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Heidi Rabben Appointed Curator of The Contemporary Jewish Museum


San Francisco, CA, January 22, 2018 — The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) announces the appointment of Heidi Rabben as Curator. Rabben begins in her new role January 22, 2018.

Rabben most recently has been an independent curator and writer based in San Francisco. In 2017, she was the Banff International Curatorial Institute’s Curator-in-Residence at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Alberta, Canada. Previously, she held positions as Director of Programming for the San Francisco Art Book Fair, as Director and Curator of Events and Exhibitions at KADIST, and as Curatorial Fellow at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts.

In her new position at The CJM, Rabben will work with Chief Curator Renny Pritikin to develop original exhibitions, oversee touring exhibitions, initiate and manage artist commissions and special Museum projects, and to foster institutional partnerships in the Bay Area and beyond.

“I am thrilled to welcome Heidi to The CJM,” says Lori Starr, Executive Director, The CJM. “She brings a great deal of experience, imagination, and knowledge of both the local Bay Area art scene and the national and international art worlds to The Museum. Her passion for the Jewish experience will have a significant impact on the original exhibitions we develop that integrate Jewish inquiry with contemporary art, and her track record of creating collaborative programs also makes her the ideal choice for working with our national and international colleagues to bring special exhibitions to San Francisco that might otherwise never be seen here.”

Rabben’s practice includes curating, writing, editing, and research, with a focus on international contemporary video and performance art. In 2016, Rabben curated the first solo exhibition of Hank Willis Thomas’ work in 10 years in San Francisco, Evidence of Things Not Seen, at KADIST. The same year she also curated an exhibition in collaboration with KHOJ International Artist’s Association titled Frozen World of the Familiar Stranger, presented at both KADIST in San Francisco and KHOJ in New Delhi, India, which included newly commissioned performances by Indian artists Sahej Rahal and Himali Singh Soin. In 2013, Rabben co-curated Words and Places: Etel Adnan, the first institutional solo exhibition of the Lebanese artist and writer’s work in the United States at the CCA Wattis Institute. She also served as editor of the accompanying publication titled The Ninth Page: Etel Adnan’s Journalism 1972–74.

Her writing has been published in Afterimage, Art Practical, Daily Serving, and San Francisco Arts Quarterly. Notable participation in curatorial programs and residencies include the Gwangju Biennale Fellow’s Forum and International Curator Course, South Korea (2016, 2015, 2013, and 2012); Vessel Curatorial Workshop in Bari, Italy (2015); and the Shanghai Biennale’s Academy for Reciprocal Enlightenment in China (2012).

Rabben holds an MA in Curatorial Practice from California College of the Arts and a BA in Art History from the University of California, Berkeley. Her most recent research centers around kairos—an alternative definition of time originating from Ancient Greece—and initiating an intersectional feminist Sci-Fi reading group.

“It’s an honor to join the impressive curatorial team at The Contemporary Jewish Museum, an institution whose local and national presence I greatly respect,” says Rabben. “I am thrilled to contribute to such an innovative program and community, and to have the opportunity to champion the role of contemporary art and artists there.”

About The Contemporary Jewish Museum

With the opening of its new building on June 8, 2008, The Contemporary Jewish Museum ushered in a new chapter in its twenty-plus year history of engaging audiences and artists in exploring contemporary perspectives on Jewish culture, history, art, and ideas. The facility, designed by internationally renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, is a lively center where people of all ages and backgrounds can gather to experience art, share diverse perspectives, and engage in hands-on activities. Inspired by the Hebrew phrase L’Chaim (To Life), the building is a physical embodiment of The CJM’s mission to bring together tradition and innovation in an exploration of the Jewish experience in the twenty-first century.

Major support for The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s exhibitions and Jewish Peoplehood Programs comes from the Koret Foundation. The Museum also thanks the Jim Joseph Foundation for its major support of innovative strategies for educating and engaging audiences in Jewish learning. Additional major support is provided by two Anonymous donors; Alyse and Nathan Mason Brill; Carbon Five; Gaia Fund; the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; Grants for the Arts; Walter and Elise Haas Fund; Suzanne and Elliott Felson; Wendy Kesser; Maribelle and Stephen Leavitt; Nellie and Max Levchin; Millennium Partners, the Bernard Osher Jewish Philanthropies Foundation of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund; The Lisa and John Pritzker Family Fund; Dorothy R. Saxe; Seiger Family Foundation; Taube Philanthropies for Jewish Life and Culture; and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Thank you to the Helen Diller Family Foundation for their support of the Helen Diller Institute at The Contemporary Jewish Museum.

For more information about The Contemporary Jewish Museum, visit The Museum’s website at

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