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
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.
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.
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
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 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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.