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The Jewish Museum
1109 5th Ave at 92nd St
New York, NY 10128

The Jewish Museum
1109 5th Ave at 92nd St
New York, NY 10128
212.423.3200

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Jewish Museum Members and visitors can park at Impark and Champion Parking. Read More

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Upcoming Events

Thu, Jun 29

Thursday, June 29, 2017

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6:30 PM

Wish You Were Here
Franz Kafka

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Sat, Jul 1

Saturday, July 1, 2017

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11 AM

Free Saturdays

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Thu, Jul 6

Thursday, July 6, 2017

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6 PM

ASL Tour
The Arcades: Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin

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Fri, Jul 7

Friday, July 7, 2017

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2 PM

Gallery Talks
Collecting Fragments

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Sat, Jul 8

Saturday, July 8, 2017

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11 AM

Free Saturdays

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Mon, Jul 10

Monday, July 10, 2017

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1 PM

Stettheimer Summer Mondays

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Wed, Jul 12

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

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10:30 AM

JM Journeys
Summer Celebration

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Wed, Jul 12

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

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2 PM

JM Journeys
Summer Celebration

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Who We Are

Welcome to the Jewish Museum, a museum in New York City at the intersection of art and Jewish culture for people of all backgrounds. Whether you visit our home in the elegant Warburg mansion on Museum Mile, or engage with us online, there is something for everyone. Through our exhibitions, programs, and collection of nearly 30,000 works of art, ceremonial objects, and media, visitors can journey through 4,000 years of art and Jewish culture from around the world.


As an art museum representing the diversity of Jewish culture and identity, the Jewish Museum believes in free expression and an open society. We embrace multiple viewpoints regardless of race, gender, national origin, or religion, and we oppose discrimination in all its forms.


Our exhibitions and public programs provide platforms for cross-cultural dialogue, fostering empathy, mutual understanding, and respect. We champion the powerful roles art and artists can play in our communities, both inside and outside the Museum’s walls.

Our Mission

The Jewish Museum is dedicated to the enjoyment, understanding, and preservation of the artistic and cultural heritage of the Jewish people through its unparalleled collections and distinguished exhibitions. Learn More

History

The Jewish Museum was founded in 1904 in the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where it was housed for more than four decades. Now located in the landmark Warburg mansion, this elegant former residence has been the home of the Museum since 1947Learn More

From the Blog

Florine Stettheimer’s Portrayal of Gender Fluidity Read More

Florine Stettheimer, Beauty Contest: To the Memory of P.T. Barnum, 1924. Oil on canvas, 50 x 60½ in. (127 x 152.4 cm). Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut. Gift of Ettie Stettheimer, 1947

Florine Stettheimer, the visionary painter, costume designer, and poet, was an individualist whose portraits defied conventional gender representations. This Pride Month, Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry at the Jewish Museum offers a timely reconsideration of the important Jewish-American artist through over 50 paintings and drawings, a selection of costume and theater designs, photographs and ephemera, and poetry.

Florine Stettheimer, Portrait of Louis Bouché, 1923. Oil on canvas. 28 x 18 in. (71.1 x 45.7 cm). Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, New York. Gift of the Baker / Pisano Collection

In an era when Dada reigned, Stettheimer used her unique blend of impressionism, post-impressionism, and symbolism to capture her illustrious inner circle of friends and family as she saw them. Stettheimer painted androgynous portraits of the likes of fellow artists Marcel Duchamp, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Elie Nadelman, foregrounding revolutionary ideas about gender and introducing the concept of gender fluidity to her portraiture. Art critic Roberta Smith describes the exhibition in her New York Times review as:

“convey[ing] the strength of Stettheimer’s work, at a moment when … a lot of art is moving forward by reconsidering the past; and when gender, which Stettheimer modulated endlessly, is increasingly seen as fluid.”

In her Portrait of Louis Bouché (1923) for example, Stettheimer deliberately chooses not to represent her contemporary and fellow American artist as a traditionally masculine figure. Although Bouché was a man — and the clothing indicates as much — Stettheimer’s depiction of the figure is of a slender frame and long, delicate limbs. By melding attributes often associated with distinct genders, Stettheimer creates in her work a new form of gender harmony. It seems that Stettheimer is not necessarily making a statement about the physical qualities of her subject, but rather revealing her view of gender as a fluid concept.

Florine Stettheimer, Portrait of Myself, 1923. Oil on canvas laid on board, 40⅜ x 26⅜ in. (102.6 x 67 cm). Art Properties, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University in the City of New York, New York. Gift of the Estate of Ettie Stettheimer, 1967

Stettheimer’s androgynous approach to representation was not only reserved for others. She turned the same transformative eye upon herself — for instance, with Portrait of Myself (1923), one of many self-portraits featured in the exhibition. In keeping with her portrayal of Bouché, Stettheimer paints her own form as long-limbed and graceful, yet without distinguishing female curves. The artist again deliberately casts aside conventional representations of femininity and masculinity, and instead equalizes the forms of her figures so that they become genderless.

