Koret Heritage Lobby
Oct. 17-Dec. 30
The Magnes has a fifty-year history of presenting exhibitions that break new ground in Jewish Studies research, build upon the collaboration between curators and UC Berkeley faculty and students, expand Judaica connoisseurship, introduce under-recognized Jewish artists of the 20th century, and take risks with experimental projects by contemporary artists. Many of its exhibitions drawn on selections from its extensive collections, or commissioned works that use the collections as inspiration.
This page is a growing archive of the exhibition history of the institution since its founding in 1962. The description of each exhibition is augmented by texts and label texts, images, press releases, links to press coverage and artists and contributors websites.
Visitors to the website who have been involved with any of the exhibitions created by the former Judah L. Magnes Museum and wish to contribute additional materials are encouraged to do so, reaching out to our staff through our contact information page.
Global India: Kerala, Israel, Berkeley unveils the extensive holdings of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life documenting the history of the Jewish community in Kerala, South India. The exhibition includes over one hundred individual items, many of which were never catalogued before.
In 1974, the Judah L. Magnes Museum commissioned Albert Garvey (b. 1932, Chicago), a photographer, printmaker, and graphic designerthen living in Fairfax, California, to create a portfolio of views of contemporary Israel.
This is the first exhibition to highlight landscape art from The Magnes collection. Spanning the twentieth century and following the paths of Jewish migration, the exhibition offers of a new look at the artists' relationship with the sites and spaces they inhabited. From Western European Impressionism to Eastern European Realism, from Romanticism of the Americas to Modernism of Israel/Palestine, images of the land were created at the intersection of pictorial traditions and ideological values.
A panorama of Jewish life in the 20th century as told through images from the vast art collection at The Magnes. Paintings and sculptures by prominent artists illustrate key historical moments from pogroms to emigration to the Holocaust. The artists’ biographies are telling in their own right, revealing stories of global migration, Nazi persecution, trauma, and restitution.
The nearly one thousand posters acquired since the 1960s by the former Judah L. Magnes Museum constitute an important component of the pictorial holdings of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life. Purchased in Jewish museums throughout the world, obtained via the networks of ephemera connoisseurs, or simply taken off walls in the streets of Jerusalem, these materials today represent an invaluable source of historical information.
Sound Objects combines the study of Jewish material culture with the emerging field of sound studies and investigates the role of objects that emit sound during synagogue rituals. The exhibition includes a selection of over sixty objects, books, manuscripts and photographs from The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life documenting ritual in the global Diaspora, and integrates on-site display with online resources that comprise images, texts, and the sounds recorded by “playing” several of the ritual objects on view.
A multi-media installation based on a literary project by Moira Roth, a leading international voice in feminism, performance and contemporary art.
The display cases at the very center of The Magnes building are designed to unleash the curatorial mind by presenting diverse collection items, a variety of display modes, and a wide range of perspectives. This is the ideal platform for the Case Study exhibition series, conceived as a “scholar’s playground.” Each year, UC Berkeley faculty, graduate students and visiting scholars will collaborate with the curators of The Magnes in creating collection-based exhibitions based on emerging research.
The main gallery presents an exhibition drawn from The Magnes’ vast collection of prints and photography. The broad selection by director Alla Efimova is an investigation of the use of reproducible images in ethnographic and documentary studies of Jewish lives, since 18th century to the present. The selection includes the well-loved images by Marc Chagall, Hermann Struck and Neil Foldberg as well as works by less known and anonymous image-makers. The focus is on the study of Jewish types in communities throughout the world.
In its first five decades The Magnes has made a global impact on Jewish culture through pioneering collecting practices and communal activism. It incubated the first Jewish film festival in the world and inspired the international revival of Klezmer music. It established the model for the study of regional Jewish history in America, explored the visual and materials dimensions of Jewish life, and became a preeminent Jewish museum collections in a world-class university setting.
Built by Pacassa Studios, a local woodworking and architecture firm, the display cases at the very center of the new Magnes facility will be used to highlight thematic selections from the permanent collection.
Emmanuel Witzthum’s multimedia project, Dissolving Localities, has focused for the last several years on the layers that compose the city of Jerusalem. Witzhum and the artists he invited “perform” the city as a musical/visual instrument. By interweaving recorded sights and sounds, ranging from birds’ songs to street noise, from prayer fragments to church bells, the project creates an expanding open-source multimedia montage, highlighting contrasts and unexpected harmonies.
Inaugural exhibition of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life
With the establishment of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at UC Berkeley in July 2010, unique materials documenting the Jewish experience in Northern California were gifted to The Bancroft Library by the former Judah L. Magnes Museum in Berkeley.
After the San Francisco earthquake and fire in 1906, the Fillmore district became home to a thriving Jewish community. Yiddish-speaking immigrants from Eastern Europe took root alongside other ethnic and religious groups living in the neighborhood. Fillmore and McAllister Streets were lined with Jewish-owned restaurants, bakeries, shops, and kosher markets.
A photographic history about and exhibition of original painting by Bernard Baruch Zakheim (1896-1985) at the Jazz Heritage Center, in San Francisco.
Koret Heritage Lobby
Jews of the Fillmore is an exhibition at The Jazz Heritage Center's Koret Heritage Lobby completed by a twenty-minute walking tour through the Fillmore district of San Francisco, California, and by a host of online resources.
The exhibition will survey recent work by contemporary Israeli artists. On loan from important private Bay Area collections, the paintings, photographs, and media art in the exhibition demonstrate the progressiveness and internationalism of the art world in Israel during the past decade. Sixty years after the establishment of the state, Israeli art is truly integrated into the global cultural landscape.
Continuing a centuries-old dialogue between Jewish and Islamic musical traditions, guest curator Lawrence Rinder stages a multichannel sound installation incorporating a new musical composition by Shahrokh Yadegari. Extending the work of Rinder's grandfather, Cantor Reuben R.