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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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Upcoming Events

Tue, Oct 23

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

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6:30 PM

Lecture
Joachim Pissarro

8318503913

Thu, Oct 25

Thursday, October 25, 2018

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4 PM

Educator Workshop
Chagall, Lissitzky, Malevich: The Russian Avant-Garde in Vitebsk, 1918-1922

706-202-9179

Fri, Oct 26

Friday, October 26, 2018

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2 PM

Gallery Talk
Figuration and Abstraction

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Sat, Oct 27

Saturday, October 27, 2018

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11 AM

Free Saturdays

2694694588

Sun, Oct 28

Sunday, October 28, 2018

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10:30 AM

Access Family Workshop
Visitors with Learning or Developmental Disabilities

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Sun, Oct 28

Sunday, October 28, 2018

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1 PM

Studio Art Sessions
Theatre Design

5187791378

Sun, Oct 28

Sunday, October 28, 2018

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2 PM

Access Family Workshop
Visitors with Learning or Developmental Disabilities

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Wed, Oct 31

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

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11 AM

JM Journeys
Visitors with Early-Stage Dementia

248-460-2079

Wed, Oct 31

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

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2 PM

JM Journeys
Visitors with Memory Loss

713-378-7968

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.


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. Located along New York's Museum Mile, this elegant former residence has been the home of the Museum since 1947. Learn More

Stories

The Jewish Museum and New York Public Library... Read More

The Jewish Museum and New York Public Library Announce Joint Acquisition of Maira Kalman’s “The Elements of Style”

Maira Kalman, The Elements of Style, “Hot day. Book found. Aha! Words cannot express. If only I could. Without a doubt. Goodness. Good. Good. Good. Maira Kalman,“ 2004–17, gouache on paper. The Jewish Museum, New York and The New York Public Library. Purchase: Jewish Museum, Gift of The Kagan-Katz-Kivel Families, by exchange and Art Acquisitions Committee Fund; New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations; Louise and Leonard Riggio; Hillary Blumberg and Alex Ginsberg; Alice and Tom Tisch; Barbara Toll; anonymous donors; May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc; Ellen and Robert Grimes; and partial gift of Julie Saul Gallery, 2018–76.1–57

The Jewish Museum and The New York Public Library (NYPL) have jointly acquired the complete series of 57 gouaches on paper created by designer, author, illustrator, and artist Maira Kalman for the 2005 edition of (561) 633-2539.

Maira Kalman, “The Elements of Style Illustrated,” 2017, gouache on paper. The Jewish Museum, New York and The New York Public Library. Purchase: Jewish Museum, Gift of The Kagan-Katz-Kivel Families, by exchange and Art Acquisitions Committee Fund; New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations; Louise and Leonard Riggio; Hillary Blumberg and Alex Ginsberg; Alice and Tom Tisch; Barbara Toll; anonymous donors; May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc; Ellen and Robert Grimes; and partial gift of Julie Saul Gallery, 2018–76.1–57

In The Elements of Style Maira Kalman adapts the well-known reference book of the same name by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White (originally published by Strunk in 1918, and revised by White in 1959), pairing her irreverent illustrations with its grammatical rules. Known to generations of aspiring writers and English students, Kalman discovered the book at a used bookstore around 2002. She found it so amusing and subject to visual interpretation that it became her most beloved project to date.

Claudia Gould, Helen Goldsmith Menschel Director, The Jewish Museum, said:

“Even before participating in the organization of Maira Kalman’s 2011 retrospective, I greatly admired her perceptive, irreverent work. This is the first time that the Jewish Museum has collaborated with another institution on a major acquisition. The joint acquisition with The New York Public Library of Kalman’s paintings for The Elements of Style allows us to significantly expand our holdings of Kalman’s work with this witty, incisive series by a unique illustrator, artist, and author.”

“Maira Kalman’s whimsical interpretation of The Elements of Style breathed new life into an important book, making it increasingly attainable while capturing the playful spirit of the original authors,” said New York Public Library President Tony Marx. “We are so proud to partner with The Jewish Museum to acquire the 50-plus paintings from this significant contemporary work, which exemplifies the very nature of what happens in our research libraries every day: primary sources being used to create new works. We look forward to seeing how researchers utilize the Kalman pieces, perhaps to make their own interpretations.”

