Curator – Amy Levine Kennedy
WJC is proud to have the Rabbi Irving and Marly Koslowe Gallery of Jewish Art in our main lobby. This award-winning exhibition space is home to revolving exhibitions that reflect the Jewish world in microcosm.
Through fine art, mixed media, sculpture, and photography, our thematic shows are culled from contemporary artists, historical content, traveling exhibitions from other Jewish museums, and original curatorial work. The Gallery, in conjunction with other committees, brings in artists, historians, and performers for associated lectures and presentations, both in-person and virtually.
The Koslowe Gallery’s new exhibition “Growing Up Jewish: Art & Storytelling,” features work by painter Jacqueline Kott-Wolle, based in Highland Park, IL. Her work reflects American life as many of us know it—a contemporary one, yet steeped in the traditions of Judaism that many of our forebears brought with them after the Holocaust. Kott-Wolle’s paintings and narratives playfully and vibrantly describe a world of family, tradition, and community in North America, a world sometimes informed by memories of life before the war and inspired in part by hardships faced during the war. The works include Jewish holiday and ritual observances; special moments at Hebrew school and summer camp; vacations with grandparents; as well as milestone celebrations marked by the artist’s family through the years. Paired with Kott-Wolle’s own narratives, the paintings, derived from family photo albums, invite us to explore the question: “What does it mean to be Jewish for past, present, and future generations in North America?”
We are excited to share our emphasis on hiddur mitzvah — incorporating beauty to enhance Jewish learning — with WJC and the greater Westchester community. For our fall exhibition, we welcome a curatorial collaboration with artist Tobi Kahn and the Barbara C. Freedman Artists’ Beit Midrash at the Streicker Center of Temple Emanu-El, in NY.
The artists range in age from their thirties to their eighties, and have produced a multi-media exhibition of contemporary Jewish art derived from ongoing study of themed texts presented by Kahn, and three instructing rabbis: Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses, the Director of Lifelong Learning at Romemu; Rabba Wendy Ansellem, head of the Beit Midrash at Maharat; and Rabbanit Leah Sarna, the Associate Director of Education at Drisha. Kahn is a professor at the School of Visual Arts, in NY, and a painter and sculptor whose conceptual art is held in museums worldwide, including the Guggenheim, the Jewish Museum, the 9/11 Memorial, and Yale University Art Gallery, as well as private collections and spiritual spaces.
Each year, the group explores themed texts and produces and critiques artwork based on inspiration from their innovative and contemporary rabbinic methods of study. The work spans various forms of mass media — painting, photography, fiber art, and sculpture.
Our waters hold an important place in the teachings of Judaism. Many artists have been responding to climate change with a mix of works that reflect their awareness of the Jewish ideals of Tikkun Olam and renewal. In multimedia, the artists explore their concerns for the waters, riverbeds, and coastlines of an increasingly fragile Earth.
Watch the conversation with Karen Kassap.
Kassap sees omens everywhere, in the day-to-day work of women as wives, mothers, professionals, and community members, and in the trembling maxim of modern life on Earth. Through the use of metaphors and symbolism, Kassap uses mixed media collage techniques to create vibrant and evoking works. She has won numerous recognitions, including finalist for the Spring 2021 Hopper Prize and Best Story prize for her Black Wedding series at the Milford Arts Council Show, “Story of Women,” last year. Kassap has participated in solo and group exhibitions, both in person and virtually throughout the area. Both an artist and attorney by training, Kassap sees the truth in human struggle and interaction, and in the modes of healing, compromise, and independence that course through all of us. She is trained in collage through mentorship and in black and white photography and printing from the International Center for Photography. She lives in New Haven, CT.
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