Introducing the Young Patron Program

(Top left) 2015 Purim Ball attendees Will Palley, Hillary Reinsberg, Melanie Baevsky, Audrey Gelman, Stephanie Roach, and Jared Effron, photo: Will Ragozzino/SocialShutterbug.com. | (Top right) Attendees of the March 9 opening of Repetition and Difference in front of an installation by Abraham Cruzvillegas, photo: Will Ragozzino/SocialShutterbug.com | (Bottom right) Cheim & Read presents Chantal Joffe: Night Self-Portraits to the Jewish Museum Young Patron Program on May 21. | (Bottom middle) 2015 Purim Ball After Party attendees, photo: Will Ragozzino/SocialShutterbug.com. | (Bottom right) Craig Rosenberg and Ruthie Nachmany, Cheim & Read presents Chantal Joffe: Night Self-Portraits to the Jewish Museum Young Patron Program on May 21.

 

The Young Patron Program offers one of the newest avenues for engaging with the Jewish Museum’s rich history of art and Jewish culture. It comprises a dynamic group of young professionals and art supporters, ages 21 – 40, who recognize the importance of the institution and its mission.

Young Patrons benefit from a host of unique and exclusive experiences. Geared toward deeper engagement with the Museum as a cultural touchstone and social hub, participants enjoy a curated calendar of 10 to 12 exciting events per year including Shabbat dinners, art gallery tours, networking receptions, curator-led programs, and other social gatherings.

The Chelsea gallery Cheim & Read kindly hosted the Jewish Museum’s Young Patron Program for a launch event on Thursday, May 21. Young Patrons celebrated the astounding work of Chantal Joffe with an evening of conversation, champagne, and hors d’oeuvres. Many young professionals joined Claudia Gould, Helen Goldsmith Menschel Director, and Joffe for an in-depth discussion about the artist’s work, which is currently on view at the Jewish Museum and at Cheim & Read.

Join as a Young Patron ($180+) today to receive exclusive invitations to our upcoming events:

  • July 12: Lunch at a private art collector’s home in the Hamptons followed by a guided tour of Art Southampton, the premier contemporary and modern art fair in the Hamptons

Young Patrons carry on a tradition of giving and involvement that for more than 110 years has allowed the Museum to build its renowned collection. Consider joining the Young Patron Program or gifting a Young Patron membership, and take part in this vibrant community of young New Yorkers.

— Jacqueline Spar, Development Associate, Young Patrons, the Jewish Museum

Another Strong Year for
In Response: A Partnership
with Columbia University

Yujin Lee and Nicole Maloof: The Story (2015)

 

On Sunday, May 10,the first three floors of the Jewish Museum were taken over by contemporary artists affiliated with Columbia University’s School of the Arts. The basement, halls, and auditorium — and even the lobby’s wayfinding screens and security check point — were temporarily occupied by mixed media installations, video art, performances, and… a boy band?

For a second consecutive year, the Jewish Museum has collaborated with Columbia University to form a unique partnership program entitled “In Response.” Current students and alumni of the University’s Visual Arts MFA program are invited each year to propose, workshop, and mount individual time-based projects in response to a current exhibition. To help facilitate their creative process, the participants are given access to exhibition materials and invited to the Museum for an in-depth walkthrough and discussion with the show’s curators. As a grand finale, areas throughout the Museum are handed over to the participants as venues to present their work. The main goal of the workshop is to provide emerging artists with an opportunity to produce and exhibit work in a museum setting. Reciprocally, this program also provides a visual discourse between contemporary art practices and the Museum’s curatorial concepts.

Tracy Molis: A Numbers Station for Radical Shapes (2014)

“In Response” was conceived as part of a greater initiative to expand the Museum’s partnerships with neighboring universities. To develop a general structure for the workshop, the Jewish Museum’s Chris Gartrell, Coordinator of Adult Programs, and Jenna Weiss, Manager of Public Programs, worked closely with Columbia University’s Shelly Silver, Chair of the Visual Arts MFA Program, and Daisy Nam, Associate Director of Public Programs for the School of the Arts. Last year’s program, in response to the exhibition Other Primary Structures, featured an impressive array of installation and performance-based ephemeral works that touched on such diverse reference points as globalization in the art world, punk critiques of the Establishment, and the psychedelic color experiments of Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica.

META META META, LLC: Fertility Statuettes (2015)

This year’s program responded to the exhibition Repetition and Difference, the premise of which is based on the writings of French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. All the participants boldly took on the theoretical concepts outlined in the curatorial statement and translated these ideas into nuanced explorations of “repetition” and “difference” in contemporary society. As one of three works, the collaborative team META META META, LLC (Leah Wolff and Guy Ben-Ari) manufactured and sold dozens of “fertility statuettes” modeled after the Judaica figurines included in the exhibition. Part performance and part conceptual art, the piece draws parallels between the fetishism of cultural objects and kitschy, mass-produced consumer goods.

In a powerful piece entitled The Story, Yujin Lee and Nicole Maloof explored the impact of history and popular culture on perceptions of race in America, through a combination of video and live performance.

Perhaps the greatest spectacle of the evening was Bora Kim’s project: I’m Making a Boy Band (IMMABB). Just as the title indicates, Kim built a K-Pop style boy band from scratch and produced their first single, which debuted as a live performance inside Scheuer Auditorium.

In the last two years alone, the program has become an anticipated event for both the Museum and Columbia crowds. After another successful year, the organizers hope that the workshop will continue annually as a newly embraced tradition for both Columbia University and the Jewish Museum.

 

Bora Kim: I’m Making a Boy Band (2015)

 

For more images and coverage of the event, check out our Facebook album!

