Another tableau suggests the different stages of romantic relationships. Beginning with the sensuality of courtship, singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen and early twentieth-century psychoanalyst Lou Andreas-Salomé are envisioned singing Solomon's Song of Songs. Love is seen to run its course through legal consummation and dissolution as represented in Jewish marriage and divorce contracts.
Jeu de l'affaire Dreyfus et de la vérité (The Game of the Dreyfus Affair and Truth), 1898, Imprimerie Charaire, Sceaux, photomechanical print on paper. The Jewish Museum, New York, Gift of Count Elie de Comminges.
A section devoted to ideas of a library includes miniature books, some with microscopic writing, nestled inside hollow books. These evoke the layering of text within text that is an important part of Talmudic discourse. An intricate cycle of gift-giving and its Freudian implications are explored through Sigmund Freud's silver cigar box, a Roman ring from his antiquities collection, and his daughter Anna's ivory letter opener, all donated to The Jewish Museum by an anonymous analyst. Four players - Nefertiti, Émile Zola, Amy Winehouse, and Jesus of Nazareth - are imagined seated at a table filled with games from different eras. Many temporalities are superimposed on each other, collapsed into a single game.
In the former dining room of the Warburg mansion visitors will see a table set with twelve glasses from the collection, dating from ancient to modern. Above them hangs a chandelier whose design includes copies of the glasses, upside down, mirroring and illuminating the conversation below. This work was commissioned by The Jewish Museum especially for the exhibition. Further reverberations among works in the gallery begin with the painting Friday Evening, by Isidor Kaufmann, in which a lone woman is seated beside a table prepared for the inauguration of the Sabbath. The chandelier in the painting inspired the commissioned work. Above the fireplace, across from Friday Evening, hangs a reproduction of the mirror from the painting, reflecting what is in Kaufmann's scene rather than what is in the gallery. There are many opportunities for takes and double takes.
Chris Mann, a writer and performer, worked with Sepand Ansari to create a new website, www.010011.net, in correspondence with the exhibition. It will be launched on February 20, 2013. Initially loaded with a library of 1,000 texts representing a wide range of disciplines, the site enables users to search for an idea and make rich and ever deeper associations among the works that contain it. In contrast to Google, which provides a prepared answer if you ask the right question, 010011.net is a celebration of the question you are trying to learn how to ask. Additional texts will be added over time. In addition, Museum visitors will be able to access the site on a touchscreen in the exhibition.
As it were ... So to speak: A Museum Collection in Dialogue with Barbara Bloom has been coordinated by Susan L. Braunstein, Henry J. Leir Curator at The Jewish Museum.
Barbara Bloom was born in Los Angeles in 1951 and lives in New York. She studied with John Baldessari at the California Institute of the Arts and is often associated with the postmodern "Pictures Generation" that includes Cindy Sherman, Louise Lawler, Richard Prince and Barbara Kruger. The Reign of Narcissism (1989), perhaps Bloom's most celebrated piece, recreates a Neoclassical period room in an imaginary museum dedicated to the artist's self-image. She is also widely known for her 1994 permanent installation of Thonet bentwood chairs at the Österreichisches Museum für Angewandte Kunst (MAK) in Vienna. In 2008, an extensive survey of her work, The Collections of Barbara Bloom, was shown at the International Center for Photography, New York and at Martin-Gropius Bau in Berlin. The artist's recent installation, Present (2010), addresses the intimacy of gift-giving and explores how other aspects of a gift - its wrapping, its anticipation, its transfer from giver to recipient - can become just as important as the object itself.
The Jewish Museum and the New School for Public Engagement are presenting a series of six exhibition-related performative programs beginning March 6 with "Dialogue between texts" featuring Daniel Boyarin, Professor of Talmudic Culture at the University of California at Berkeley, and Chris Mann. Each evening concentrates on a different aspect of "dialogue," pairing speakers demonstrating theory and practice. A public program series schedule is available at TheJewishMuseum.org/publicprograms.
This exhibition is made possible with endowment support from The Skirball Fund for American Jewish Life Exhibitions. Additional support is provided by the Alfred J. Grunebaum Memorial Fund, the Leir Charitable Foundations, and the Leon Levy Foundation.
Widely admired for its exhibitions and collections that inspire people of all backgrounds, The Jewish Museum is one of the world's preeminent institutions devoted to exploring art and Jewish culture from ancient to contemporary. Located at Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street, The Jewish Museum organizes a diverse schedule of internationally acclaimed and award-winning temporary exhibitions as well as dynamic and engaging programs for families, adults, and school groups. The Museum was established in 1904, when Judge Mayer Sulzberger donated 26 ceremonial art objects to The Jewish Theological Seminary of America as the core of a museum collection. Today, a collection of 25,000 objects is maintained - paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, archaeological artifacts, ceremonial objects, and broadcast media. The collection is among the three largest of its kind in the world and is distinguished by its breadth and quality. It is showcased in the vibrant, two-floor permanent exhibition, Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey, examining the Jewish experience as it has evolved from antiquity to the present.
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