Now On View

Winter 2018 Art Opening




An Art Exhibit on Mental Illness

curated by Tami Chalom

March 5th 2018, 6-8pm

UCLA Hillel Coffee Bean


Breaking_Taboo_Space.JPG Breaking_Taboo_Title.JPG

About the Curator

My name is Tami Chalom and I am a 2nd year student with a Communications Studies major and Gerontology minor. I decided to curate this art exhibit to bring attention to mental illness and to encourage open discussion about it. Mental illness is extremely prevalent in society, especially among college students. Nearly everyone I meet has or knows someone who has depression, anxiety, or an eating disorder. Over one out of every four adults are affected by mental illnesses, yet these diseases are under-recognized, under-treated, and seen as taboo. With any physical illness, afflicted individuals are given sympathy and care. However, individuals with mental health issues are often shamed and discouraged from getting evaluated, receiving treatment, and expressing their concerns. Many people still do not consider mental illness a real issue. But mental health is important and needs to be acknowledged and treated. Not only do mental illnesses affect the afflicted individuals, but they also affect those around them, including friends, family, and peers. Especially in the wake of the recent Florida High School shooting, we see how untreated mental illness can wreak havoc in society and affect us all. Unfortunately, very little money goes into mental health and many people can’t afford treatment; many insurances still do not cover it. This is extremely problematic and needs to change. Society must recognize the importance, severity, and widespread prevalence of mental illness in order to move forward and improve current conditions. Therefore, the goal of my exhibit is to bring mental illness to the forefront so we can discuss it openly, encourage people to get evaluated and treated, and improve support for individuals with mental illness.

Click here for full exhibit.





 Pentimento by Robert Weingarten

 Robert Weingarten describes Pentimento,  his recent body of work, as “a re-affirmation of the power of photographic  memory.” Beginning with historic photographs that document major events of the  last hundred years, Weingarten re-visits the original locations of these  pictures and then makes photographs of the site as it exists today. He notes  that, in these places, life goes on and there are often no reminders of the  profound or tragic events that occurred there in the not so distant past. An  Italian painting term, Pentimento is defined as “the presence or  emergence of earlier images, forms or strokes that have been changed and  painted over.” Weingarten’s work is a seamless layering of his photographs with  the vintage images, a digital process he calls a “translucent composite.”


Warsaw, (1943) , 2011


September 11, (2001), 2013


Manzanar (1942 - 1944), 2011



The Space Between Symbols

by Corrie Siegel


Opening date: Thursday, January 25th, 7:00 - 9:00 PM
Free and open to the public

An artist, curator and educator, Corrie Siegel is committed to using the arts as a method of personal philosophic exploration as well as a tool for community building.  Siegel’s works often explore identity and experience within a global system of communication. She plays with personal limitations of knowledge and understanding by using highly detailed observation, and involved processes for collecting and rendering her subject matter.  She has exhibited her work throughout the United States as well as internationally. Her projects have been profiled in the Los Angeles Times, Mousse Magazine, and Flash Art International.  Siegel is a founding member and co-director of Actual Size, an artist collective and gallery. Actual Size collaborates with established and emerging artists to activate the exhibition space and engage the public.


Artist's Statement: 

The cut paper works that comprise this series are created through overlaying text in a matrix to obscure the original message and reveal a pattern composed of symbols. Intricately detailed, the work is inspired by micrographic art by Hebrew scribes who sculpt, skew and stretch letters to create dynamic and textured compositions. The artist chose to dissect texts written in German including Hitler's "Mein Kampf". Through using the form of a traditional paper-cut, these loaded texts are abstracted and cut into fragile lace.

The paper-cut was once exceedingly common in Ashkenazic-Jewish homes, reaching its height of popularity in the 19th century into the early 20th. Paper-cuts served religious and other ritual needs, such as indicating the direction of prayer, remembering family deaths, holiday decoration, and warding off the evil eve. Artists adapted the cut paper technique that Jewish merchants had met through their travels to the Far East in the 14th century as well as the 17th century German paper-cuts, which were known as Scherenschnitt (scissor-cuts). In 1345, Rabbi Shem-Tov ben Yitzhak ben Ardutiel wrote The War of the Pen Against the Scissors. In this Hebrew text he recounted an occasion in which his inkwell froze on a cold winter’s evening. In order to continue his studies he resorted to cutting the letters out of the paper.