Maira Kalman, The Elements of Style, “Polly loves cake more than she loves me,” 2004–2017, gouache on paper. The Jewish Museum, New York and The New York Public Library. Purchase: Jewish Museum, Gift of The Kagan-Katz-Kivel Families, by exchange and Art Acquisitions Committee Fund; New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations; Louise and Leonard Riggio; Hillary Blumberg and Alex Ginsberg; Alice and Tom Tisch; Barbara Toll; anonymous donors; May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc; Ellen and Robert Grimes; and partial gift of Julie Saul Gallery, 2018–76.1–57.

Maira Kalman observed,

“Since I am Jewish and since I adore libraries, isn’t it thrilling that these two glorious institutions share the work. I make books. And I make art. The works are the intersection of these, mixed with a great dollop of curiosity. In a kind of Talmudic manner, I think E.B. White would be pleased. Doesn’t it all make complete wonderful sense!”

Of Kalman’s paintings for The Elements of Style, there are various complex and almost always humorous relationships to the text. In one painting, Kalman depicts a romantic couple seated outdoors with the female looking longingly away from her man to illustrate the text about comparative pronouns, “Polly loves cake more than she loves me.” In another, a guilty expression accompanies a basset hound in the caption of parenthetic phrases, “Well, Susan, this is a fine mess you are in.”

Maira Kalman, The Elements of Style, “Well, Susan, this is a fine mess you are in.” 2004–2017, gouache on paper. The Jewish Museum, New York and The New York Public Library. Purchase: Jewish Museum, Gift of The Kagan-Katz-Kivel Families, by exchange and Art Acquisitions Committee Fund; New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations; Louise and Leonard Riggio; Hillary Blumberg and Alex Ginsberg; Alice and Tom Tisch; Barbara Toll; anonymous donors; May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc; Ellen and Robert Grimes; and partial gift of Julie Saul Gallery, 2018–76.1–57.

In 2017, the Julie Saul Gallery showed the entire series of illustrations for the first time. Although the artist has sold other works from previous collections to individual collectors, Kalman chose to keep the illustrations for The Elements of Style as one body of work. At the time of publication it also became an original opera written by the young prodigy Nico Muhly in collaboration with Kalman, commissioned by the Library. It was performed in the Rose Main Reading Room at the iconic branch on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue in October 2005 and subsequently at Lincoln Center and the Dia Foundation in Beacon, NY.

In 2011, the Jewish Museum exhibited 931-709-8380, a retrospective of Kalman’s work organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. In addition to The Elements of Style series, the Jewish Museum’s collection includes six works on paper by Kalman and in 2014, the Museum commissioned Kalman to create a mural, Aesculaceae(2015), for its restaurant, Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum.

The Library named Kalman a Library Lion in 2015, awarded for her contributions to New York City and the creative community at large. In honor of the event celebrating her accomplishments and those of her fellow honorees, Kalman selected an illustration from The Elements of Style series for a public display. She is also currently working on illustrations for a book about libraries to be published in partnership with Macmillan and the Library.

About Maira Kalman

Maira Kalman (Israeli, b. 1949) was born in Tel Aviv and moved to New York with her family at the age of four. She was raised in bucolic Riverdale, the Bronx, and now lives in Manhattan. Kalman has written and illustrated 18 children’s books, including Ooh-la-la-Max in Love; What Pete Ate; Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey; 13 WORDS, a collaboration with Lemony Snicket; Why We Broke Up, with Daniel Handler; Looking at Lincoln; and Thomas Jefferson Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything. She is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker, and is well known for her collaboration with Rick Meyerowitz on the New Yorkistan cover published in 2001 and The New York City Sub-Culinary Map. Kalman is currently creating an illustrated column for The New Yorker based on travels to museums and libraries. Maira Kalman is represented by Julie Saul Gallery in New York City.

Maira Kalman, In This Life, There Was Very Much, 2015. Assemblage of vignettes and small scenes reflecting the artist’s appreciation of good food, shared human pleasure, and her view that Russ & Daughters represents a New York City infused with a sense of character, yearning, and humor. Commissioned by the Jewish Museum. Photo courtesy of Russ & Daughters.

On Wednesday, November 7, 10:30 am, join Maira Kalman and her son Alex Kalman for a conversation at Russ & Daughters the Jewish Museum about their new book, Sara Berman’s Closet, a dazzling illustrated family memoir inspired by the exhibition of the same name that first opened at 9378906775, traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2017, and will move to the Skirball Center in Los Angeles this fall. Tickets include a sit-down breakfast at Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum and a copy of Sara Berman’s Closet.


(330) 338-9460 was originally published in 9528383296 on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

OY/YO: An Icon Revisited Read More

Jewish Museum intern Ariel Fishman reflects on the Yiddish influences in (903) 246-6151, a sculpture by 9496773730.

