Welcome to the Magnes!

Exhibitions, Programs, and 15,000 Objects from Around the World

The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life was established in 2010 following the transfer of the Judah L. Magnes Museum to the University of California, Berkeley. Its remarkably diverse archive, library and museum holdings include art, objects, texts, music, and historical documents about the Jews in the Global Diaspora and the American West. As one of the world's preeminent Jewish collections in a university setting, it provides highly innovative and accessible resources to both researchers and the general publicThe holdings of The Magnes continue to grow. In 2017, The Magnes established the Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection, and in 2018 it received the gift of the Roman Vishniac Archive

We are open to the public Tuesday - Friday from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. We are closed on the weekends, Mondays, and on University Holidays. 

The Magnes will be closed beginning June 25th.  
Come see our new exhibits in the fall.
 

Memory Objects: Judaica Collections and Global Migrations

On View: 
Feb 26, 2019 to Jun 28, 2019
Aug 27, 2019 to Dec 13, 2019

The First World War (1914-1918) uprooted millions across Europe, and beyond. Many Jews left Eastern and Southern Europe, bringing with them prized personal and communal belongings. In an attempt to rescue precious heritage from imminent destruction, these “memory objects” often ended up with museums, collectors, and art dealers in the West.

a tsigele | one little goat: El Lissitzky’s Chad Gadyo at 100 (1919-2019)

On View: 
Aug 27, 2019 to Dec 13, 2019

One hundred years since the publication of Chad Gadyo, an illustrated version of the famed Passover song by the Russian Jewish artist El Lissitzky (Lazar Markovich Lissitzky, 1890-1941), a rare copy of this work has now found its way to The Magnes, thanks to a gift by Ira Fink and Penni Hudis of Berkeley.

Souvenirs from Utopia: The Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem (1906-1932)

On View: 
Aug 27, 2019 to Dec 13, 2019
Jan 21, 2020 to May 29, 2020

At the turn of the 20th century, under Ottoman rule, Jerusalem was rapidly developing into a center of Jewish cultural activities. The protagonists of this scene were, for the most part, recent East-European Jewish immigrants. They had been inspired to move to Palestine by the emerging Zionist movement, and were eager to shake off the oppressive conditions they had experienced under the Russian Empire. 

Memory Objects: Judaica Collections and Global Migrations

On View: 
Feb 26, 2019 to Jun 28, 2019
Aug 27, 2019 to Dec 13, 2019

The First World War (1914-1918) uprooted millions across Europe, and beyond. Many Jews left Eastern and Southern Europe, bringing with them prized personal and communal belongings. In an attempt to rescue precious heritage from imminent destruction, these “memory objects” often ended up with museums, collectors, and art dealers in the West.

An Archive of Archives: Roman Vishniac's Exhibition History | New York, 1971-72

On View: 
Jan 28, 2020 to May 29, 2020

In 2018, The Magnes acquired the Roman Vishniac Archive thanks to an unprecedented gift by the late Mara Vishniac Kohn (1926-2018). The collection is comprised of thousands of original prints, negatives, and archival materials documenting the long international career of photographer Roman Vishniac (1897-1990), a Russian-born modernist photographer,most notable for documenting Eastern-European Jewish life in the years immediately preceding the Holocaust. Vishniac’s work has been celebrated in exhibitions and publications since the 1940s. The gift represents one of the most important acquisitions by The Magnes since its founding in 1962, and one of inestimable value to UC Berkeley for insight and research into 20th century East European Jewry, and beyond. 

As this important collection is being painstakingly processed and documented, The Magnes is beginning to share new findings with the public. An archive of this magnitude is bound to reveal many discoveries, opening up new perspectives on the life and work of a globally recognized photographer, and allowing us to revisit some of the salient moments in his career. A veritable “archive of archives,” the collection also contains among its treasures substantial documentation of some of Vishniac's early exhibitions. 

