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Inquiry 01: Chicago Jewish Artists Fellowship Exhibition

Inquiry 01: Chicago Jewish Artists Fellowship Exhibition

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 to Sunday, August 12, 2018

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

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

The Fellowship program is 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 — have 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 have 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 is exciting to bring this talented group of artists together. We hope to provide a unique setting conducive to meaningful conversations and collaborations around issues relating to Jewish identity. The resulting body of work will be shared with the broader Chicago community though the final exhibition and accompanying events.”

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

On view will be new projects by the Fellows, along with objects from the Spertus collection selected as part of their work.

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Image at left

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

Related Events

These programs are free. Reservations appreciated.

Exhibition Opening
Wednesday, May 23, 2018 | 5:00-8:00 pm
Nelly Agassi will be doing a "give away performance," giving souvenir-like objects to create a sense of collective identity
Reserve your spot > 

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

Gallery Talk
Sunday, July 15, 2018 | 3:00-4:30 pm
Artists Leslie Baum, Iris Bernblum, Jesse Malmed, and Geof Oppenheimer talk about their work
Reserve your spot > 

Murmur of Democracy by Matthew Girson
Thursday, July 26, 2018 | 6:00-7:30 pm
Group performance reflecting on the successes and failures of Democracy
Reserve your spot > 


Sunday 10 am- 5 pm
Monday-Wednesday 9 am- 5 pm
Thursday 9 am- 6 pm
Friday 9 am - 3 pm

Spertus Institute is closed for Secular and Jewish Holidays


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.