SAN FRANCISCO, CA.-
The Contemporary Jewish Museum
invited leading local and national artists to participate in The Dorothy Saxe Invitational exhibition, New Works/Old Story: 80 Artists at the Passover Table, which will be on view February 27 - June 2, 2009. The exhibition builds upon the Museum's long-standing tradition of inviting artists from a variety of backgrounds to explore a Jewish ceremonial object, holiday, or concept within the context of their own mediums and artistic philosophy. Passover is perhaps the most celebrated Jewish holiday and the seder, a home-based ceremony and meal, occurs on the first night of the eight-day holiday. At the heart of this ritual is the seder plate that holds the various ritual foods that symbolize the holiday. The seder commemorates a key event in Judaism: the redemption of the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt. In contemporary times, the Passover seder has more broadly come to include themes of renewal and rebirth, freedom from oppression, and social justice and activism. Participating artists were encouraged to engage in the core Jewish traditions of interpretation and dialogue and interpret the traditional object from a contemporary perspective, exploring its ongoing relevance and universality.
"The Dorothy Saxe Invitational embodies the Museum's mission of presenting artistic excellence, exploring contemporary perspectives on Jewish culture and ideas, and providing opportunities for artists to explore traditional Jewish ideas and highlight their contemporary and universal relevance. The Invitational provides a unique venue through which artists can interpret the ideas and engage audiences of all ages and backgrounds to consider the old anew," stated Museum Director and CEO Connie Wolf.
Through the Invitationals, the Museum encourages participants to consider the relevance of the object and what it symbolizes - both within and outside of the Jewish tradition. For many of Jewish heritage, it is an opportunity to revisit or to learn more about one's own culture. And for others, the Invitational offers the opportunity to explore Jewish culture and to recognize parallels in their own traditions. Previous Invitationals have featured tzedakah boxes, spice boxes, Kiddish cups, and menorahs. New Works/Old Story: 80 Artists at the Passover Table was curated by the Contemporary Jewish Museum's Deputy Director for Programs Fred Wasserman, Associate Curator Dara Solomon, and Curatorial Assistant Lisa Chanoff.
In conjunction with this exhibition, the Museum will be publishing a fully-illustrated color catalogue highlighting works created for the exhibition with scholarly essays on the seder as ritual and the seder plate as art and design. Contributing authors include David Revere McFadden, chief curator, Museum of Art and Design, New York; Vanessa Ochs, associate professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia; and Fred Wasserman, deputy director for programs at the Contemporary Jewish Museum.
Established in June 2008 in conjunction with the Museum's grand reopening, The Dorothy Saxe Invitational and The Dorothy Saxe Award for Creativity in Contemporary Arts, which honors one artist in each exhibition, were named in honor of Museum Trustee and nationally-recognized collector of art and craft, Dorothy Saxe. Through the naming of the Invitational in her honor, the Museum hopes that Mrs. Saxe's interests, passions, and legacy will inspire new generations of artists and collectors to invest in the creativity of artists and to make Jewish values and ideas relevant, meaningful, and accessible to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Invitational exhibitions will be mounted every two to three years and will be on view for a period of three months in one of the Museum's main exhibition galleries. Each exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue and extensive educational activities, to enable youth and families to create their own interpretations just as the artists have done.
The winner of The Dorothy Saxe Award for Creativity in Contemporary Arts will be determined by a jury of distinguished curators who will be appointed to review the work on view and select one artist whose work is distinctive and reflects the goals of the exhibition in the most innovative and creative ways. Additionally, one Invitational artist will receive an Audience Choice Award, allowing Museum visitors to participate actively in honoring one artist in the exhibition.
The Dorothy Saxe Invitational, New Works/Old Story: 80 Artists at the Passover Table, is organized by the Contemporary Jewish Museum with lead support from Dorothy and George Saxe, and with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts and Roselyne Chroman Swig. Lead Inaugural Year Exhibition Support: Koret and Taube Foundations.
Participating Artists: Cheselyn Amato, Tor Archer, Lynne Avadenka, Helène Aylon, John Bankston, Bennett Bean, Ray Beldner, Garry Knox Bennett, Lanny Bergner, Amy Berk, Harriete Estel Berman, Nancy Moore Bess, Grisha Bruskin, May Chan, Carl Dern, Richard Deutsch, Fred Fenster, Arline Fisch, John Garrett, Ina Golub, Laurie Gross, Beth Grossman, Sabrina Gschwandtner, Tali Hinkis, Mildred Howard, Beth Katleman, Brian Kaye, Kim Kelzer, David Kesler, Lisa Alcalay Klug, Lewis Knauss, Nancy Koenigsberg, Lisa Kokin, Kyle Lapidus, John Lavine, Rhonda Lieberman, Robert Lipnick, Deborah Lozier, Liz Mamorsky, Tom Marioni, Richard Marquis, Alix Mikesell, Jason Miller, Norma Minkowitz, Eric Mirabito, Jeffrey Mongrain, Nance O'Banion, Gay Outlaw, Josh Owen, Maria Porges, Lucy Puls, Barbara Ravizza, Grace Hawthorne and Phoebe Streblow c/o ReadyMade, Amy Klein Reichert, Jill Reynolds, Sam Richardson, Galya Rosenfeld, Martha Rosler, Elliot Ross, Merryll Saylan, Rachel Schreiber, Kay Sekimachi, Nancy Selvin, Richard Shaw, Arlene Shechet, Melissa Shiff, Suzanne Silver, Sharon Siskin, Karyl Sisson, Jessica Smith, Harley Swedler, Wendy Wahl, Allan Wexler, Mary Bayard White, David Wiseman, Ronald Wornick, Jo Yarrington.