Created by Hebrew scribes in the late 9th century while transcribing the Masorah, which includes a system of marginal biblical notes that counted and listed textual details, this style of forming minute text into imagery enabled scribes to render images without blatantly violating Jewish law forbidding representation. This art form spread with the Jewish diaspora and evolved within the local cultural milieus. Micrography exemplifies the Jewish tradition of retaining identity while adapting to and affecting the local culture. Micrography also demonstrates the enduring Jewish pursuit of interpreting and navigating their evolving traditions.



corrie_1.png  corrie_2.jpg 



"Faith in a Seed" by Joshua Abarbanel

Displayed on the staircase 

On view from October 26 to December 17


 Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.
—Henry David Thoreau

Joshua Abarbanel: Faith in a Seed presents a large, hanging sculpture and a selection of related wall-mounted works inspired by plants, seeds, pods, and spores. These works in wood emanate from the artist’s longstanding fascination with forms and patterns found in nature and are part of his ongoing examination of creation and impermanence. The pieces on display are informed in part by a visit Abarbanel made to the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard—a fail-safe seed storage facility built to stand the test of time and the threats of natural or man-made disasters—during an expeditionary artists residency in which he participated in the Arctic Circle.

Joshua Abarbanel is a Los Angeles-based visual artist who works in a variety of media, predominantly sculpture. His work has been exhibited at the Jewish Museum Berlin (Germany), Fleming Museum of Art (Burlington, Vermont), Art Share L.A. (Los Angeles), Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (Los Angeles), Columbia University-Bernard Kraft Center (New York), and Jose Drudis-Biada Art Gallery, Mount St. Mary’s College (Los Angeles), among other venues, and was the focus of recent solo exhibitions at TAJ Art Gallery (Los Angeles) and Hinge Parallel Gallery (Culver City), as well as a two-person exhibition at Porch Gallery (Ojai).

Abarbanel’s work has been reviewed in Fabrik and ArtFCity, and his projects have been the subject of numerous feature stories in outlets including the Associated Press, CNN Greece, Design Milk, My Modern Met, KCRW’s Design and Architecture, Colossal, Contemporist, Hi-Fructose, and a European documentary on Arte Television.

Abarbanel received dual undergraduate degrees in art and psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and a Masters of Fine Art from the University of California at Los Angeles, where he focused on ceramics. Upon completing his MFA he delved into the world of digital art and graphics, disciplines he teaches as a professor at Los Angeles Harbor College. He was born in Manchester, England and lives and works in Santa Monica, California.

Pictured above: Joshua Abarbanel
Pod 01, 2015
Stained and unstained wood on fiberglass, metal chain
40” round; chain length variable

Bread & Salt: The Art of Jewish Food

Displayed in Gindi Gallery, second floor

On view from October 26 to December 17




The goal of Bread & Salt is to bring together numerous Jewish cultural sites throughout Southern California to explore contemporary, historic and ritual aspects about food through exhibitions, symposiums, shabbatons and creative place-making. From farm to table so too from Sinai to our synagogues what we eat and why we eat has impacted our people since the beginning of history. Jews and food encompass everything from secular to religious culinary rituals, holidays, kashrut, social justice, biblical sacrifice, cultural identity, and both ancient and modern agricultural practices. In creating a city wide event focused on all aspects of food, Bread & Salt's purpose is to engage the community in this conversation creating fertile ground to explore the current Jewish foodscape, from multiple access points. Whether inspired by color, taste, texture, history, relevance, spirituality, environmentalism, social justice, farming and locavore or artisan movements, the presenting artists, educators, and topic experts will keep participants salivating for more! 


Presented by: 

 American Jewish University (AJU)
Hebrew Union College JIR-LA (HUC)
USC Hillel
Hillel at UCLA
Academy for Jewish Religion (AJRCA)
UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies 
Jewish Women's Theater 
Nuart Pop-Up Exhibitions 
USC Israeli Arts and Humanities  




"Parsha Posters" by Hillel Smith

Extended by Popular Demand

Begun at Simchat Torah 2015, the Parsha Poster project is a series of posters "advertising" the parshat hashavua (weekly Torah portion). The posters utilize innovative Hebrew typography--each one integrates the Hebrew name of the parsha in Hebrew somehow into the illustration--and a bold, graphic aesthetic to tell Biblical stories in a new way. 

Hillel Smith is an artist and graphic designer focusing on engaging communities with their heritage in innovative ways. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Visual Studies. Finding a lack of inspiring new Jewish art, he attempts to re-imagine the potential of Judaica by utilizing contemporary media like spray paint and digital graphics to create new manifestations of traditional forms. He has painted dynamic Jewish murals in Southern California and Israel with his Hebrew street art venture Illuminated Streets, with more murals on the way. He revitalizes ancient rituals with online projects like his GIF Omer Counter and Parsha Poster series, encouraging creative reconsideration of religious practice. He leads workshops on Jewish art, including Jewish street art, at a growing number of institutions, centering on artistic empowerment, continuity, and manifesting identity through the arts. Seeing Hebrew as the visual glue binding Jews together across time and space, he also teaches Jewish typographic history, using print as a lens for Jewish life and culture. Making fun and engaging content is also the crux of his work as a designer of educational products, viral videos, and marketing materials for organizations large and small, as for clients like Patton Oswalt. See his work at

Supported by ASYLUM ARTS.


On view in the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (1st Floor)