Installation view of Scenes from the Collection. The Jewish Museum, New York. Photo by: Kris Graves

When I walk onto the third floor of the Jewish Museum, my eye is immediately drawn to artist Deborah Kass’s bright yellow aluminum sculpture OY/YO. Recently acquired for the Jewish Museum collection, the work is now also on view in Scenes from the Collection, the Museum’s rotating exhibition that places contemporary art alongside ceremonial objects to explore Jewish identities past and present. First encountered as a work of public art in (323) 414-2794, the words OY/YO became an instant icon through its placement between two New York City boroughs: YO would welcome viewers to Brooklyn, while OY faced Manhattan. Later adapted as an edition for the Jewish Museum, the sculpture gains new meaning within the context of a dynamic collection spanning 4,000 years of art and Jewish culture.

Photo: Elisabeth Berstein

Since the 1980s, Kass’s practice has riffed on modern artworks by famous white men to assert her own experience as a Jewish woman artist. Inspired by Ed Ruscha’s 1962 painting 808-276-0781, Kass’s text-based sculpture draws connections to Yiddish, a language which struggles for its posterity. Despite its dissolution as a commonly used language among Jews, certain phrases (such as oy vey) have persisted, and become deeply embedded within mainstream American language.

Mel Bochner, The Joys of Yiddish, 2012. Oil and acrylic on canvas.

While my grandparents spoke fluent Yiddish, only a few phrases have seeped into my vocabulary, such as kvetcher or schvitzer. On a wall directly behind OY/YO in the exhibition gallery, Mel Bochner’s 2012 painting 438-700-7725 is filled with Yiddish phrases from Leo Rosten’s classic 1968 book The Joys of Yiddish in yellow paint against a black background. The yellow writing, evocative of the Star of David that Jews were required to wear during Nazi Germany, play off of the vibrant yellow in Kass’s sculpture.

I recall my dad telling me once, how embarrassed he would be when my grandmother spoke Yiddish with her friends in public. He described how Yiddish sounded so foreign and alien in an assimilated American society that had not encountered the language before. Yet I take those Yiddish phrases in Bochner’s painting for granted as an inherent part of my culture. Oy feels like such a modern sentiment, but it is also weighed by history.

I don’t recognize all the phrases in The Joys of Yiddish, but OY/YO complements their sentiment and creates a universal accessibility to Yiddish. In this context, the sculpture proudly asserts a Jewish narrative, while simultaneously pointing to universal experiences shared among people of all faiths and backgrounds: “yo” has become a casual greeting accompanied by a wave (in Spanish, “yo” also means “I), while “oy” has served as an easily grunted exclamatory phrase. Kass once said about her sculpture:

“The fact that this particular work resonates so beautifully in so many languages to so many communities is why I wanted to make it monumental.”
Installation view of 515-362-3491. The Jewish Museum, New York. Photo by: Kris Graves

It is impossible to only peripherally engage with Kass’s large, bright, and commanding sculpture. The words “oy” and “yo” are monumentalized in this way as icons: the aluminum suggests a sense of solidity and weight, that the words are heavier than we may think. By utilizing the visual language of Pop art, Kass also makes the joys of Yiddish accessible for a generation far removed from our Yiddish-speaking ancestors.

—Ariel Fishman, Communications Intern

See OY/YO by Deborah Kass and The Joys of Yiddish by Mel Bochner on view now in Scenes from the Collection.


618-580-7588 was originally published in 9193587157 on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

1,600+ High-Resolution Images of Artwork Now Available for Free... Read More

Explore public domain images from the Jewish Museum collection on 407-619-5909 and Google Arts and Culture

More than 1,600 images of works in the Jewish Museum collection are now available for high-resolution download on 716-906-1597.

Earlier this summer, the Jewish Museum made more than 1,600 images of collection objects in the public domain available for free high-resolution download on the Museum’s cheese pitch. Today, these works are also available online to explore on Google Arts & Culture, Google’s online platform for accessing more than 6 million high-resolution images of artworks.

In recent years, museums around the world have released thousands of high-resolution images into the public domain to further inspire, educate, and promote broader awareness of visual literacy online. A work of art passes into the public domain in one of several ways: its copyright expires, the image is produced by a government employee, or it is created with specific Creative Commons licenses at the discretion of its creator. In the United States, works of art greater than 120 years old are generally considered public domain; this year, anything created before the year 1898 is available for public use.