Souvenirs from Utopia: The Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem (1906-1932)

On View: 
Aug 27, 2019 to Dec 13, 2019
Jan 21, 2020 to May 29, 2020

At the turn of the 20th century, under Ottoman rule, Jerusalem was rapidly developing into a center of Jewish cultural activities. The protagonists of this scene were, for the most part, recent East-European Jewish immigrants. They had been inspired to move to Palestine by the emerging Zionist movement, and were eager to shake off the oppressive conditions they had experienced under the Russian Empire. 

In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights (1926-1951)

On View: 
Jan 28, 2020 to May 29, 2020
Sep 1, 2020 to Dec 18, 2020

Born into a middle-class Polish Jewish family, Arthur Szyk (Łódź, Poland, 1894 – New Canaan, Connecticut, 1951) lived a life framed by two world wars and the rise of totalitarianism in Europe. A refugee, he ultimately settled in the United States in 1940. As a miniature artist and political caricaturist, he used motifs drawn from religion, history, politics, and culture to pair extraordinary craftsmanship with searing commentary on a diverse range of subjects including Judaism, the American War of Independence, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the founding of the State of Israel.

Broad concerns for human rights span Szyk’s entire production. In paintings and political cartoons, he exposed the Nazi genocide, supported the Polish underground, exalted the establishment of the United Nations, and ridiculed dictators of all stripes. His unwavering denunciation of Fascist crimes in Europe, the suppression of national rights worldwide, and the endless violations of civil rights in America are rooted in the experience of marginalization that characterized Jewish life in Eastern Europe since after the First World War. It is not superfluous to state how these very same concerns appear to be all too relevant in our times as well. 

In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights (1926-1951)

On View: 
Jan 28, 2020 to May 29, 2020
Sep 1, 2020 to Dec 18, 2020

Born into a middle-class Polish Jewish family, Arthur Szyk (Łódź, Poland, 1894 – New Canaan, Connecticut, 1951) lived a life framed by two world wars and the rise of totalitarianism in Europe. A refugee, he ultimately settled in the United States in 1940. As a miniature artist and political caricaturist, he used motifs drawn from religion, history, politics, and culture to pair extraordinary craftsmanship with searing commentary on a diverse range of subjects including Judaism, the American War of Independence, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the founding of the State of Israel.

Broad concerns for human rights span Szyk’s entire production. In paintings and political cartoons, he exposed the Nazi genocide, supported the Polish underground, exalted the establishment of the United Nations, and ridiculed dictators of all stripes. His unwavering denunciation of Fascist crimes in Europe, the suppression of national rights worldwide, and the endless violations of civil rights in America are rooted in the experience of marginalization that characterized Jewish life in Eastern Europe since after the First World War. It is not superfluous to state how these very same concerns appear to be all too relevant in our times as well. 

December 2019

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Memory Objects: Judaica Collections and Global Migrations

Memory Objects: Judaica Collections and Global Migrations


8/27/2019 to 12/13/2019

Every week, Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm, during the UC Berkeley Fall and Spring Semesters.

The First World War (1914-1918) uprooted millions across Europe, and beyond. Many Jews left Eastern and Southern Europe, bringing with them prized personal and communal belongings. In an attempt to rescue precious heritage from imminent destruction, these “memory objects” often ended up with museums, collectors, and art dealers in the West.

Location: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

Read More

»
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Souvenirs from Utopia: The Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem (1906-1932)

Souvenirs from Utopia: The Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem (1906-1932)

Case Study No. 10
8/27/2019 to 12/13/2019

Every week, Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm, during the UC Berkeley Fall and Spring Semesters.

At the turn of the 20th century, under Ottoman rule, Jerusalem was rapidly developing into a center of Jewish cultural activities. The protagonists of this scene were, for the most part, recent East-European Jewish immigrants. They had been inspired to move to Palestine by the emerging Zionist movement, and were eager to shake off the oppressive conditions they had experienced under the Russian Empire. 

