Evil is not a cosmic accident. It is a deliberate action or inaction. The artists in this exhibition address with clarity and passion the many faces of inhumanity. Less rhetoric. More action. It is up to each of us to wage war on evil.
The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalog/commentary, with DVD of the artist’s animations, featuring essays by Rabbi David Ellenson, Eli Evans, Harlene Appelman, Hanan Harchol, Laura Kruger, Matthew Baigell, Maoz Kahana, Tali Kahana, Rabbi Leon Morris, and Joe Septimus, and study guides to the animations by Rabbi Leora Kaye.
Written by Ken Sutak, Cinema Judaica, The War Years, 1939-1949, weaves together the rich history of Jewish-American films and filmmakers during the period leading up to and during World War II. Sutak’s narrative, posed alongside a striking visual collection of museum-quality rare posters, trade ads or stills, tells the story of how Jewish movies, filmmakers, and movie studios influenced American cultural, political, and even military history of the period.
The Sexuality Spectrum offers a groundbreaking exploration of sexual orientation through the creativity of over fifty international contemporary artists. This exhibition explores a broad range of subjects, including the evolving social and religious attitudes toward sexuality;issues of alienation, marginalization, and inclusion;the impact on the family, child-rearing, and life stages;violence and persecution;AIDS/HIV;and the influence of the LGBTQI community on the Jewish and larger world.
10.6.73 - The Yom Kippur War: Photographs by Tom Heyman
10.6.73 - The Yom Kippur War: Photographs by Tom Heyman, presented in celebration of Israel's 60th birthday, features 200 photographs depicting the heroism and sacrifice of Hativa Sheva, the Seventh Brigade of the Israeli Defense Forces, on the Syrian front from the October 6th surprise attack, as it battled to defeat the Syrian invasion of the Golan Heights, and until the last Syrian shell fell on May 31, 1974. Caught by surprise on Judaism's holiest holiday, ill equipped, and grossly outnumbered, the Israeli forces' tenacity and courage won a military victory at a terrible cost.
A Stitch in Jewish Time: Provocative Textiles
Textiles are the most varied of ‘manufactured’ goods. Lending themselves to body covering, shelter, food storage, transportation of goods, and group/clan identification, they were, and remain to this day, objects of high status, decoration, creativity, and spiritual identity. A Stitch in Jewish Time: Provocative Textiles explores how exceptional contemporary artists apply their skillful creativity to the ever evolving understanding of Jewish values. Individually addressing issues of memory and reflection, interpretations of history and ritual, and links between the past and present, they delve into aspects of the Holocaust, war, patriotism, celebration, prayer, feminism, and sexuality, frequently through the inclusion of Biblical texts and sometimes challenging traditional forms.
Elements of Alchemy: Prints by Paul Weissman
Inspired by Primo Levi's The Periodic Table, Paul Weissman employs multi-layered printmaking techniques that incorporate eponymous elements and metaphorical imagery to examine man's relationship to basic building blocks of the universe and to serve as a mirror reflecting upon, and questioning, humankind's values and conditions.
Envisioning Maps is an exhibition of paintings, sculptures, and prints by contemporary American and international artists who use actual maps, real or imagined, as metaphors for human relationships, historical experience, social values, global politics, and issues of identity and heritage. The exhibition offers contemporary expressions of the full range of maps throughout the centuries: maps of projected travels or memories of journeys;maps depicting national boundaries or natural resources;maps of the known world or places yet to be explored;maps of worlds real and lost;maps of migration, exile, and immigration;maps for navigation or pilgrimage;maps of military campaigns or ecological disasters;maps of the earth and the constellations;and maps of ancient agricultural fields to the latest NASA and GPS navigational tools.
Isaac Bashevis Singer and his Artists
Isaac Bashevis Singer, winner of the 1978 Nobel Prize for Literature, created a legacy of 86 books and numerous stories that continue to delight people of every age, circumstance, and nationality. He depicted with a sense of humanity, humor, and clarity the vanished world of Polish Jews prior to and during the First World War, and in his collection of eleven short stories constituting The Spinoza of Market Street, published in 1961, and later novels he depicted a post-Holocaust world, no longer provincial but rife with contemporary chaos and paranoia. Based on his observations and genuine love of pious, superstitious, earthy, heroic, resourceful, and tragic figures, his works continue to live in our collective memories. The fictional characters blur the lines between folk tales, legends, supernatural powers, and the harsh reality, fear, anxiety, and despair of surviving.
Janet Shafner: Dark Prophecies
Turning to the Torah for the original sources of human relationships, Janet Shafner engaged with moral issues, ethics, and the unremitting arc of life and death. The monumental scale of her work encompasses dramatic scenes and places biblical actors on a cosmic stage.
Judy Chicago: Jewish Identity
Judy Chicago: Jewish Identity, an exhibition of the works of Judy Chicago, surveys her career, focusing on the impact of her family's Eastern European Jewish roots and the legacy of their values and political activism. Through her father, a postal worker and labor organizer, Judy Chicago, born Judith Sylvia Cohen in Chicago in 1939, is descended from a long line of rabbis, going back to the Vilna Gaon in eighteenth century Lithuania.
