In 1873, near the end of the Gold Rush, Levi Strauss & Co., named for a Bavarian Jewish dry goods merchant in San Francisco, obtained a U.S. patent with tailor Jacob Davis for the process of putting metal rivets in men’s work pants to increase their durability. It was the birth of the blue jean.
The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) presents Levi Strauss: A History of American Style, an original exhibition showcasing the life of Levi Strauss and the worldwide phenomenon of the now iconic blue jean. Featuring over 150 items from the Levi Strauss & Co. Archives, located at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco, The CJM’s exhibition represents the largest public display of the company’s archival materials ever assembled.
Levi Strauss: A History of American Style tells the distinctly American story of Levi Strauss, a Jewish immigrant whose civic and philanthropic contributions were fundamental to San Francisco’s municipal development, and whose momentous foundation of Levi Strauss & Co. would influence culture on a global scale. The history of Levi Strauss & Co. reflects the changing consciousness of the country, and this exhibition tracks the company’s trajectory from its initial emphasis on nineteenth-century miners and blue collar laborers; to its role in crafting the mythology of the American West in the early twentieth century; to its impact on the rise of international youth culture in the 1960s, and beyond. Marketed as hard-working, authentic, and effortlessly cool, Levi’s® fashioned an American identity defined by style.
Levi Strauss: A History of American Style is organized by The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco.
Levi Strauss: A History of American Style — An exhibition exploring the story of Levi Strauss, the phenomenon of the blue jean, and its influence on American style and identity, featuring over 150 objects from the Levi Strauss & Co. Archives.
February 13–August 9, 2020
Open daily (except Wed.): 11am–5pm and Thursday, 11am–8pm
The Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission Street, San Francisco
$16 adults, $14 students and senior citizens with a valid ID, and $8 on Thursdays after 5pm. Youth 18 and under free.
Visit thecjm.org or call 415.655.7800