Fall 2006 Events

“Camoflauge and Representation: Jewish Women in the Arts”

The Swig Judaic Studies Program
The Visual Arts Department
The Performing Arts and Social Justice Department
The Gender and Sexualities Studies Minor
LGBTQ Caucus
The Contemporary Jewish Museum

Candace Falk, Editor/Director of The Emma Goldman Papers, University of California, Berkeley
To Dream of Becoming a Judith: The Jewish Roots of Emma Goldman's Anarchism
September 27, 2006
1:30 pm, The Donohue Rare Book Room, Gleeson Library

Candace Falk is editor and director of the Emma Goldman Papers Project at the University of California-Berkeley. Emma Goldman (1869–1940) stands as a major figure in the history of American radicalism and feminism. An influential and well-known anarchist of her day, Goldman was an early advocate of free speech, birth control, women’s equality and independence, and union organization. Among her many publications, Falk's biography of Goldman, Love, Anarchy and Emma Goldman: A Biography, explores the clash between Goldman's public vision and her private life.

In her Davies Forum presentation, Falk will trace the Jewish roots of Goldman’s anarchism, noting that the Biblical Judith, who cut off the head of Holofernes to avenge the wrongs done to the Jewish people, was Goldman’s female role model. Her experience of Russian violence against Jews informed her lifelong advocacy for social justice.

Alison Luterman, poet, essayist and playwright, Berkeley, CA
Love and War; How Jewish Women Struggle to Hold Onto Each Other

October 4, 2006
1:30 pm, Visual Arts Department, XARTS Studio 01

Alison Luterman is a Bay Area poet, essayist and playwright. Her writings have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including The Sun, Poetry East, Kalliope, Whetstone, Oberon, The Comstock Review, Iris, Pleiades, The Brooklyn Review, and others. Anthologies include A More Perfect Union, Orpheus Descending, How Luminous the Wildflowers, and Poetry 180. Her first book of poetry, The Largest Possible Life, won the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Prize in 2000 and was published in 2001; her second book, See How We Almost Fly, is forthcoming. Luterman teaches at New College in San Francisco, The Writing Salon, and in elementary schools throughout the Bay Area as a member of California Poets in the schools. She also performs spoken word with the improvisational theatre troupe Wing It!

As part of the Davies Forum, Luterman will do a staged reading of a scene from her first full-length play Saying Kaddish With My Sister. It features a dysfunctional family Seder in which all four members of the family are arguing about politics, love, fairness, God and death, while attempting to struggle through some remnant of the formal ritual (Seder means order--this family's Seder is anything but.)

Beverly Naidus, Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts, University of Washington, Tacoma
You're Such a Complainer: The Socially Engaged Art of Beverly Naidus

October 11, 2006
7:00 pm, Maraschi Room, Fromm Hall

For almost three decades, Beverly Naidus’ art practice has intertwined the roles of activist, educator, writer and interdisciplinary artist. Themes in her art work have included concerns about the environmental crisis, the alienation of consumer culture, the healing of body hate, the effects of nuclear power and war, and questions about cultural identity. She is the author of two artist’s books: One Size Does Not Fit All and What Kinda Name is That. Her work has been discussed in several books on contemporary art as well as major newspapers and magazines, and she exhibits and speaks internationally. Naidus is an Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts at the University of Washington at Tacoma where she has developed a curriculum in art for social change. She has written several essays on activist art pedagogy that can be found in Radical Teacher, The New Art Examiner, New Practices, New Pedagogy and Little Signs of Hope: The Arts, Education and Social Change.

In her Davies Forum presentation, Naidus will discuss her response as an artist, educator, and activist to questions about immigration, assimilation, and the environment, and what it means to be born into the post-holocaust generation.

Lisa Kokin, visual artist, Richmond, CA
Tome Is Where the Art Is: Creating an Open Book Collage with Found Materials

October 25, 2006
1:30 pm, Visual Arts Department, XARTS Studio 01

Lisa Kokin’s work in mixed media installation, artist’s books, assemblage and sculpture is about memory and history, both personal and collective. Her work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad. A recipient of a California Arts Council Individual Artist’s Fellowship and a Eureka Fellowship from the Fleishhacker Foundation, Ms. Kokin’s work is in numerous public and private collections. She is represented by the Jenkins Johnson Gallery in New York and the Donna Seager Gallery in San Rafael, CA.

Helène Aylon, visual artist, New York City, NY
The G-d Project: Nine Houses Without Women

November 1, 2006
7:00 pm, Maraschi Room, Fromm Hall

Helène Aylon is an internationally renowned visual artist based in New York who works at the crossroads of women's issues and Jewish ritual and who also has a strong interest in environmental art. Her installation, "The Liberation of G-d ", first shown in the Jewish Museum's "Too Jewish"?" show in 1996, was subsequently acquired by the Museum in 2000 and shown for one year in their Culture and Continuity Core Exhibit (a digital installation was subsequently commissioned by the San Francisco Jewish Community Center). Aylon spent six years covering every page of The Five Books of Moses with transparent parchment and highlighting the problematic passages -e.g. homophobia- and the exclusion or degradation of women. Other recent projects have included My Bridal Chamber, My Wailing Wall, The Women's Section and My Notebooks. She was honored as the recipient of the Visual Arts Award of the National Foundation of Jewish Culture in 2002.

