For Heaven’s Sake Jewish Artists Initiative of Southern California & The Jerusalem Biennale 2019 LA Edition

Opening Reception:
Sunday, September 8th
USC Hillel Art Gallery
3300 South Hoover Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90007

Isaac Brynjegard Bialik

JAI – Jewish Artists Initiative of Southern California is excited to present a new group exhibition, as part of the Jerusalem Biennale 2019, opening in Israel in October 2019.

The exhibition at USC Hillel will expand the JAI’s display in Jerusalem, and will present the Southern California audience with artworks in diverse media that relate to the Biennale’s themes.

This year’s overall theme of the Biennale – “For Heaven’s Sake” – created the desire to conduct and document conversations about important topics that are often discussed nowadays, either in Jewish and artistic circles, or in the socio-political arenas in general.

The international JAI exhibition in Jerusalem consists of a multi-channel video installation, depicting various monologues by JAI artists, regarding topics with a special importance to them, both as artists and as Jews.

Jana Zimmer, Climate Holocaust, Jews Included

These talks revolve around issues of complex identity, Jewish heritage, family memories, social concerns and responsibility toward one’s community, art and activism, conflict of borders, women’s rights and feminism, ecological concerns and global warming, abuse of power and the importance of morality, and more.

Many of the artists discussed the existence of a “Jewish conscious” and the significance of having social sensitivity, especially while remembering the events that led to the Holocaust and its outcome. Various artists also discussed the role of the artist as an engaged citizen, and the importance of being involved in social and political activism to some degree, either via art practice, or education, volunteering, or related activities.

Zhenya Gershman, Hand (Baba)

Other questions evoked personal feelings regarding the complexity of incorporating Jewish identity and historical perspectives into one’s art practice and day to day behavior, and whether it is necessary to tie the two together.

The artworks in the current exhibition present a variety of conceptual ways to manifest thoughts, concerns, points of view, contemplations and involvements in the fabric of society, via unique and individual creative prisms.

The exhibition is curated by Los Angeles based Israeli-American art historian, Sagi Refael.

Participating artists:
Yossi Alpert-Apodaca • Melinda Smith Altschuler • Renee Amitai • Bill Aron • Pat Berger • Sandy Bleifer • Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik • Ed Buttwinick • Jodi Bonassi • Ellen Cantor • Judy Dekel • Susan Gesundheit • Zhenya Gershman • Nancy Goodman Lawrence • Barry Gordon • Roger Gordon • Betty Green • Gilah Yelin Hirsch • Eva Hyam • Rachelle Mark • Randi Matushevitz • Marleene Rubinstein • Debra Sokolow • Ruth Weisberg • Jana Zimmer • Marlene Zimmerman