The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the University of California, Berkeley’s Bancroft Library opens its fall season on Tuesday, Aug. 28. It will feature four new exhibitions and programming that will include art of key points in Jewish history, a performance by award-winning actor and musician Theodore Bikel, and conversations about topics including the book of Genesis and the state of Jewish studies.
The new season also marks the start of the first full academic year of operation at UC Berkeley for the institution, which opened in downtown Berkeley last January as part of Bancroft.
“We couldn’t be more pleased at how much excitement and energy we’ve created in the first six months in our new space,” said Magnes Director Alla Efimova. “It’s become even clearer how the next chapter in The Magnes’ history will help us realize our vision of being a nexus for culture, community and scholarship.”
The new exhibitions and programming at The Magnes will include:
Typo/Graphics: Studying Jewish Types in Print and Photography
Aug. 29 – Dec.16
The exhibition’s broad selection by Efimova is an investigation of the use of reproducible images in ethnographic and documentary studies of Jewish lives, since the 18th century to the present. The selection includes well-loved images by Marc Chagall, Hermann Struck and Neil Foldberg, as well as works by less known and anonymous image-makers.
Case Study No. 2: The Inventory Project
Warren Hellman Gallery
Aug. 29 – Dec. 16
Jeffrey Shandler, a professor of Jewish studies at Rutgers University, turned his recent research at The Magnes into an exhibition drawn from unusual collection items such as calendars, amulets, postcards and ritual objects.
Modern Jewish History 101: The Art Files
Charles Michaels Gallery and Exhibition Program
Aug. 29 – May 31, 2013
The exhibition is a panorama of Jewish life in the 20th century as told through paintings and sculptures by prominent artists that illustrate key historical moments, from the attacks on Jews in Russia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to emigration and the Holocaust. The artists’ biographies reveal stories of global migration, Nazi persecution, trauma and restitution.
Reborn: Posters from the European Jewish Cultural Renaissance, 1963-1994
Aug. 29 –Dec. 16
The exhibition highlights posters from The Magnes collection that offer a unique perspective on the renaissance of Jewish culture in Europe since the early 1980s, as represented through museum exhibitions in Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Additional Magnes programs in the new academic year will feature tours, lectures, artist talks and scholarly symposia, as well as collaborations with local cultural and performing arts institutions.
They will include:
The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival at The Magnes
Starting Thursday, Sept. 6, 7 p.m.
The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, the oldest in the country, was incubated at the former Judah L. Magnes Museum in 1982. Thirty years later, the festival returns to The Magnes with a year-long series of monthly film screenings introduced by UC Berkeley faculty and visiting scholars. Additional dates will include Oct. 4, Nov. 1 and Dec. 6.
Rosenberg Poetry Award Reception
Sunday, Sept. 23, 4 p.m.
A community reception in honor of this year’s winners of the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards for Poems on Jewish Experience will include readings of the winning poems.
Annual Pell Lecture on Holocaust Studies: “Wartime Shanghai: A Microcosm of Eurasian Jewish Diversity”
Thursday, Oct. 4, 5:30 p.m.
Jonathan Goldstein, a professor of history at the University of West Georgia and the foremost authority on the history of Jewish community in China will deliver the lecture. He writes and teaches on Holocaust history, Jewish diasporas in Asia, and East-Asian international relations.
Litquake’s Berkeley Ramble
Saturday, Oct. 13, 1 p.m.
San Francisco’s annual literary festival will include an appearance at The Magnes of Rabbi Joshua Plaut, author of “A Kosher Christmas: ‘Tis the Season to be Jewish” (Rutgers, October 2012).
Modern Jewish Studies Colloquium: “What is Jewish Studies?”
Jeffrey Shandler in conversation with John Efron, moderated by Francesco Spagnolo
Monday, Oct. 15, 5 p.m.
Shandler is professor of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University and current president of the Association of Jewish Studies. He is the guest curator of The Magnes’s “Case Study No. 2: The Inventory Project.” Shandler and John Efron, UC Berkeley’s Koret Professor of Jewish History, will discuss the formative history and current state of Jewish studies.
Theodore Bikel in Concert
Saturday, Nov. 3, 7:30 p.m.
Bikel is an Academy Award- and Tony Award-nominated actor, folk singer and musician. A recognized interpreter of Yiddish and Hebrew folk songs, Bikel was an activist in the Soviet Jewry Freedom Movement. He will perform in conjunction with the annual Taube Conference in Eastern European Jewish Culture and History.
Annual Taube Conference in Eastern European Jewish Culture and History
Sunday, Nov. 4, 2-6 p.m.
The conference will assemble scholars of Eastern European Jewish Studies to examine transformations of Yiddish culture, life and letters in the former Soviet Union. It will be presented by the Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union.
Magnes by The Marsh: “Who is Rachel Marker?”
Moira Roth in conversation with Alla Efimova and Stephanie Weisman
Tuesday, Nov. 13, 5 p.m.
Magnes Director Alla Efimova and The Marsh Director Stephanie Weisman are working with the English-born art historian, critic and writer Moira Roth on a production based on Roth’s decade-long literary project, “Through the Eyes of Rachel Marker.” The piece is a fragmented narrative about a fictional Czech Jew, a poet and playwright whose life traverses the 20th century. Roth is the Trefethen Professor of Art History at Mills College.
“Genesis: A Biography”
Author Ronald Hendel in conversation
Thursday, Nov. 29, 5 p.m.
Ronald Hendel will introduce his forthcoming book, “Genesis: A Biography “ (Princeton, November 2012) in conversation with Rabbi Stephen Pearce of Temple Emanuel in San Francisco and the Very Rev. Jane Shaw, dean of San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral. The book traces how Genesis has shaped views of reality, and how changing views of reality have shaped interpretations of Genesis. Hendel is the Norma and Sam Dabby Professor of Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies at UC Berkeley.
Fall Open House
Oct. 6-7 noon-4 p.m.
The open house will be free and open to the public during UC Berkeley’s Homecoming Weekend. It will feature music, food and exhibition tours.
The Magnes is home to nearly 15,000 objects from around the world. Its public programs connect diverse community audiences with UC Berkeley’s formidable scholarship through lectures, films and performances. The Magnes is located at 2121 Allston Way in Berkeley, on the western edge of campus. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday, 11-4 p.m.