Elaine Reichek, visual artist, New York City, NY
A Postcolonial Kinderhood

November 8, 2006
7:00 pm, Maraschi Room, Fromm Hall

Elaine Reichek is an internationally renowned visual artist who lives and works in New York. According to New York Times critic Holland Cotter, “She is a conceptualist who is also an ethnologist, a self-taught crafts artist, a historian, an indefatigable archivist and a shrewd cultural critic with a gift for unraveling the tangled politics of image making.”

Reichek is best known for her work that combines needlework and the tradition of women’s embroidered samplers with digital technology and old master images to create installations that offer astute art-historical and socio-political commentary. As part of the Davies Forum she will discuss her piece, A Postcolonial Kinderhood (1994), which highlights the absurdity of assimilation to a nostalgic view of American culture and social values.

Selected Solo Exhibitions: Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Jewish Museum, New York; Wexner Center for the Visual Arts, Columbus, Ohio; Stichting De Appel, Amsterdam; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse. Selected Group Exhibitions: List Visual Arts Center, M.I.T., Cambridge, Mass.; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Asheville Art Museum, N.C.; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Serpentine Gallery, London; Nordiska Museet, Stockholm; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Spoleto Festival, Italy.

Elaine Reichek is represented by the Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York, and the Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Los Angeles.

*This event is co-sponsored by the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco.

Zigi Lowenberg and Raymond Nat Turner, UpSurge, jazz and poetry ensemble, Oakland, CA
Mingling My Jewness in Your Africanness: A Creative Partnership Traversing Challenging Terrain

November 15, 2006
1:30 pm, Maraschi Room, Fromm Hall

Zigi Lowenberg and Raymond Nat Turner share stories and aspects of their performance work that illustrate their personal and professional experience in collaborating across ethnic and gender lines. They are co-leaders of the Bay Area’s seminal jazz poetry ensemble, UpSurge, founded in 1990. UpSurge is a unique blend of eclectic jazz and courageous poetry that reaches deep in your soul. The ensemble is a septet of piano, bass, drums, saxophone and trombone, with jazzpoets Raymond Nat Turner and Zigi Lowenberg, who bend metaphors and split similes throughout the swinging ride.

UpSurge is also the ultimate hybrid. They’re New York and Los Angeles (co-leaders hail from both coasts). They’re African-American, Jewish-American and more. They mix conscious words with assorted grooves and feels, dissolving boundaries separating genres and people. Lowenberg and Turner are also the executive producers on the groups’ two highly acclaimed CDs, Chromatology (2003) and All Hands on Deck (1999).

In 2003, UpSurge was voted “Best Spoken Word Artist of the East Bay” by the Express Reader’s Poll, and All Hands on Deck won an Honorable Mention independent music award in 2000. UpSurge has appeared at jazz festivals and clubs from Monterey and Vallejo, to KCSM’s Jazz on the Hill, Yoshi’s, Club Jazz Nouveau, and most recently at the Cornelia Street Café in NYC. UpSurge has also performed at Tulane University and Brown University in addition to many Northern California regional universities and colleges.

Ronnie Gilbert, performance artist, Berkeley, CA
Ronnie Gilbert: A Radical Life with Songs

November 29, 7:00 pm
Maraschi Room, Fromm Hall

A native New Yorker, Ronnie Gilbert was singing on the radio by age 12. After performing in various choral and vocal groups, Ronnie joined forces with Pete Seeger, Lee Hays and Fred Hellerman to form The Weavers in 1947. The quartet, featuring Ronnie’s soaring contralto, exposed their listeners in the late Forties, Fifties and early Sixties to traditional and newly-written folk songs ranging from early “world” music (“Wimoweh,” “Tzena, Tzena, Tzena,” “Guantanamera”) to classic, comforting standards (“On Top of Old Smokey,” “Goodnight Irene,” “Kisses Sweeter than Wine”) to idealistic social comment (“This Land is Your Land,” “If I Had a Hammer” and "Wasn't That a Time."

Despite the group’s commercial popularity (beginning with “Goodnight Irene,” their hit records sold in the millions of copies), the politically aware Weavers were blacklisted during the anti-Communist hysteria of the McCarthy era. With The Weavers unable to tour, Ronnie moved toward a solo career as singer and actor in the early Sixties, recording albums and appearing in plays off and on Broadway. She subsequently earned an M.A. in clinical psychology and worked as a therapist before returning to the theater.

Drawn out of musical retirement by longtime devotee Holly Near for a series of 1983 concerts (captured on Appleseed Recordings' LIFELINE EXTENDED) Gilbert continued her musical partnership with Near and recorded three albums on Near’s record label (formerly Redwood Records) including a solo release, SPIRIT IS FREE. Ronnie and Holly's historic tour with Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger is preserved on Appleseed's H.A.R.P: A TIME TO SING. Another solo record, LOVE WILL FIND A WAY was released on Abbe Alice Music, a label owned by Ronnie and her partner, Donna Korones.

Ronnie’s 70th birthday tour with Holly in 1996 was celebrated with another Abbe Alice release, THIS TRAIN STILL RUNS. It contains two of her songs from her one-woman theater piece, "Mother Jones," based on the life of the legendary American labor activist. Ronnie also wrote the lyrics and co-authored the musical play "Legacy," inspired by Studs Terkel’s oral history “Coming of Age.”

As part of the Davies Forum Ronnie will perform an auto-biographical song/talk called “Ronnie Gilbert: A Radical Life with Songs,” created for cross-generational communities. She continues her commitment to feminism and global peace activism through strong participation in the Women In Black network, challenging U.S. policy in the Middle East and around the world. She is at work writing her memoirs. (Based on a biography from Appleseed Records).)