Now On View



  "Days of Awe" by Zhenya Gershman

Displayed on the third floor
On view from October 26 to December 17


ZHENYA GERSHMAN is an internationally renowned artist. She was born in Moscow, Russia and held her 1st solo exhibition in St. Petersburg at age 14. She was selected as a subject of the TV Documentary Film “Our Generation”, a project dedicated to searching for the five most talented teenagers in Russia, showing hope for the cultural future of the country. The youngest student to be admitted to Otis Art Institute, Zhenya graduated with Honors and later received her Masters of Fine Arts degree from Art Center College of Design. Today, Gershman's portraits are featured in public and private collections including Douglas Simon and Richard Weisman (she is included in the book "Picasso to Pop: The Richard Weisman Collection"). Gershman's portrait of Sting was acquired for the permanent collection of the Arte Al Limite Museum, due to open in 2017 in Santiago, Chile. Zhenya participates in important international exhibitions including Art Aspen, Art Miami, and Art Chicago. The GRAMMY MusiCares Foundation selected Gershman to create portraits of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. Her recent exhibition Larger Than Life was broadcast by Entertainment Tonight, Extra Television, and The New York Post. A documentary film, The Model's Artist, highlights Gershman's innovative approach to working with artists' models. In 2000, Gershman was a recipient of ALEX Award in Visual Arts from The National Alliance for Excellence, Honored Scholars and Artists Program, presented by Peter Frank, who is quoted as saying that Gershman’s effort evokes not only Whistler’s and Sargent’s, but that from which they took inspiration, Manet’s and Velazquez’s–masters of the figure who in their own ways avoided the banal literalities of their contemporaries for a rendition truer to the vagaries of vision, and (thereby) to the dynamics of human presence.

In addition to her artistic career, Gershman is an independent scholar and a museum educator. She has worked for over a decade in the internationally acclaimed J. Paul Getty Museum, and has contributed to such exhibitions as Rembrandt's Late Religious Portraits and Rembrandt: Telling the Difference. As a co-Founder of Project AWE, a non-profit foundation for the arts and education, Gershman has dedicated her scholarly and charitable work to provide new dimensions in understanding and experiencing the cultural icons of Western European heritage.  Gershman’s groundbreaking discovery regarding the presence of a hidden Rembrandt self portrait was published by Arion, Boston University and was brought to European audiences by Le Monde, one of the most important international magazines. She continues to work in her studio, and is currently writing a book and developing a TV series entitled “Secrets of the Masters”. 

Click here to read an interview with Zhenya Gershman by Oren Peleg

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"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


 Ethiopian Jews still living in Ethiopia by Sophia Spitulnik

Displayed in Pritzker Dining Room, second floor

On view from October 26 to December 17



The first part of this exhibit includes 16 photos of different aspects of the Ethiopian Jewish Community that were taken by students during a trip to Ethiopia. The second part includes 6 photographs of some of the community members living in Gondar.



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)