Liat Segal: Scattered Light
January 2015 - July 2015
Israeli artist Liat Segal makes her US debut at the Museum with Scattered Light, an innovative work of new media art. The piece weaves together key phrases from George Washington’s 1790 letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island affirming his commitment to religious liberty (on view at the Museum) with the reflections of Museum visitors collected from our It’s Your Story recording booths. Both Washington’s words and the contemporary commentary speak to the significance of religious freedom and to the continuing role we all play in its preservation.
Scattered Light pairs the old with the new through the use of a wand embedded with LED lights that move over a photosensitive surface, “printing” Washington’s words along with those of Museum visitors. The texts fade away over time, allowing new content to appear, creating an ever-evolving dialogue between history and the present.
Segal, who recently exhibited at the Venice Biennale, drew from her multidisciplinary background, including her past work as a researcher at Microsoft Innovation Labs and as a teacher at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, to create this installation.
Liat Segal and her Confession Machine, photo by Arnon Fisher.
Generous support provided by:
Shirley and Albert H. Small
Consulate General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region
Jane and Stuart Weitzman
'Twas the Night Before Hanukkah
November 4, 2014 - March 1, 2015
’Twas the Night Before Hanukkah explores the history of Hanukkah and Christmas music and the musicians, artists, and songwriters who wrote and performed them. The installation combines a cozy living room setting with modern technology to deliver a compelling story about the blending of American and Jewish musical traditions. ’Twas explores how performers used popular songs to shape the sounds of the holiday season, the soundtracks of religious holidays, and the musical standards we know today through interactive song and video platforms, as well as images of holiday-related artifacts from the Museum’s collection of 30,000 objects—all delivered on curated iPads accompanied by text and graphics of holiday celebrations.
The installation features well-known artists such as Irving Berlin, Benny Goodman, Bob Dylan, the Ramones, and Lou Reed, as well as Christmas gems by the likes of Jewish salsa giant Larry Harlow, and Jewish stage and screen icons Eddie Cantor and Al Jolson.
A holiday-themed self-guided tour highlighting holiday-related objects in the permanent exhibition will also be available.
This exhibition is a collaboration between the National Museum of American Jewish History and the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation.
Photo courtesy of the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation.
Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American
March 13 - October 26, 2014
Baseball was a kind of secular church that reached into every class and region of the nation and bound millions upon millions of us together….Baseball made me understand what patriotism was about, at its best.
— Philip Roth, “My Baseball Years,” New York Times, Opening Day, April 2, 1973
There are people whose contributions to baseball history went far beyond mere batting averages or stolen bases. They didn’t just play the game, they changed the game. For generations of American Jews and other minorities, they served as athletic, cultural, and ethical role models. On March 13, 2014, just in time for the start of baseball season, the Museum will open a groundbreaking new exhibition highlighting these game changers and—just as importantly—the fans, ideals, and culture they inspired. Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American is the first large-scale exhibition to use the story of Jews and baseball as an opportunity to highlight ways in which our national pastime is part of the history, and ongoing story, of how immigrants and minorities of many different backgrounds—including Italians, Asians, Latinos, African-Americans, and many others—become American, to feel a part of the society in which they might otherwise be on the margins. It will be on view at the Museum through October 26, 2014.
Click here to visit ChasingDreams.NMAJH.org
Do you have baseball memorabilia that you’d like to share with the Museum? Visit us athttp://www.chasingdreamsbaseball.tumblr.com/ to share photos of your artifacts!
Major support provided by:
Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American has been made possible in part by
a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.
- Steven A. and Alexandra M. Cohen Foundation
- Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation
- Richard A. and Susan P. Friedman Family Foundation
- Marc and Diane Spilker Foundation
- Leesa & Leon Wagner, The Wagner Family Foundation
- Harriet and Larry Weiss
- Judy and Fred Wilpon
- Sam Wisnia
Additional support provided by:
- Oakland Athletics, John Fisher and Lew Wolff
- Clayman Family Foundation
- Cozen O’Connor Foundation
- Gary Goldring
- Steve and Myrna Greenberg
- Michael G. Rubin
- Susie and Robert Zeff
- The Morris, Max and Sarah Altman Memorial Trust; Arronson Foundation; William S. Comanor Charitable Fund; Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia; Edward H. & Evelyn Rosen Philanthropic Fund; David Seltzer
And many other dedicated fans
Now Showing: "Pop" Lubin’s Silent Film Empire
September 22, 2013 - February 2014
A passion for scientific experimentation and innovative technology – along with a strong ambition to achieve the American dream – led a spirited young German Jewish immigrant to become a central figure at the very dawn of the film industry.
