Traversing Tradition: Transformation in and of Contemporary Jewish Life

7 Sep


The JTS Arts Advisory Board Presents
Traversing Tradition: Transformation in and of Contemporary Jewish Life

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

September 10, 2015, through May 19, 2016
3080 Broadway (at 122nd Street)
New York City

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 fall 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.

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