Current Exhibitions

Moses Jacob Ezekiel and His Circle

Moses Jacob Ezekiel, Israel, bronze relief, h. 44 x w. 56 in. 1904. HUC-JIR Skirball Museum Cincinnati.

The current exhibition at the Cincinnati Skirball Museum, located on the campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, 3101 Clifton Avenue, focuses on the work of Moses Jacob Ezekiel (1844-1917). The exhibition will run through May 11, 2014.  

At the Opening Reception, scholar and writer Peter Nash described how he became interested in American expatriate artist Moses Ezekiel, and told of his adventures in Rome when he traveled there to find and explore the places in which Ezekiel lived and worked. Nash is the author of the newly published book, The Life and Times of Moses Jacob Ezekiel: American Sculptor, Arcadian Knight, in which he describes Ezekiel as a Sephardic Jew, a homosexual, Confederate soldier, Southern apologist, opponent of slavery, patriot, expatriate and artist of international fame in the fin-de-siècle world of artists and intellectuals. After his lecture, Nash signed copies of his book, which will be for sale at the event.

The intimate exhibition at the Skirball grew out of a recently acquired gift of works by Moses Ezekiel and his circle from the artist's great-nephew Lee Striker, explains Abby Schwartz, the museum’s interim director. These works, mostly on paper but including three oil paintings by members of the artist’s circle and Ezekiel’s sculpting tools, complement the three bronze and marble pieces already in the museum's collection.  "We are delighted to have Peter Nash to discuss his book and describe his journey in words and images into Ezekiel’s world in Rome,” says Schwartz. “Nash is a descendent of the artist, and did much of his research here in Cincinnati. We look forward to welcoming him back to share his insights and give context to the small but choice group of works on view in this spotlight exhibition.”

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An Eternal People: The Jewish Experience

An Eternal People educates and enlightens, tugs at the heart and awakens conscience as it explores the cultural heritage of the Jewish People. The core exhibit presents over 300 fascinating artifacts - artwork, textiles, decorative arts, jewelry, memorabilia and Near Eastern Antiquities - beautifully reliving and reflecting significant periods of the Jewish experience. The museum's permanent exhibit comprises seven thematic galleries that portray the cultural, historical and religious heritage of the Jewish people:

  • Immigration - Survey the history of the arrival of Jewish immigrants and their contribution to American culture and society. Learn about prominent figures as Albert Einstein, Emma Lazarus, Irving Berlin and Elie Wiesel.
  • The American Experience - Welcome to Cincinnati, Ohio, an early settlement for Jews and a microcosm of American Jewish life. Enter the life of Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, father of American Reform Judaism and the founder of Hebrew Union College.
  • Archaeology - Explore the life of Israelites from Early to Late Antiquity through artifacts uncovered at sites in Israel that focus on the life, death, and religion of everyday people. The exhibition includes a storage jar from the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.
  • Torah - Encounter a beautiful Torah Scroll that survived the rise and fall of Nazi Germany. This section illuminates the importance the scroll has held for ancient and modern Judaism.
  • Jewish Festivals and Life Cycles - Discover the objects of Jewish celebrations and rituals. Illustrative artifacts relate the importance of the lunar calendar, festivals, and the Sabbath. Events such as coming of age, and marriage, are emphasized to enhance the understanding of what it means to be Jewish in the modern world.
  • The Holocaust - Bear witness to the atrocities of the Holocaust through art, artifacts, and a remembrance wall dedicated to the six million Jews lost in the Shoah. Be inspired by the courage of the human spirit in the face of great evil.
  • Israel - Celebrate the lives of Jews who are émigrés to Israel. Experience the rich diversity of Israel through art, music, theatre and language. An artistic overview that reveals the spirit of the land, its people and its culture.