I had the pleasure of visiting the Contemporary Jewish Museum a few weeks ago on my trip to SF. If you don’t know which one this is, it’s the big blue one that looks like it balancing on it’s side.
The architecture itself was a piece of art and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. The CJM is the first to host the Story Corps Story Booth. I was nearly in tears as we listened to these stories from people young and old… some spoke of struggles and some spoke of love. There is something endearing about story telling. The voices were loud, almost larger than life and everyone gathered around the hear and share with this voice as if the person was standing right in the room with us.
The Story Corp is an amazing project. Since 2003, over 35,000 everyday people have shared life stories with family and friends in their Story Booths. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the Library of Congress. Millions listen to the broadcasts on public radio and the web. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind. What a great idea! And audio history book, told through people’s interactions and experiences of the historical events instead of the events themselves. Love it.
Of course we enjoyed the ever-popular Andy Warhol exhibition entitled :”Warhol’s Jews: Ten Portraits Revisited.” It was an interesting piece that included portraits of Sigmund Freud, The Marx Brothers, George Gershwin, Franz Kafka, Gertrude Stein and more. It was interesting to see which people he chose for this work and his examination on why people came to see it. This exhibition in particular has created quite a controversy over the years, but we wouldn’t expect any less from Warhol.
In the special events of “Yud” Gallery, we were completely engulfed in the sounds created by John Zorn. Titled the “Aleph-Bet Sounds Project,” the music and voice danced off of the slanted walls and the people in the room seemed to reflect the space. They would wander and then stop with their heads tilted to one side as if to hear more clearly or as if they remembered these sounds. I love to watch the people in the space, sharing in the experience. I always wonder about where people go inside themselves when they experience a piece of art such as this. I loved this space and I wanted to fill the floor with dance.
The current exhibitions are The Story Booth Project, Dateline 09, Jews on Vinyl, and a Bay Jewish Portrait. This new museum is now on my must-see list whenever I’m in the bay area. See the CJM Schedule.