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Traversing Tradition: Transformation in and of Contemporary Jewish Life

February 7, 2017 - May 19, 2017

Exhibition Curator: Rebecca Pristoop
Artists: Tamar Ettun; Jake Levin; Angela Strassheim; Silvio Wolf; Gil Yefman; Sarah Zell Young

More Info: http://www.jtsa.edu/arts-at-jts

About Traversing Tradition:

The artistic process is one of inquiry and proposition. Artists encounter an idea, explore it from multiple perspectives, and propose new meanings that expand, challenge, or do away with the idea’s preexisting connotations. This act of creating new meaning is inherently spiritual: it changes the usual system that a person holds as a basis for self-definition. Artists stand on the precipice of transformation, willing to ask the questions: Who do I want to be? How do I want to live? What do I want to do to get there?

Traversing Tradition: Transformation in and of Contemporary Jewish Life explores the possibility of transformation as it intersects with Judaism. Prompted by a period of change and reflection—as JTS begins a major renovation and expansion of its campus facilities, creating a centralized and modernized residence hall, a prominent auditorium and conference center, and a state-of-the-art library—this exhibition emerges in two stages. On view beginning in the fall of 2015, installations by Tamar Ettun, Jake Levin, Angela Strassheim, and Sarah Zell Young make use of JTS’s historic campus with works that consider the possibility of transformation in one’s personal life as well as in contemporary Jewish culture. Using a wide range of media, including video, photography, and neon, the artists witness, question, respond to, and reinterpret Jewish communities, texts, and traditions. Their artworks reflect upon the transformations intrinsic to the rituals, customs, and observances associated with Jewish dietary laws, prayer, birth, and death.

Installed in the spring of 2016, works by Silvio Wolf and Gil Yefman join the exhibition. Wolf symbolically inaugurates the new campus construction with a piece focusing on the transition between nature and culture, outside and inside, while Yefman’s work pays tribute to JTS’s monumental 2006 decision to ordain gay and lesbian rabbis with an installation that engages the complexity of gender and sexual identities.

Traversing Tradition is the fourth visual arts exhibition presented by the Arts Advisory Board as part of JTS’s ongoing initiative to create and sustain arts programming throughout its five schools. Installed in different parts of the campus, these site-specific works allow the JTS community to pause amid everyday activities to reflect upon the practices addressed by each artist and to consider the moral, ethical, and spiritual choices they make each day.



February 7, 2017
May 19, 2017
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Jewish Theological Seminary
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New York, 10027 United States
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