Thank you for your unwavering support as we begin a new season of exhibitions and programs that you can enjoy at the Museum, or from home.
While we continue to welcome visitors to the Museum with safety protocols in place, we have forged ahead into the digital space. In recent months, thousands of people have attended online Museum events. It is clear that we are providing a crucial sense of connection, hope, and community—even from a distance. Thank you for being there with us.
This year’s virtual Purim Ball also reminded us that the ‘party’ has never really been about where we are, but our shared values and connection to the Museum’s mission, which brings us all together. Thank you to everyone who contributed and were able to attend—if you missed it, I hope you will enjoy some highlights that we’ve featured in this newsletter.
In the coming weeks, we look forward to sharing new exhibitions at the Museum, including Modern Look: Photography and the American Magazine, which highlights a vital era in American culture: the late 1930s through 1950s, when artists and art directors, many of whom were Jewish, were at the forefront of a visual revolution. And you won’t want to miss Louise Bourgeois, Freud's Daughter, exploring Bourgeois' art and writings in light of her complex relationship with Freudian psychoanalysis.
I look forward to seeing you in the galleries or at a virtual program soon, and hope that you and your loved ones continue to stay healthy and safe.
As always, thank you for your incredible support of the Jewish Museum.
Claudia Gould, Helen Goldsmith Menschel Director
The Jewish Museum’s dynamic temporary installation by renowned artist Lawrence Weiner is presented on the Museum’s Fifth Avenue façade, transforming the building into a public artwork and spreading a message of shared humanity along Museum Mile.
The Jewish Museum's rotating collection exhibition features nearly 600 works from antiquities to contemporary art—many of which are on view for the first time.
Through over 150 works, explore how photography, graphic design, and popular magazines converged to transform American visual culture from 1930 to 1960.
This revelatory exhibition of Louise Bourgeois’s art and writings explores her complex relationship with Freudian psychoanalysis.
Opening for members on May 6, Louise Bourgeois, Freud’s Daughter will explore how Freudian psychoanalysis shaped the work of a paramount twentieth-century artist. The exhibition will showcase a focused selection of Bourgeois’s original psychoanalytic writings—many of them presented to the public for the first time—along with approximately 40 works from throughout her career, including the Personages of the late 1940s; the organic forms in plaster and latex of the 1960s; the pivotal installation The Destruction of the Father (1974); Passage Dangereux (1997), the largest of the artist’s Cell installations; and the fabric sculptures from the last 15 years of her life. The exhibition will be on view to the public at the Jewish Museum from May 7 through September 12, 2021.
Perhaps more than any other artist of the twentieth century, Louise Bourgeois (1911 – 2010) produced a body of work that consistently and profoundly engaged with psychoanalytic theory and practice. Bourgeois considered the act of making art a form of psychoanalysis and believed that through it she had direct access to the unconscious. She was in analysis with Dr. Henry Lowenfeld from 1952 to 1985, and read widely in psychoanalytic literature, including Freud, Melanie Klein, Karen Horney, Helene Deutsch, Wilhelm Reich, and R.D. Laing. While in treatment, Bourgeois produced an extensive written record of her analysis and its effects; these writings surfaced in two batches, in 2004 and 2010. Consisting of dream recordings, process notes, and other texts, they constitute a parallel body of work that not only sheds light on the artist’s methods and motivations but also represents an original contribution to the field of psychoanalysis, especially with respect to female sexuality, symbol formation, and the nature of the artist. The psychoanalytic writings form the basis for this exhibition, and its focus on the Oedipal deadlock as the traumatic kernel of Bourgeois’s creativity.
Broadening and enriching the collection with new acquisitions of art—including paintings, sculpture, photography, and Judaica—is at the core of the Jewish Museum’s mission. The Museum was founded with a gift of ceremonial art from Mayer Sulzberger to the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1904. The Jewish Museum’s collection now spans 4,000 years of art and Jewish culture through nearly 30,000 objects from around the world, from ancient artifacts to cutting-edge contemporary art.
Many members will recall the idiosyncratic artist and salonnière Florine Stettheimer from the Jewish Museum’s popular 2017 exhibition Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry. She now joins the Museum’s collection as the subject of this conceptual artwork by Andrea Geyer. This piece began as an archival photograph by Arnold Genthe, which Geyer sliced and rearranged into a prismatic form inspired by Josef Albers’s Structural Constellation drawings. The work is part of Geyer’s ongoing feminist project Constellations, in which the artist reconfigures found portraits of avant-garde women in order to highlight their under-recognized role in the development of modern art.
Renowned artist Marc Camille Chaimowicz masterfully designed this silver spice container. Chaimowicz was invited by the Jewish Museum to create a work of art for the collection. After exploring the immense Judaica holdings, the artist creatively combined two types of ceremonial objects in one: a fruit-form spice container, used for the Havdalah ceremony at the conclusion of the Sabbath, and an etrog (citron) box for the holiday of Sukkot. The surface of the spice container contains small domes with intricate piercings for smelling spices, similar to a Havdalah spice container, while the almond-shape and partially textured surface echoes the features of an etrog. Chaimowicz’s spice container enriches the collection with an inventive and splendid piece of Judaica.
