News

News about The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life. Learn about exhibitions, programs and events, collection highlights, and read Confluence, the Magnes newsletter. 

Zooming In: Spring 2021

Curatorial Conversations from The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

Curators Francesco Spagnolo and Shir Kochavi present insights and connections emerging from the holdings of UC Berkeley's Magnes Collection, one of the largest Jewish museum collections in the world. During the Spring Semester, they will be reflecting on exhibitions presented by The Magnes over the last decade, highlighting how they will be revisited in the context of Time Capsules, a new exhibition opening to the public in the Fall.

Zooming In

Weekly Curatorial Conversations from The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

Each week, curators Francesco Spagnolo and Shir Kochavi present insights and connections emerging from the holdings of UC Berkeley's Magnes Collection, one of the largest Jewish museum collections in the world. Throughout the series, guests will join them to explore Jewish art and life, one object at a time.

Fridays at Noon, August 21-December 18, 2020 (except Sept. 18 & Nov. 27) | A Zoom (free or licensed) account is required to attend these free programs.

Our Support for the Black Lives Matter Movement

We at the Magnes acknowledge the violence suffered by African Americans, including the recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor, as well as the cumulative impact of a centuries-long history of racial discrimination. Like many in the Jewish and UC Berkeley communities, we express solidarity with African Americans and join calls to stop the killings and address the deep-seated racism and economic disparities that scar American life.

Shelter-in-place Extended Through June

Update June 4, 2020: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life remains closed until further notice in compliance with Alameda County’s and the city of Berkeley’s shelter-in-place order. The health and safety of our community is very important to us; our staff are following protocols set by university & municipal authorities to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 through social distancing, telecommuting, etc.

Gazeta Features Exhibitions & Museums: In Real Times | Arthur Szyk at the Magnes

Magnes Curator Francesco Spagnolo provides a detailed look at our 2020 exhibition, In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights for the spring issue of Gazeta, a quarterly publication of the American Association for Polish-Jewish Studies and Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture.

Shelter-in-place Extended Through May

Update April 29, 2020: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life remains closed until further notice in compliance with Alameda County’s and the City of Berkeley’s shelter in place order. The health and safety of our community is very important to us; our students and staff are following protocols set by UC Berkeley and Alameda County to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 through social distancing, telecommuting, etc.

Extended Closure

The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life will be closed until further notice in compliance with Alameda County’s and the City of Berkeley’s shelter in place order. The health and safety of our community is very important to us; our students and staff are following protocols set by UC Berkeley and Alameda County to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 through social distancing, telecommuting, etc. 

Temporary Closure

The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Culture will be closed to the public through March 27 as a precautionary measure to ensure public health and safety. This is a difficult decision to make, but the health of our community is very important to us. Our decision also aligns with measures set forth by the University of California Berkeley, as well as many of our peer institutions.

Celebrating the Contemporary Relevance of Arthur Szyk at the Magnes

“Instagram avant la lettre,” said renowned scholar, anthropologist, and  museum curator Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, describing Arthur Szyk’s skillful use of visual imagery as a means of mass communication. Speaking to a capacity crowd at The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, Dr. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, a professor at New York University and curator at the POLIN Museum in Warsaw, remarked on the Magnes’curatorial focus on the artist’s critical contributions to the struggle for human rights in the 1940s, and his enduring legacy as a master illustrator and social commentator.

India, Israel and Berkeley

Update 3/9/20: The Commonwealth Club has cancelled this event due to public safety measures regarding the coronavirus. 

*Please note this event is held at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.

Our distinguished panel will discuss the ties between Israel, India and Berkeley demonstrated in the Berkeley-based Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life’s beautiful collection of Indian Jewish artifacts. Deputy Consul General Matan Zamir, who was previously stationed in Mumbai, will talk about his experiences. The little known fact, that Jews have lived in India for thousands of years and that presently about 80,000 Indian Jews live in Israel will also be discussed.

Steven Heller | Arthur Szyk Forever Relevant! (Design Observer 12.02.2020)

Steven Heller interviews Dr. Francesco Spagnolo, Curator of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, UC Berkeley, about the exhibition In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights for the online publication, Design Observer (02.12.2020).

More about the exhibition at bit.ly/inrealtimes


 

Press Release | Exhibition of Political Art by WWII-Era Human Rights Advocate Arthur Szyk Opens at UC Berkeley Magnes Collection (1.21.2020)

Exhibition of Political Art by WWII-Era Human Rights Advocate Arthur Szyk
Opens at UC Berkeley Magnes Collection

Students help to bring artist’s historic calls to action to contemporary audiences 

Berkeley, Calif. (January 21, 2020)—Arthur Szyk’s compelling political cartoons placed Nazi genocide, tyranny and racism on the covers of America’s most popular magazines during World War II. Today, his pioneering examples of graphic storytelling have renewed relevance as a new exhibition and University of California, Berkeley students bring Szyk’s works to contemporary audiences.

In Global Transit: Forced Migration of Jews and other Refugees (1940s-1960s)

May 19-22, 2019

Conference at GHI West and The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, University of California, Berkeley 

Conveners: Wolf Gruner (USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research, Los Angeles), Simone Lässig (German Historical Institute Washington/GHI West, UC Berkeley), Francesco Spagnolo (The Magnes, UC Berkeley), Swen Steinberg (University of Dresden) 

In cooperation with India Branch Office of the Max Weber Foundation, New Delhi (Indra Sengupta, Razak Khan) and China Branch Office of the Max Weber Foundation, Beijing (Max Jacob Fölster