Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Contemporary Jewish Museum and Andy Warhol

In celebration of finishing my dissertation, I went up to San Francisco to go to the remodeled Contemporary Jewish Museum and their special exhibit "Warhol's Jews: Ten Portraits Revisited." Today was the last day of the exhibit so I was lucky to catch it. The exhibit was great- they had all of the final portraits lined up all in a line. They also had several of the earlier versions as well as the sketches that he used to overlay some of the photo screened prints. Warhol selected 10 Jews that he felt best represented the 20th Century- I was able to see the long list that he chose from. What I had not realized is how much Warhol worked to get the "perfect" print. In the exhibit, they showed that he made upwards of 25 images changing the backgrounds, colors, and textures before he settled upon each one. They had a video slide show showing these different iterations of each photo and I liked some of them better than the ones he chose. My personal favorite was the one of Louis Brandeis. Brandeis was the 1st Jew to be on the Supreme Court and the university I attend is named in his honor.

All I know is that he would be so disappointed by the actions that are being enacted by Brandeis right now. The university has been hit HARD by the declining economy, especially since many donors gave their money to Madoff so the President decided to SELL off the amazing collection at the Art Museum. What a tragedy! I still hope that it doesn't happen because it really goes against why Brandeis was established- to provide a venue to explore learning in ALL its forms.

The architecture of the building is AMAZING. They completely redesigned it and it reopened this past summer. Daniel Liebskind was the architect and he managed to maintain the old architecture of the building while incorporating modern elements into it.

Its hard to tell from the photo, but he added the blue glass structures to the building in the form of the Hebrew characters L'Chaim meaning "To Life." I love this pyramid structure that houses the gift shop

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