See here for the Jewish Museum’s exhibition on the artist, which took place from March 16-August 5, 2018: Marc Camille Chaimowicz: Your Place or Mine… The show was the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States.
Lyle Ashton Harris created his double portrait of Maurice Berger (1956-2020) and his then partner, later husband Marvin Heiferman spontaneously, following the photo shoot that produced Berger’s author photo for the publication of his seminal book White Lies: Race and the Myths of Whiteness (1999). Berger was an American cultural historian, curator, and art critic who was known for his groundbreaking scholarship on race and American visual culture. Throughout his career, Berger was a powerful voice against racism in the art world and a resolute champion of Black art and culture. Berger also had a longstanding engagement with the Jewish Museum, perhaps most notably organizing Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American Television in 2015. Berger, who died of COVID-related complications in March 2020, will be remembered for his compassion, intelligence, humor, and unfailing sense of justice.
In Step and Screw: The Star of Code Switching, the artist Trenton Doyle Hancock imagines a meeting between his avatar, a Black superhero known as Torpedo Boy, and the white supremacist alter ego of the painter Philip Guston. Guston portrayed himself as a buffoonish Klansman throughout the late 1960s and 1970s in response to his personal experiences of racism and anti-Semitism and their continuing, pernicious effect on American society. Here, Hancock’s Torpedo Boy receives the titular “star of code switching” from Guston’s Klansman, who promises “it will help you live longer.” (Code-switching is the practice of modifying one’s behavior, appearance, or manner of speaking in order to adapt to different social or cultural norms.) For both Hancock, who is Black, and Guston, who was Jewish, learning to strategically suppress certain aspects of one’s identity is and was critical step in achieving career success, as well as a means of survival. Hancock, like his predecessor, uses humor as a tool to confront his own generational trauma related to the Klan. The painting is a layered homage to Guston in which Hancock examines their respective motivations for showing that white supremacy continues to operate in plain sight.
This embossed silver plaque memorializes an important and underrecognized female member of the renowned Sassoon family: Lady Anne (Hannah) Sassoon. Born in 1826 to a family of Baghdadi Jewish origin, Hannah married into the distinguished Sassoon family in 1838, but was a prominent Jewish philanthropist in Bombay in her own right, even staying in Bombay to continue charitable work while her husband, Sir Albert (Abdullah) Sassoon, travelled abroad. A decorative border of delicate sunflowers encircles the plaque’s extensive Hebrew inscription, which contains a dedication to Hannah upon her death on January 9, 1895. The plaque was once affixed to a Torah ark curtain in the Yagel Yaakov Synagogue in Jerusalem, highlighting the far-reaching influence of the Sassoon family.
The Jewish Museum's online classes, workshops, and tours offer meaningful engagement with art and Jewish culture.
When the Jewish Museum closed to the public on March 13, 2020, the Education staff quickly pivoted and began offering the Museum’s programs for adults, students, teachers, and families as online events. New York City was grappling with the shock and uncertainty of the pandemic, and as people began adjusting to remote interactions, we understood that shifting to an online mode of teaching was essential but that it would also be challenging. As educators we had to acclimate to working on Zoom and to helping our constituents get comfortable with a new way of communicating and learning. But we also discovered something extraordinary in the process.
Virtual exhibition tours and hands-on drawing classes offer opportunities for intimate and even uplifting engagement. Synagogue groups, community centers, friends, and teachers have contacted us for visual presentations, group discussions, and art classes with the hope of finding human connection and meaning during a time filled with stress and anxiety. Our Art in Context classes for adults explore current and past Jewish Museum exhibitions focusing on themes such as Powerful Women; Innovations in Modern Painting; and Photography, Fashion, and Popular Culture. We take a deep dive into our exhibitions and look closely and critically at works of art ranging from Jewish ritual objects to paintings by Chagall and Modigliani. These are art history classes, but each class is also an opportunity to connect with a group of people from all over the world and to share a common interest in contemplating art, in its messages, and, most of all, in art’s ability to move people.
For those more interested in creating their own original works of art, the Museum offers an online version of our popular Adult Studio Workshops, previously held in the Museum’s galleries and art studio. Sketching at Home classes have focused on drawing significant personal objects, a room of importance, and the view outside a window. In addition to thinking about ways of articulating line, shape, and color, participants investigate conceptual ways of representing the home, the self, and the times that we are living in. Encouraged by the commitment of our students, our educators have also pursued more complex projects. One of our classes involved purchasing a packet of stencil printmaking materials and creating original posters at home in response to the exhibition We Fight to Build a Free World: An Exhibition by Jonathan Horowitz. Students in the Adult Studio Workshops respond to one another’s work during sharing and discussion sessions, and many have noted the value of this supportive community during these isolating times.
