Last December, the Jewish Museum released our first “JM26” – a list of 26 events, ideas, and people that helped define the year’s Jewish cultural zeitgeist. We learned about Pope Francis and his love of Chagall, Justin Bieber’s declaration that Anne Frank would have been a “Belieber,” and that Thanksgiving and Hanukkah could form a wonderfully delicious merger known as “Thanksgivukkah.”
At the center of Masterpieces & Curiosities: A Russian-American Quilt, on view at the Jewish Museum through February 15, 2015, hangs one of the most intriguing, charming, and visually intricate objects in our collection. It’s a colorful quilt, originally owned by a Russian Jewish immigrant family. The quilt was assembled in America, incorporating panels probably embroidered in the Old Country. Its majesty and central placement within the gallery encourages visitors to thoroughly examine the beautiful patterns and motifs that make up its decoration.
The show is part three of our exciting new Masterpieces & Curiosities series. These are intimate essay exhibitions centered on a single work of art from the Museum’s permanent collection. They have already explored a medieval aquamanile ritual handwashing vessel and Diane Arbus’s important photograph A Jewish giant at home with his parents, in the Bronx, N.Y., 1970. A painting by Nicole Eisenman titled Seder and the Alfred Stieglitz photograph The Steerage are among the subjects of future Masterpieces & Curiosities exhibitions.
Helena Rubinstein: Beauty Is Power opened to the public on October 31, marking the first time a museum has explored this fascinating historic figure. Through the cosmetics empire and art collections Rubinstein built, Madame (as she was widely known) helped break down the status quo of taste, blurring boundaries between commerce, art, fashion, beauty, and design. Even in advance of the grand opening, Beauty Is Power had already attracted adulation from the press, including feature coverage in W magazine and The New York Times. Continue reading