Carol Hamoy's Welcome to America, on view through August 29, honors the immigrant Jewish women who came through Ellis Island. It is an exhibit of garments, constructed of "piece worked" muslin that incorporates fragments from wedding gowns and nightgowns, bits of lace, undergarments, table linens, and prayer shawls. Each garment carries an immigrant's first name, date of arrival, place of origin, and words that capture an essential moment in her life. The texts printed on the dresses are derived from oral histories Hamoy collected and from documents related to immigrants' journeys. The dresses are suspended and one can sense the presence, as well as the fears and hopes, of the women passing into this Land of Opportunity.
Larry Rivers' History of Matzah: The Story of the Jews is on exhibit until May 30. Commissioned in 1984 by East Coast collectors Sivia and Jeffrey Loria to portray four millennia of Jewish history, Rivers created a monumental, mural-sized triptych measuring 10' x 42': "Before the Diaspora," covers the biblical period up to the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE; "European Jewry," focuses on the experiences of the Jewish people in their many centuries of European diaspora to the beginnings of the Zionist movement in the 1890s; "Immigration to America," covers the period from 1881 to the 1930s, recounting the story of the Jewish experience in America from the mass immigration of East European Jews and ending just prior to World War II and the Holocaust.
Robert Broner: A Life in Print, presenting five decades of works by the renowned printmaker and teacher of generations of artists, reflects Jewish themes and innovative printmaking techniques. The exhibition includes etchings of the New York subway scene from the 1950s, electric circuit prints from the 1960s, metal collage prints made in Israel in the 1970s, and large figurative woodcuts portraying the fantasy/reality of flight and falling created in the 1980s and 1990s.
In Eve's Vocabulary, artist Deborah Rosenthal presents 18 oil paintings in which the Biblical Eve provides the inspiration for figures that are complex sums of female, progenitor, creator, and beloved, within an abstract matrix. The exhibition features selections from a decade's worth of paintings in which Rosenthal has explored gender and the creation act. Emanating from abstract spaces, her often solitary figures are embedded in geometrical forms or entwined with vegetal motifs that suggest the layered quality of modern female identity. In some recent canvases with paired figures, the artist extends her metaphors to play some new variations on the ancient theme of Eve and Adam.
Avoda: Objects of the Spirit is an exhibition of ceremonial art by acclaimed artist Tobi Kahn, who has created a new vocabulary for Jewish ritual objects, which reveal the timelessness of nature in its ancient, eternal presence. The objects were fashioned by the artist not only to be used, but to be handed down as embodiments of love and community. Many were made by the artist for family festivities--a wedding canopy (chuppah), a circumcision chair--in order to interpret a venerable tradition for our day.
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