Tuesday, January 23, 2024 (San Francisco, CA) — The Contemporary Jewish Museum is pleased to announce its exhibition schedule for 2024, which includes solo presentations by Leah Rosenberg and Nicki Green as well as The Museum’s first open call exhibition, The California Jewish Open.
The California Jewish Open
June 6 - October 20, 2024
The California Jewish Open is The Museum’s first open call-based exhibition and will present contemporary artworks highlighting the vibrancy and diversity of work by Jewish-identifying artists from throughout California. The exhibition will unite these artists around a central question: How are artists looking to the many aspects of Jewish culture, identity, and community to foster, reimagine, hold, or discover connection? Seeking connection is one the most distinctive qualities of being human. In a moment where some of our most natural responses—such as grief, hope, fear, and resilience—are being politicized to isolate and divide us, connection is essential to upholding our shared humanity.
This exhibition aims to present a wide range of ideas from artists of diverse identities and generations active in Jewish cultural and creative production in California. Artists are encouraged to think expansively about their connection to Jewish culture and identity though concepts such as humor, ritual practice, study, social justice, community, text, dialogue, heritage, songs, rites of passage, language, tradition, diaspora, and beyond. Exploring the notion of connection as both creative and community practice, the exhibition aims to contextualize and expand on these concepts through a variety of creative expressions and artistic mediums.
Central to this exhibition—and to The CJM as an institution—is a commitment to nurture and uplift the vibrant and varied voices of Jewish artists in our creative communities. This exhibition offers an opportunity to hold space for expressions of creativity that represent thriving California Jewish life in the past, present, and future.
Leah Rosenberg: When One Sees a Rainbow
June 6, 2024 - April 27, 2025
The CJM will present a site-specific installation by Bay Area artist Leah Rosenberg, marking the first ever artwork conceived specifically for presentation in The Museum’s Stephen and Maribelle Leavitt Yud Gallery. Rosenberg is known for her vibrant and varied use of color, a theme that runs throughout her practice, from painting, installation, sculpture, and printmaking to food. Her work often explores the role of color in our everyday lives, and its use as a signifier of emotional states, ideas, and notions of wellbeing. For this installation Rosenberg will place her affinity for color into dialogue with The Museum’s architecture, covering each window on the walls and ceiling with color, resulting in a space of dynamic, luminous reflection and meditation. The kaleidoscopic installation will be paired with custom furniture designed by Rosenberg, and accompanying texts that offer opportunities for visitors to engage with the space.
The Yud Gallery is notable not only for its unusual dramatic angled walls and high ceiling, but also its symbolic significance. The gallery houses thirty-six rhomboid-shaped windows, a double of the number eighteen, which represents the Hebrew word chai (“life”) and is considered an auspicious number in Judaism. Rosenberg’s installation will transform the space, highlighting its symbolism and changing throughout the day as the light waxes and wanes. The title of the exhibition is a nod both to the effect of the installation on the space, and the Jewish practice of reciting a blessing when encountering a rainbow.
Nicki Green: Firmament
August 29, 2024 - February 2, 2025
This August, The CJM will present Nicki Green’s first solo museum exhibition. Green is a transdisciplinary artist working primarily in clay. Her sculptures, ritual objects, and various flat works explore topics of history preservation, conceptual ornamentation, and aesthetics of otherness. Often constructing heavily ornamented painted glaze surfaces and using experimental, organic building techniques, Green explores material and object integrity by utilizing transness as a lens to look at the world.
This exhibition will bring together a range of Green’s works created over the past several years alongside new works created specifically for the exhibition. The works on view—primarily ceramic pieces—engage with subjects such as vessels, mushrooms, fermentation, Jewish ritual objects, and figurative sculpture.
The Biblical concept of the “firmament” refers to the division between the heavenly and earthly domains. Green was drawn to the firmament as an opportunity to visualize a liminal space. The concept also expands on elements of splitting and bifurcation that often occur in Green’s work as a way to explore processes of transformation and metamorphosis. In Green’s practice, this materializes as moments of destruction, resilience, and regeneration—ideas that have also informed Jewish thinking and practice for thousands of years.
About The Contemporary Jewish Museum
For over thirty years The CJM has engaged audiences and artists in exploring contemporary perspectives on Jewish culture, history, art, and ideas. In 2008, The Museum opened a new building designed by internationally renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, providing a lively center where people of all ages and backgrounds can gather to experience art, share diverse perspectives, and engage in educational 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 is generously provided by Bank of America; Grants for the Arts; The Bernard Osher Foundation; John Pritzker Family Fund; and Taube Philanthropies.
Major support for The CJM Helen Diller Institute is generously provided by The Helen Diller Family Foundation.