Our local community has become a global community, and we look forward to continuing to provide enticing experiences about art and Jewish culture to our new online Jewish Museum family.
Jewish Museum members always enjoy special access to new exhibitions. Keep an eye out for special invitations by email to attend private viewings and previews, for an exclusive look at the Museum’s groundbreaking shows.
Modern Look: Photography and the American Magazine
Exclusive member viewing April 7
Reserve timed tickets
Louis Bourgeois, Freud’s Daughter
Member preview spring 2021. Email invitation coming soon.
This spring, don’t miss an exclusive behind-the-scenes account of Modern Look: Photography and the American Magazine, with Rebecca Shaykin, Associate Curator.
Tuesday, April 27, 3 pm
Event held via Zoom
Email invitation coming soon.
Passover is just around the corner, and members always save 10% on a distinctive selection of Haggadahs, Seder plates, and more, at the Jewish Museum Shop. Visit the Cooper Shop at the Museum, or explore Passover essentials online at Shop.TheJewishMuseum.org.
This season, the Jewish Museum's virtual Talks & Performances continue with a variety of YouTube video premieres and live programming presented online.
Featured here, Calls to Action: Museums, Art, and Achieving Equity responds to ALL THE STARS IN THE SKY HAVE THE SAME FACE, the large-scale artwork by Lawrence Weiner currently installed on the Museum's Fifth Avenue facade.
For Weiner, language is a universal material that allows for a vast and diverse audience to connect to his artwork. ALL THE STARS IN THE SKY HAVE THE SAME FACE might be considered a call to action, a piece that challenges us to create an equitable world. Hear from a panel of community activists, cultural theorists, and artists discussing the impact of public artworks and the role of museums in achieving equity.
Enjoy the full range of virtual Talks & Performances. Explore past programs featuring artists, curators, and more, with new videos launching throughout the season, via the Jewish Museum's Talks & Performances YouTube playlist. Watch online
Over the years, the Jewish Museum’s family concert series has showcased musicians who reflect the mission of the Museum as a place for people of all backgrounds. The range of diverse musical genres, songs, and performers engage with the global narratives of the Museum’s art exhibitions. This season, for the first time, the Jewish Museum brings together a dynamic group of award-winning performers in a singular YouTube concert festival for all ages. This joyful event is presented as a part of the Museum’s series of Family Day festivals inspired by the Passover holiday.
Many of the performers practice their own community activism through their work as music educators, songwriters, and leading voices in the world of kids music. Celebrating community and connection, the line-up of innovative artists includes: Pierce Freelon with Rissi Palmer, 123Andres with Konshens the MC, ShirLaLa, SaulPaul, Vered of Baby in Tune, Tkiya Music, Shine & the Moonbeams, The Pop Ups, and Saul Kaye with Elana Jagoda. Their respective performances feature pop, Latin, soul, blues, hip-hop, and folk tunes that speak about freedom, hope, unity, empowerment, fighting injustice, and accepting differences, along with other holiday-related themes. In a year when bridging culture and identity is resoundingly important, these musicians share their uplifting ideas through song. Join us and be inspired by their powerful voices and spend some time creating art and music together as a family at home during this one-of-a-kind musical experience.
Free with RSVP, one ticket per household. YouTube link sent with RSVP email confirmation.
This year's Purim Ball, themed "Where's the Party?" was the Jewish Museum's first-ever virtual gala, honoring Shari and Jeff Aronson, Jonathan Horowitz and the Jewish Museum's Essential Staff.
In case you missed it, enjoy this selection of the event's highlights, featuring Joel Grey, Freestyle Love Supreme, and an array of surprise guests.
The Jewish Museum is housed in the historic Warburg Mansion, designed in the French Gothic chateau style in 1908. The building served as the private home of Felix and Frieda Schiff Warburg for many years. The Warburgs were ardent philanthropists and proponents of the arts. In 1944, Frieda Warburg made an iconic and generous commitment to the arts when she donated the Mansion to become a museum of art and Jewish culture.
To honor the Warburg family tradition of giving, the Jewish Museum has created the Warburg Society—a special group of vital supporters who provide for the institution’s future by incorporating it into their legacy through a planned gift or bequest. Warburg Society members have a profound impact on the Jewish Museum’s compelling exhibitions and unparalleled educational programs.
For more information about the Warburg Society, or to plan a personal consultation, kindly contact Toni Levi, Associate Director, Major Gifts and Special Projects, at 212.423.3347 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
With Passover and Women’s History Month coinciding this year, mark both occasions with distinctive holiday products designed by women. The Jewish Museum Shop works year-round to source and develop products by women artists and creators from around the world, for a unique selection of Judaica, jewelry, and objects for the holidays and every day.
N3 Kiddush Cup by Afra and Tobia Scarpa
En-Gedi Kiddush Cup by Ceremonials
Seder Plate by Lella Vignelli for the Jewish Museum
Every purchase supports the Jewish Museum.