In her works that capture large social gatherings, Stettheimer flaunts her androgynous approach to figuration that disrupts the gender binary. In paintings such as Asbury Park South (1920) and Beauty Contest: to the Memory of P.T. Barnum (1924), both men and women stroll, pose, dance, and frolic, their dainty hands and feet interchangeable. Peter Schjeldahl notes in his New Yorker review:

Stettheimer peopled her pictures with willowy figures — women in slinky gowns and men in close-fitting suits. They have individualized faces but might almost be clones beneath the cloth — they’re not so much gender-bending as gender averaged.
Florine Stettheimer, Asbury Park South, 1920. Oil on canvas, 50 × 60 in. (127 × 152.4 cm). Collection of halley k harrisburg and Michael Rosenfeld, New York

Stettheimer’s refusal to depict gender in a traditional way was prescient: the artist here seemed prophetic, predicting a future when LGBTQ+, transgender, and queer persons might become visible and influential communities, and a time when distinctions between genders would become less concrete. In this exhibition, we now gaze at her work with the perspective of our era, understanding the advanced platform for a social and artistic discourse that Stettheimer provided a century ago.

Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry on view at the Jewish Museum in New York through September 24, 2017.

— Kathryn Estavillo, Marketing Intern


Florine Stettheimer’s Portrayal of Gender Fluidity was originally published in The Jewish Museum on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Pride, Activism, and Radicalism of Identity Read More

Deborah Kass, Double Red Yentl, Split (My Elvis), 1993. Screenprint and acrylic on canvas. The Jewish Museum, New York.

For the month of June, the Jewish Museum invited writer and activist Adam Eli to explore works of art in the Jewish Museum collection that celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month through four themes: persecution, empathy, activism, and the diversity of identity. Part four of the series explores activism.

In my Pride Month collaboration with the Jewish Museum, works from the Jewish Museum collection have been used to tell the history of oppression in gay and Jewish communities, as well as how these violent histories have led to a tradition of empathy. With the New York City Pride Parade this Sunday, we are now turning empathy into action. This week’s theme is activism.

I am proud to say that both the gay and Jewish community have shared a long history of activism. Many famous gay and Jewish activists such as Abraham Heschel, Noam Chomsky, Diane Arbus, Allen Ginsberg, and Susan Sontag are represented in the Jewish Museum collection. Activism can take on many forms, but sometimes simply being yourself has the power to change the world. The artist Deborah Kass, in describing the inspiration for her portraits of Barbra Streisand, once explained:

Deborah Kass, Six Blue Barbras (The Jewish Jackie Series), 1992. Screenprint and acrylic on canvas. The Jewish Museum, New York.
Barbra didn’t change her name, didn’t change her nose. My friends’ older sisters were getting nose jobs at this point. That Barbra didn’t was a really big deal. And her sense of herself and of her difference as the source of glamour and power — being this proud Jewess was very radical.
She was revolutionary by virtue of simply being herself.

In today’s digital age, social media has democratized fame, giving anyone online the opportunity to craft an identity. We take on the challenge to be radical in owning our identity, but no longer need to be a celebrity like Barbra Streisand to change the world.

Ross Bleckner, Double Portrait (Gay Flag), 1993. Oil on canvas. The Jewish Museum, New York.

Ross Bleckner is an artist who has confronted the evolving question of identity over time in his work. His painting Double Portrait (Gay Flag) recreates artist and activist Gilbert Baker’s iconic rainbow flag from 1978. However, Bleckner’s colors are darker than the original. The sixth panel to the right, traditionally violet, appears as a blue so dark that it could be black. Bleckner’s revision also added a three-dimensional, low relief Star of David symbol at the top center of the flag to indicate pride in his cultural as well as sexuality identity.

In altering the original rainbow flag, Bleckner’s painting is a statement on change and the adaptability of activism. On June 8, 2017, the City of Philadelphia adopted a new version of the Pride flag that now includes a brown and black stripe to represent LGBT people of color. The new flag, like all change, has been met with a mix of acceptance, push back, and controversy. I, like Bleckner, am fully supportive of altering the flag. Bleckner’s work is a reminder that no symbol is sacred or unchanging. The movement changes and so must we.

Andy Warhol at the opening of The Jewish Museum exhibition Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century, 1980.

The only exception to the rule of change is perhaps Andy Warhol. As an artist and leading figure of the Pop art movement, Warhol possessed the unique gift to make any image — whether a glamorous movie star or a can of soup — iconic. In 1980, Warhol was commissioned to depict the renowned luminaries of Jewish culture: Sarah Bernhardt, Louis Brandeis, Martin Buber, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, George Gershwin, Franz Kafka, the Marx Brothers, Golda Meir, and Gertrude Stein. The image of each of these subjects in his Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century series could be described as “iconic,” with the exception of Louis Brandeis.

Andy Warhol, Louis Brandeis from Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century, 1980. Screenprint on paper. The Jewish Museum, New York.