Location: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

Read More

»
«
a tsigele | one little goat: El Lissitzky’s Chad Gadyo at 100 (1919-2019)

a tsigele | one little goat: El Lissitzky’s Chad Gadyo at 100 (1919-2019)


8/27/2019 to 12/13/2019

Every week, Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm, during the UC Berkeley Fall and Spring Semesters.

One hundred years since the publication of Chad Gadyo, an illustrated version of the famed Passover song by the Russian Jewish artist El Lissitzky (Lazar Markovich Lissitzky, 1890-1941), a rare copy of this work has now found its way to The Magnes, thanks to a gift by Ira Fink and Penni Hudis of Berkeley.

Location: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

Read More

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Memory Objects: Judaica Collections and Global Migrations

Memory Objects: Judaica Collections and Global Migrations


8/27/2019 to 12/13/2019

Every week, Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm, during the UC Berkeley Fall and Spring Semesters.

The First World War (1914-1918) uprooted millions across Europe, and beyond. Many Jews left Eastern and Southern Europe, bringing with them prized personal and communal belongings. In an attempt to rescue precious heritage from imminent destruction, these “memory objects” often ended up with museums, collectors, and art dealers in the West.

Location: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

Read More

 
 
«
Souvenirs from Utopia: The Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem (1906-1932)

Souvenirs from Utopia: The Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem (1906-1932)

Case Study No. 10
8/27/2019 to 12/13/2019

Every week, Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm, during the UC Berkeley Fall and Spring Semesters.

At the turn of the 20th century, under Ottoman rule, Jerusalem was rapidly developing into a center of Jewish cultural activities. The protagonists of this scene were, for the most part, recent East-European Jewish immigrants. They had been inspired to move to Palestine by the emerging Zionist movement, and were eager to shake off the oppressive conditions they had experienced under the Russian Empire. 

Location: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

Read More

 
«
a tsigele | one little goat: El Lissitzky’s Chad Gadyo at 100 (1919-2019)

a tsigele | one little goat: El Lissitzky’s Chad Gadyo at 100 (1919-2019)


8/27/2019 to 12/13/2019

Every week, Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm, during the UC Berkeley Fall and Spring Semesters.

One hundred years since the publication of Chad Gadyo, an illustrated version of the famed Passover song by the Russian Jewish artist El Lissitzky (Lazar Markovich Lissitzky, 1890-1941), a rare copy of this work has now found its way to The Magnes, thanks to a gift by Ira Fink and Penni Hudis of Berkeley.

Location: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

Read More

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Posted on Thursday, September 8, 2016

I am delighted to share the wonderfully insightful reflection and writing of Isabel (Issy) Steckel (Wesleyan, 2019), this summer’s Social Media intern at The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life. Issy, a Bay Area native, interested in all things art, Italy, and Jewish studies, dove in, head first to her position as Social Media intern. Her knowledge and expertise only served to garner more publicity for The Magnes, and to bolster our social media presence, tripling our follower count on Instagram.

Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Over the course of this year, our Magnes Graduate Fellow, Yosef Rosen, in collaboration with our former Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP) student, Zoe Lewin, worked extensively with The Magnes’s shiviti manuscript collection.

Posted on Friday, May 6, 2016

I am delighted to share an essay by Lauren Cooper. Lauren, who is graduating from UC Berkeley this Spring, with a Major in Comparative Literature, and Minors in Spanish and History, has been involved with Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP) that I direct at The Magnes for the last two years.

Posted on Friday, November 20, 2015

Carla Shapreau, a faculty member at Berkeley Law whose research involves the Nazi-era plunder of musical cultural property and the restitution of those possessions, a senior fellow in the Institute of European Studies and a curator at the Department of Music, as well as a member of the Magnes Working Group on Mapping Diasporas, is the recipient with two co-authors of this year’s Claude V.

Posted on Thursday, October 22, 2015

Greg Niemeyer is Associate Professor of Art Practice and the Director of the Berkeley Center for New Media (bcnm.berkeley.edu). Born in Switzerland in 1967, he studied photography and classics, and received his MFA from Stanford, where he founded the Digital Art Center.