Leonard Everett Fisher: 70 Years an Artist
Pulitzer Prize-winner Leonard Everett Fisher’s prolific career embraces contemporary painting, the illustration of more than 200 books, commissions by the U.S. government to design postage stamps, and work as a World War II map maker. Moving between his lucid visualization of texts to the emotional sphere of painting, his graphic work exemplifies masterful technique while his clarity and delicacy of line sharpens his drawing in works that encompass the Bible, American and Jewish history, and the trajectory of his own life.
Nathan Hilu’s Journal: Word, Image, Memory
Nathan Hilu’s imaginative works evoke memories of his long, multi-faceted life. The phrase art brut, coined by Jean Dubuffet in 1922, best describes Hilu’s style — naïf, or outsider art that does not adhere to the mainstream. Boldly drawn with passion and intensity, Hilu's art captures the essence of his early days on the Lower East Side, imagined scenes from Jewish midrash, and his experiences as a U.S. Army guard at the Nuremberg Prison and the subsequent International War Crimes Trials.
Rosalyn A. Engelman: Dry Tears
Rosalyn Engelman uses her skills as a visual artist to cast light on the vulnerability of the individual victim – from the pogroms of Russia to Babi Yar and Auschwitz during the Holocaust, from Cambodia and Rwanda to Darfur. Engelman asks us to identify with those whose lives have been silenced, but whose memory exerts a call for action.
The Eye of the Collector: The Jewish Vision of Sigmund R. Balka
Sigmund R. Balka has gifted the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion with an encyclopedic survey of the major European and American Jewish artists and themes in Jewish art during the 19th and 20th century. Assembled over a period of five decades, Balka has sought out paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs by renowned and emerging artists that offer a panoramic impression of Jewish life and Jewish cultural production during a golden era of creativity.
The L.A. Story
This exhibition, a selection of work from ten contemporary Los Angeles Jewish artists, investigates the impact of place and the search for artistic community on the creativity of artists who share a religious, cultural and spiritual heritage. Working in diverse styles and mediums, with each expressing an individual voice, their range of subject matter addresses politics, myth, memory, spirituality, surrealism, Kabbalah, and historic narrative. Through their individual pieces, they explore issues of identity - their approaches colored by their family histories as well as their relationship to the Los Angeles landscape.
The HUC-JIR Museum has a commitment to documentation of all exhibitions through catalogs, brochures, and other printed materials. With the support of special grants, the Museum has been able to publish significant catalogs documenting exhibitions. In addition to the publications above, the HUC-JIR Museum has published: Mirta Kupferminc: Wanderings;Arbit Blatas: A Centennial Celebration;Peachy Levy: Threads of Judaism;Living in the Moment: Contemporary Artists Celebrate Jewish Time;Tamar Hirschl: Cultural Alarm;Waldsee 1944;The Forgotten Photographs: The Work of Paul Goldman, 1943-1961;Carol Hamoy: Psalmsong;Aliza Olmert: Tikkun;Jan Aronson: A Reverence for Nature;The Art of Aging;Thirty Pieces / Thirty Years: Sculpture by Ann Sperry, Yaacov Chefetz: There They Will Change My Name, Ora Lerman: I Gave You My Song, Living in the Moment: Contemporary Artists Celebrate Jewish Time , Daily Rage: Edith Isaac Rose, Deborah Rosenthal: Eve's Vocabulary, Robert Broner: A Life in Print, A Treasury of Sacred Melodies: The Edouard Birnbaum Collection of Musical Manuscripts, Rage/Resolution: From Family Violence to Healing in the Works of Israeli and American Women, Drawing from the Source: Miriam, Women's Creativity and New Ritual, Ron Oron: Planes, Ben Katchor: Drawings from Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer,Breaking the Tablets: Works by David Newman, Inside the Ark: Ora Lerman, The Chosen: Five Hundred Years of Sephardic Enlightenment - Sculpture by Sandi Knell Tamny, The Collector's Room: Selections from the Michael and Judy Steinhardt Collection, Renewing Rituals: A Passover Celebration in Contemporary Crafts, Ceramic Transformations: Mosaic Sculptures by Susan Tunick, Blacks and Jews: The American Experience, Chaim Gross and His Universal Themes, The Work of Our Hands: Illuminated Hebrew Manuscripts, Hana Geber: Sculptures of Religious Passion, and Mizrah: Compass for the Heart.
These catalogs feature essays by celebrated Judaic scholars, art historians, and critics, including Rabbi David Ellenson, Dr. Norman J. Cohen, Dr. William Cutter, Dr. Martin A. Cohen, Dr. Mark Kligman, and other members of the HUC-JIR faculty;Geoffrey Hartman, Dore Ashton, Raimund Abraham, Pepe Karmel, Matti Megged, Yochanan Muffs, Aimee Brown Price, Mary Tompkins Lewis, Cissy Grossman, Phyllis Braff, and Arlene Raven.