Louis Brandeis was the first Jewish U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Before his appointment, Brandeis championed progressive causes such as the right to privacy, defending labor laws, fighting against big corporations, monopolies, and mass consumerism. Later in his career, Brandeis was named “The People’s Attorney” because he often refused payment to “protect the interest of the people.” Brandeis was not particularly glamorous and his name also lacks the recognition of Warhol’s other subjects in the portrait series, such as Kafka or Einstein. Brandeis’s legacy was defined by his activism to make the world a better place. By including Brandeis in this series, Warhol frames the fight for social justice as an integral (or iconic) part of being Jewish.

Nicholas Buffon, The Stonewall Inn, 2017. Foam, glue, paper, paint. Courtesy of the artist and Callicoon Fine Arts, New York

Our final work of art, while not part of the Jewish Museum collection, is currently on view in The Arcades: Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin through August 6. I was very excited when I saw Nicholas Buffon’s diorama of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s West Village which was recently declared a National Monument. Most people know Stonewall as the “birthplace of the gay rights movement.” What a lot of people do not know is the active role Stonewall continues to play in activism today. In the afternoon following the Pulse Orlando Massacre, the entire New York City gay community gathered at Stonewall. Exactly one year later, we gathered there again for a memorial rally. When the Pride Parade passes the Stonewall Inn, everyone erupts into cheers and kisses.

Marching in the Pride Parade is a form of activism, so I hope to see you this Sunday, June 25 at the NYC Pride Parade!

— Adam Eli, Guest Contributor


Pride, Activism, and Radicalism of Identity was originally published in The Jewish Museum on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

As Jewish Museums, How Do We Transcend Boundaries? Read More

Melissa Martens Yaverbaum, Council of American Jewish Museums Executive Director, at CAJM Annual Conference

Established in 1977, the Council of American Jewish Museums (CAJM) strengthens the Jewish museum field in North America by training museum staff and volunteers, advocating on behalf of Jewish museums, and fostering a collegial network. This year’s annual CAJM conference explored the challenges, opportunities, and strategies for stimulating new thinking for the future of Jewish museums in America. The Jewish Museum’s Grace Astrove, Development Officer for Exhibitions and Natalia Miller, Special Events Manager, attended the conference and asked: as Jewish museums, how do we transcend boundaries?

Jewish cultural institutions are at a crossroads. Museums are equipped to overcome boundaries of all kinds and adapt to changes, but as CAJM Executive Director Melissa Martens Yaverbaum explained, “Museums can no longer simply be the collectors and keepers of our heritage; they must also be dynamic environments and centers for cultural exploration.”

Attendee at the Council of American Jewish Museums Annual Conference

In the year 2017, how do we as Jewish museums, better understand and serve our new audiences, including millennials and non-traditional Jewish museum visitors? Opening the conference, Fern Chertok of Brandeis University coined the term “Minhag Millennials”: Jews who identify as being Jewish, but don’t necessarily have the typical Jewish education or background. Accordingly, Chertok’s 2015 report on Millennial Children of Intermarriage released by the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University found that 60% of millennials identifying as Jews are from intermarriage, and that this form of identity is becoming more normative in the Jewish community. This group has a history of bi-culturalism, which is central to their identity. Engaging with this group therefore has been a way to engage not only millennials, but also their multi-faith families.

Many Jewish organizations today are also grappling with how to be more inclusive with their constituents overall. Identifying this urgency as millennials ourselves, we organized a panel discussion exploring a variety of approaches to engaging the next generation of Jewish museum visitors and patrons. The speakers, Victoria Rogers of Kickstarter Arts, Graham Wright of the Opus Affair, and Josephine Ho of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston presented on social engagement strategies, new fundraising techniques, and the state of young patron programs. In order to reach this group of individuals who are exceedingly diverse in their wants and needs, Jewish museums need to be varied, engaging, and purposeful in their offerings. As the future generation of constituents and supporters, this is a vital time for Jewish museums to understand and appreciate this group.

Grace Astrove with “Millennials: Engaging the Next Generation of Supporters” presenters Graham Wright, the Opus Affair; Victoria Rogers of Kickstarter Arts; and Josephine Ho, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Jewish museums can also be places of cross-cultural gathering and advocacy. The Jewish History Museum & Holocaust History Center in Tucson, Arizona, began a tolerance and diversity-training program for the Tucson Police Department through learning about the Holocaust, which included meeting with survivors. After the success of the program, they’ve begun new partnerships and collaborations with other community organizations by simply providing space or knowledge-based resources. These new partnerships have helped to bring in new audiences and to create cross-cultural narratives in the Tucson Jewish story.

This year’s conference provided three days of stimulating and illuminating conversations about the state of our organizations. We have reached a turning point where we must challenge what it means to be a Jewish museum today. In order to remain impactful and relevant, we need to expand our traditional audience boundaries and programming expectations. The strides that many Jewish institutions have already made are exceptional, and we look forward to seeing more progress, more discussion, and more collaboration yet to come.

— Grace Astrove, Development Officer for Exhibitions and Natalia Miller, Special Events Manager


As Jewish Museums, How Do We Transcend Boundaries? was originally published in The Jewish Museum on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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