Landing in the United States during its centennial year, Siegmund Lubin (ca.1841-1923) peddled eyeglasses across America before settling in Philadelphia in 1885. He began making magic lantern slides as a side venture in his optical shop but, after viewing early motion pictures at a trade fair, he was hooked on the new medium and began to experiment with films shot in his backyard. He was soon marketing his own camera equipment, opening theaters, and distributing films, eventually establishing a network of studios that stretched across the country. The crown jewel of this empire was Betzwood, a dignified estate outside of Philadelphia that Lubin planned to turn into a model industrial village – and the greatest movie studio of the day. Beloved by employees who called him “Pop” Lubin, he shared his success by providing generous salaries, medical benefits, and free hot lunches to all of his workers.
A combination of calamities forced the self-appointed “King of the Movies” to declare bankruptcy and return to ophthalmology in 1916, but the generation that built Hollywood remembered and honored his leadership in the early days of the film industry.
The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats
July 19 - October 20, 2013
The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats is the first major exhibition in this country to pay tribute to award-winning author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats (1916–1983), whose beloved children’s books include Whistle for Willie, Peter’s Chair, and The Snowy Day. The exhibition invites visitors to discover over 80 original works by this groundbreaking American Jewish artist, the first to feature an African-American protagonist in a modern full-color picture book. With works ranging from preliminary sketches to final paintings and collages, the exhibition also offers a reading area for visitors of all ages, drawn from Keats's art and stories.
The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats is organized by The Jewish Museum, New York, from the collection of the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection, The University of Southern Mississippi. The exhibition was funded at The Jewish Museum through a generous grant from the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. Additional support was provided by the Joseph Alexander Foundation, the Alfred J. Grunebaum Memorial Fund, and the Winnick Family Foundation.
Image Caption: Ezra Jack Keats, “Crunch, crunch, crunch, his feet sank into the snow.” Final illustration for The Snowy Day, 1962. Collage and paint on board. Ezra Jack Keats Papers, de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, McCain Library and Archives, The University of Southern Mississippi. Copyright Ezra Jack Keats Foundation.
Hemmed Up: Stories through Textiles Keir and Ernel 250
July 9 – August 25, 2013
Acclaimed Philadelphia-based artists Keir Johnston and Ernel Martinez developed this textile installation as part of their Hemmed Up project for the Museum’s inaugural year of our OPEN for Interpretation artist-in-residence program. The team was inspired by the American Jewish relationship to the textile industry and the themes of immigration, labor, and struggle.
Jewish Artists in America 1925-1945:
Selections from the Collection of Steven and Stephanie Wasser
January 29 - June 23, 2013
From rural fields to city streets, American Jewish artists of the social realist movement depicted life in the United States without romanticizing the hardship and struggle they saw. They recognized that layoffs, food shortages, housing crises, dustbowls, and escalating antisemitism at home and abroad meant their American dreams might be farther off than expected. These passionate and political artists took advantage of the freedom their homeland offered to celebrate and critique America. Whether working independently or as part of the Works Progress Administration, a Depression-era program that supported artists and other workers in troubled times, they chronicled the city streets, labor conditions, and private moments that made up the realities of life in America.
Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish
Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges
January 15 - June 2, 2013
Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black
Colleges tells the story of Jewish academics from Germany and Austria who came
the U.S. after being dismissed from their teaching positions in the 1930s. Some
found positions at historically black colleges and universities in the Jim Crow
South. Through over 70 evocative artifacts and documents, this exhibition
illustrates the empathy between two minority groups with a history of
persecution who came together in search of freedom and opportunity, and shared
the early years of struggle in the Civil Rights movement.
Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges was created and
is circulated by the Museum of Jewish Heritage- A Living Memorial to the
This exhibition was made possible through major funding
from the Leon Levy Foundation. Additional support provided by the Helen Bader
Foundation; The Lupin Foundation; The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation;
public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; the
Alpern Family Foundation; and the Charles and Mildred Schnurmacher Foundation.
Image: Professor Ernst Borinski teaching in the Social Science Lat,
Tugaloo College, MS, ca. 1960.
Courtesy of Mississippi Department of
Archives and History
In Philadelphia, the exhibition is made possible
through the generous support of Macys, PHC, and the Lomax Foundation.
Additional support from: Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation,
Media sponsorship provided by WURD Radio.
RIFA: Sky & Water Paintings
August 28 - December 30, 2012
The Museum was pleased to
exhibit Tobi Kahn’s remarkable series of thirty-three Sky & Water
paintings on its Concourse level. Visible throughout the Museum’s atrium,
the installation was a sublime reflection of Kahn’s lifelong engagement with
art and nature and his passion for exploring the correspondence between the
intimate and the monumental. As Kahn has stated, his aim is “to encounter the
ineffable God in both splendor and intimacy.”
An artist who
“breathed new life” into abstract painting according to the Philadelphia
Inquirer, Tobi Kahn’s work has been shown in over 40 solo exhibitions and over
60 museum and group shows since he was selected as one of nine artists in the
1985 Guggenheim Museum exhibition, New Horizons in American Art. His
paintings and sculptural masterpieces can be found in major museum,
corporate, and private collections, as well as public spaces such as chapels
Click here for more information about Tobi
May 6 - August
Casual Conversations explores, through photographs
by artists Alina and Jeff Bliumis , how we define our identities. The artists
focused on Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach neighborhood, home to a large Russian
Jewish immigrant community. They set up their camera on the boardwalk and
invited passers-by to chat and eventually choose words that described their
identities. The photographs that resulted suggest how we grapple with the
complexities of heritage and homeland. This exhibit is presented in
association with Jewish American Heritage month and features photographs as
well as an opportunity for Museum visitors to participate in the conversation
by taking their own identity snapshots.
Alina and Jeff Bliumis
are New York-based artists who aim to take contemporary art out of the
gallery and into communities, where they create a kind of art/research
laboratory in the public sphere. They have received support from the Six
Points Fellowship, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Franklin Furnace
Fund, and the Puffin Foundation.
Alina and Jeff Bliumis
received support from the Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists,
a partnership of Avoda Arts, JDub Records, and the Foundation for Jewish
Culture, as well as major funding from UJA-Federation of New York.
here for images from the exhibition.
To Bigotry No Sanction: George Washington & Religious
June 29 - September 30, 2012
To Bigotry No Sanction: George Washington and Religious Freedom explores the
faith and freedom in early America and features the historic correspondence
between the nation's first president and the Jewish community of Newport,
Rhode Island. A Stunning constellation of artifacts tells this story about
the foundation of religious liberty - a story with Philadelphia roots and
Click here to visit
In Praise of a Dream
February 1-April 22, 2012
The presentation of
seven dramatic, large-format images from photographer Tal Shochat’s series,
In Praise of a Dream, transported visitors to an idealized garden of
fruit trees while inaugurating an exciting new exhibit space on the Museum’s
Concourse level. Impeccably pruned and photographed against a black backdrop,
Shochat’s trees—all photographed in Israel—have been disembodied from their
natural surroundings, yet each stands lush with fruit and in dream-like
perfection. At the same time, the trees invoke questions of rootedness, about
Jews’ millennial history as a Diaspora people and their relationships to the
homelands in which they have chosen to settle. Shochat's photographs also
serve as a dramatic reminder of human responsibilities to the environment in
which we live.
These prints were first exhibited in the Andrea Meislin
Gallery in New York, which represents the artist. Tal Shochat (b. 1974) is a
noted photographer and teacher in Israel and has had solo shows at Rosenfeld
Gallery, Tel Aviv, Herzliya Museum of Art and Haifa Museum of Art. Her work is
in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and the Shpilman Institute of Photography,
In Praise of a Dream opened February 1 and helped the
Museum usher in Tu B’Shevat (the Festival of Trees). It ran through April 22,
Photo credit: Rimon (Pomegranate), 2010,