct 22, 2006–Apr 29, 2007
The Contemporary Jewish Museum presents The Jewish Identity Project: New American Photography, featuring newly commissioned photography, video, and multimedia projects by thirteen emerging and mid-career artists. The exhibition explores the hybrid and complex racial, national, and cultural identity of contemporary Americans through a Jewish lens.
Apr 4, 2006–Jul 30, 2006
The Contemporary Jewish Museum is proud to present Art of Living: Contemporary Photography and Video from the Israel Museum, an exhibition of dynamic and engaging photographs and video works produced by 20 contemporary Israeli artists from the permanent collections of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
Oct 23, 2005–Feb 26, 2006
The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) is honored to be the only U.S. venue for Intersections, an interfaith, intercontinental, and interactive exploration of the changing issues of women and faith. Three women—reflecting three different religions, using different media, working on different continents—use text to explore the possibility of change and exchange in this exhibition.
May 4, 2005–Sep 5, 2005
In the longstanding tradition of The Museum, the Invitational encourages artists of all backgrounds from around the country to make us think afresh by creating original interpretations of traditional Jewish ritual objects using a variety of media.
Oct 14, 2004–Feb 27, 2005
From Rome to New York, India to Yemen, Buenos Aires to Bukhara, since 1978, Frédéric Brenner has recorded the Jewish Diaspora in over forty countries on five continents. The French photographer, trained as a social anthropologist, has comprised the most extensive record of Jewish life ever created by a single individual as well as chronicled one of the oldest and most diverse peoples.
Mar 7, 2004–Jun 27, 2004
100 Artists See God is a traveling exhibition organized by Independent Curators International. The guest co-curators, artists John Baldessari and Meg Cranston, are tackling the ever-challenging question of God in this exhibition. Baldessari and Cranston have invited 100 artists to respond to one of art's most enduring challenges: picturing the divine.
Oct 27, 2002–Feb 16, 2003
Stephanie Snyder's site-specific installation, Hamakom (The Place), is at its heart a personal response to the essences and contradictions of Jerusalem's Western Wall. Created through a process deeply influenced by Jewish ritual, it is a poetic re-imagining of sacred space.
Sep 21, 2002–Feb 16, 2003
On Bush Street, an 1895 San Francisco synagogue was about to be renovated as part of a Japanese American assisted living facility. The cornerstone of Congregation Ohabai Shalome, and the time capsule it contained, were opened for the first time in more than a century. The mysteries that lay hidden are on view in this exhibition, which today is the oldest standing synagogue building in San Francisco.
Oct 27, 2002–Feb 16, 2003
Sharing the Screen was a compilation of film and video excerpts selected by outgoing Jewish Film Festival director, Janis Plotkin, because together they formed a kaleidoscope of cinematic responses to Israeli-Arab relationships over the festival's lifespan. Beginning with Hamsin (1983), the first Israeli feature to focus on Palestinian-Israeli conflict over land, the films spanned the first Intifada (uprising) of the late 1980s, the hopeful period of the Oslo accords (post-1993), their breakdown, and then a second Intifada.
Mar 21, 2002–Jun 30, 2002
Enter the irreverent world of comic strip artist Ben Katchor, and meet the hilarious characters who live there at The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM)'s West Coast premiere exhibition of Katchor's illustrations, graphic novels, set designs and drawings. Explore his quirky, Yiddish-inflected cartoon metropolis, home to implausible heroes and oddly nostalgic places, all created by an artist pushing the boundaries of the comic strip into new, soulful terrain.
Nov 14, 2001–Jan 31, 2002
Face(t)s of Memory explores and challenges the power of the photograph to preserve fragments of personal memory, featuring works by contemporary artists Christian Boltanski and Marcelo Brodsky, juxtaposed with a selection of family albums, archival photographs, and personal memorabilia from the Judah L. Magnes Museum (now The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life) collection.
May 7, 2001–Jun 28, 2001
French conceptual artist Sophie Calle presents work inspired by eruv—the Orthodox Jewish tradition of erecting symbolic borders around public spaces to extend the boundaries of the home. For this work, the artist interviewed Palestinian and Israeli residents of Jerusalem about public places they consider private. The installation is accompanied by a selection of Calle's photographs from Bay Area collections.
Mar 26, 2000–Jun 8, 2000
To the Rescue: Eight Artists in an Archive presents eight international artists' responses to the historical photographic archive of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), a humanitarian relief organization founded in 1914 to help Palestinian Jews during WWI.
Nov 14, 1999–Jan 23, 2000
Making Change: 100 Artists Interpret the Tzedakah Box continues the fifteen year tradition of inviting contemporary artists to re-examine Jewish ritual objects. The subject of this invitational, the tzedakah box (or pushke in Yiddish), is a traditionally humble container found in synagogues, Jewish homes and institutions in which charitable donations are deposited. This ritual object was chosen because it represents a tradition which embodies community outreach, service and empowerment to others. Hebrew for "righteousness," tzedakah is the act of charity in Jewish culture and faith.