— Theresa Hioki, Public Programs Intern, the Jewish Museum

 

Chantal Joffe’s Portraits of Gertrude Stein

 

Chantal Joffe, Gertrude Stein, 2014. Three portraits. Oil on canvas, 21 ⅝ × 18 ⅛ × 1 in.; 15 ¾ x 15 ¾ x 1 ⅝ in.; 12 ⅛ x 11 ¾ x 1 ⅝ in.. Courtesy of the artist, Victoria Miro, London and Cheim & Read, New York. © Chantal Joffe. 

 

On view now, the latest installment of Using Walls, Floors, and Ceilings is a series of 34 portraits entitled Hannah, Gertrude, Alice, Betty, Nadine, Golda, Susan, Claude, Nancy, Grace, Diane . . . by London-based painter Chantal Joffe. Joffe’s intimate and expressive paintings depict 20th century Jewish women who contributed significantly to art, literature, philosophy, and politics. Among the more recognizable figures portrayed by Joffe is Gertrude Stein, who is no stranger to portraiture (traditional and less so). That the reputed writer is a subject of Joffe’s installation in the Skirball Lobby is fitting: Stein has been woven into the fabric of the Jewish Museum’s permanent collection, temporary exhibitions — such as The Power of Conversation: Jewish Women and Their Salons (2005) and Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters: The Cone Sisters of Baltimore (2011) — and public programs. By electing to paint three portraits of Stein, Joffe picks up a thread about Stein and portraiture that has passed through the Museum’s history to the present.

Featured in Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters (2011). Claribel Cone, Gertrude Stein, and Etta Cone in Settignano, Italy, June 26, 1903. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Dr. Claribel and Miss Etta Cone Papers, Archives and Manuscripts Collection, CG.12

In The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933),
Alice B. Toklas recalls:

After a little while I murmured to Picasso that I liked his portrait of Gertrude Stein. Yes, he said, everybody says that she does not look like it but that does not make any difference, she will, he said.

The layers embedded in this dialogue are difficult to sort out. On the surface, it sounds like a frank exchange between Stein’s lifelong partner, Toklas — whom Joffe also depicts in her series — and Pablo Picasso. Yet The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas is not Toklas’s account of her life, but rather a novel by Stein. The intentionally misleading title and first-person narration make us skeptical of this conversation between Toklas and Picasso. What about the book’s title is true — does the emphasis fall on “biography of Toklas” or on “autobiography”? In other words, is Stein faithfully representing her partner’s life story, or her own?

The interpretation that the novel is, in effect, the author’s self-portrait speaks to Joffe’s own artistic practice. As described by Kelly Taxter, the Jewish Museum’s Assistant Curator and the exhibition’s organizer, Joffe’s “style is direct and gestural. These are not exact or ‘true’ depictions but charged with the artist’s technical, conceptual, and emotional responses.” Joffe’s paintings of Stein then may be as much triumphant portrayals of the writer as they are self-portraits of the painter. Moreover, following extensive research of her subjects, Joffe seems to echo Stein’s experimentation with — and even rejection of — traditional portraiture. For example, that Joffe painted the writer’s portrait at least thrice speaks to the same process that Stein applauds in her Lectures in America essay “Portraits and Repetition” (1935).

Andy Warhol, Gertrude Stein, from Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century, 1980, screenprint on paper, 40 x 32 in. The Jewish Museum, New York. Gift of Lorraine and Martin Beitler © 2014 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York

Joffe’s new series was inspired by Andy Warhol’s Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century (1980), a print portfolio in the Jewish Museum’s permanent collection and the subject of the Museum’s exhibition Warhol’s Jews: Ten Portraits Reconsidered (2008). Warhol’s portraits celebrate subjects whom he dubbed his “Jewish geniuses,” including, again, Stein. This portfolio also serves as the basis for the program Wish You Were Here, a series of interviews with Warhol’s (deceased) subjects embodied by significant (and living) figures. Like Joffe’s three paintings of Stein, Wish You Were Here’s unusual approach to interviews by way of “performed portraits” is infused with Stein’s pushing of the genre and medium. Aptly, this past November Gertrude Stein — portrayed by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, who recently was named Director of the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art and GAM — conversed with Jens Hoffmann, Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Public Programs at the Jewish Museum.

In his Wish You Were Here introduction, Hoffmann claimed that Stein’s writing “broke with all the well-established forms of narrative [of her period]” and “presents stream of consciousness experiments, rhythmical essays, or portraits that were designed to evoke — [as Hemingway said] — the excitement of pure being. It can be seen as literature’s answer to Cubism, as Picasso once put it.” The poet’s word portraits did seem to answer Cubism, as presumably Stein wrote If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso, published in Vanity Fair in 1924, after Picasso showed her his oil painting entitled Gertrude Stein (1905)Later in the interview, Christov-Bakargiev as Stein again raised the topic of Picasso’s portrait: “[Pablo said] it doesn’t look like you today but it will look like you.” Picasso’s remark sounds as strangely portentous aloud as it reads in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas — returning to the passage mentioned above, what did the co-father of Cubism mean that Stein will look like his portrait? Perhaps Picasso was conceding the power of portraitists to control the images and identities of their sitters. Indeed, the renderings of Stein by Picasso, Warhol, and, now, Joffe have long outlived the cherished jack-of-all-trades writer — and today continue to impart visions of Stein to ever new generations.

Stein once said, “I have always noticed that in portraits of really great writers the mouth is always firmly closed.” It couldn’t be more fitting that Picasso, Warhol, and Joffe have represented the great Stein with tightly closed lips.

Visit Using Walls, Floors, and Ceilings: Chantal Joffe to see all 34 portraits by the artist. And view footage of Wish You Were Here: Gertrude Stein on JMTV.

 

— Julie Reiter, Marketing Assistant, the Jewish Museum