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Inquiry 01: Chicago Jewish Artists Fellowship Exhibition

Inquiry 01: Chicago Jewish Artists Fellowship Exhibition

May 23, 2018 to August 12, 2018
Past Exhibition

This exhibition presented works by nine accomplished artists, participants in Spertus Institute’s first Chicago Jewish Artists Fellowship, through which the artists conducted individual and collective research into their Jewish identity and artistic practice.

The 2017–2018 artists were Nelly Agassi, Leslie Baum, Iris Bernblum, Dianna Frid, Matthew Girson, Jesse Malmed, Geof Oppenheimer, Roni Packer, and Rana Siegel.

The Fellowship program was co-directed by Spertus Institute’s Curator of Collections and Exhibitions Ionit Behar and curator, writer, and educator Ruslana Lichtzier. The artists — who work in media including film, photography, performance, drawing, painting, and sculpture — had opportunities to learn from leading scholars, visit artists’ studios, and work closely with objects from Spertus Institute's collections and archives.

Through monthly meetings, the Fellows engaged and collaborated with each other, exploring topics from the complexities of Jewish heritage to how Jewish ethics and rituals intersect with contemporary politics.

About the program, Ionit Behar said: “It was exciting to bring this talented group of artists together. We hope to have provided a unique setting conducive to meaningful conversations and collaborations around issues relating to Jewish identity.”

Ruslana Lichtzier added: “The program provided a nourishing environment for transformation. In this time of political and cultural divisions, the Fellowships provided a time and place for open and curious engagements, encouraging the coexistence of multiple opinions.”

The exhibition featured new projects by the Fellows, along with objects from the Spertus collection selected as part of their work.

Exhibitions at Spertus Institute are made possible in part by the Harry and Sadie Lasky and Charles & M.R. Shapiro Foundations.

Exhibition publication

Image at left

Dianna Frid, Estrucutura del Texto, Canvas, linen embroidery floss, aluminum, adhesives. 2015

Related Events

There are the events that were held in conjunction with Inquiry 01.

Exhibition Opening
Wednesday, May 23, 2018 | 5:30-8:00 pm
Nelly Agassi did a "give away performance," giving souvenir-like objects to create a sense of collective identity.

Gallery Talk
Sunday, June 10, 2018 | 3:00-4:30 pm
Artists Nelly Agassi, Dianna Frid, Matthew Girson, Roni Packer, and Rana Siegel spoke about their work.

Gallery Talk
Sunday, July 15, 2018 | 3:00-4:30 pm
Artists Leslie Baum, Iris Bernblum, and Jesse Malmed spoke about their work.

Murmur of Democracy by Matthew Girson
Thursday, July 26, 2018 | 6:00-7:30 pm
Group performance reflected on the successes and failures of Democracy.


Exhibitions at Spertus Institute are made possible in part by the Harry and Sadie Lasky and Charles & M.R. Shapiro Foundations.

Thank you to NPN 360 and Rick Drucker for their support.