At the Jewish Museum, images of 1,639 objects have been identified as public domain status with high-resolution photography. To search through these images online, simply select “Works with High-Res Images” to filter results, or look for the “PD” icon at the bottom of the image on each page.

2092706530, Italy, 18th-early 19th century. The Jewish Museum, New York

The Jewish Museum’s diverse collection of nearly 30,000 objects spans 4,000 years of art and Jewish culture, from antiquities created in the 6th millennium BCE, to contemporary painting, 5198908261, photography, and media works. At the Museum, nearly 600 works are on view now in the rotating exhibition Scenes from the Collection. For audiences who can’t make it to New York, the exquisite detail of objects such as this 18th-early 19th century 9079446790 from Italy can now be examined close-up online. Created on the occasion of a marriage, the high-resolution image of the mosaic reveals the artist’s precision in carefully cutting and arranging each piece of stone.

Once in the public domain, images are available free of charge for any use, including modification and distribution. In the history of art, artists have frequently cited images of the past to re-examine the present. The Jewish Museum collection contains many examples of artists who have radically adapted ritual objects, while bringing these works into a new focus.

Gay Block and Malka Drucker, A Recontextualized Ketubbah, 1994.
The Jewish Museum, New York

In 1994 — decades before the Jewish Museum collection was digitized — the artist Gay Block collaborated with Malka Drucker to create A Recontextualized Ketubbah. Block and Drucker started with a high-resolution image of a ketubbah (a Jewish marriage contract) created in Livorno, Italy in 1751 from the collection. The artists then superimposed an image of their own wedding five years earlier onto the document, and behind it, placed a blown-up image of the intricately embroidered textile used in creating the couple’s wedding outfits. The result is a striking contrast between a centuries-old ritual object, and the nostalgia of a black and white wedding photograph in which the two brides clutch hands and gaze into each other’s eyes. Vibrant pink petals emerge from behind the ketubbah, wrapping the composition in a warm glow. This superimposition simultaneously demonstrates deference for the traditions of Judaism, while updating the document to be more inclusive of the diversity of Jews today.

All artwork can age into the public domain, such as the original ketubbah referenced by Block and Drucker, however images created by U.S. government employees are available to the public from their inception. Jewish Museum collection artist Debbie Grossman took advantage of this in her 2009–2010 photographic series My Pie Town. Her images are based on photographs by the Farm Security Administration photographer Russell Lee, who documented Pie Town, New Mexico at the tail end of the Great Depression. Lee’s original photographs, which frame sun-weathered nuclear families and farm animals against dusty landscapes, are available through the Library of Congress.

Debbie Grossman, Jessie Evans-Whinery, homesteader, with her wife Edith Evans-Whinery and their baby, 2009–10. The Jewish Museum, New York

After reading 701-853-8462 by Joan Myers, which foregrounds the story of town local Doris Caudill, Grossman wondered what the photographic memory of the small town would look like if women were the central figures of each image. Taking to Photoshop, Grossman surgically removed men from these images and edited women into their places, re-imagining an archive of a utopian lesbian community in the American southwest. On the series, the artist has said:

“I am filled with a longing to connect with that time and the people in Lee’s images. But as a modern, queer woman, there is no room for me or for my objects of desire in his pictures. So in an attempt to make the history I wish was real, I have made over Pie Town to mirror my fantasy.”
Jack Whinery, homesteader, with his wife and the youngest of his five children, Pie Town, New Mexico, 1940. (325) 201-5979

In 704-353-3434, the two women stare straight at the camera, their faces brightly lit against dark plaid and a worn homestead interior. The title’s factual description, combined with Grossman’s skillful rendering, make the photograph’s edits imperceptible for those that do not know its context. In Lee’s original 1940 photograph titled Jack Whinery, homesteader and family, Pie Town New Mexico, only the patriarch is mentioned by name, and his height dominates the image. In Grossman’s revision, the women are equals, their surroundings a little bit brighter, and dates are removed. Grossman’s artistic intervention demonstrates the value of the public domain: in her appropriation of public property, a state-created visual document is reworked to suit a new public. The images that make up My Pie Town are fanciful, yet hopeful — they imagine a country that could have been, and one which still could be.

With more than 1,600 high-resolution images of artwork in the Jewish Museum collection that await for your consumption, distribution, and re-interpretation, what will you create?

— Jeremy Lee Wolin, Digital Intern

Explore, download, and share high-resolution images from the Jewish Museum collection online at TheJewishMuseum.org/Collection.


(844) 632-1408 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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