Gallery Hours:

M-F 9-5 and by appointment

Curator: Michele L'Heureux


Golem & Dybbuk

New Works by Jessica Riva Cooper

April 14-May 20, 2011

View images of this exhibition. View the poster and postcard for this exhibition.  See a video of the artist at work.

GolemAs the third annual Hadassah-Brandeis Instistute Artist-in-Residence, Jessica Riva Cooper created an original, site-specific drawing and sculpture installation that reinterpreted the folkloric stories of the Golem and the Dybbuk through a feminist lens.

Cooper utilized her month at Brandeis to plan and install her multi-media installation in the gallery space. Visitors were invited to witness the installation in progress and interact with the artist as she worked.

Cooper mines her experience as a Canadian Jew of eastern European descent to take viewers on a visual journey inspired by Yiddish folklore that deals with the mystical and the supernatural. Specifically, she examines the Golem, a creature created to do a person's bidding without question, and the Dybbuk, a mischievious spirit, through a female perspective.

CooperCooper is a native of Toronto, Canada where she recieved her B.F.A. in Ceramics at the prestigious Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. After completing a post-baccalaureate program at the Sheridan College School of Craft and Design in Ontario, she received her M.F.A. in Ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design, where she has taught wheel-thrown pottery and c\eramic sculpture classes. She has exhibited her work and has served as a visiting artist in both the U.S. and Canada.

DybbukThe exhibition was the culmination of Ms. Cooper's month-long stay as the third annual Hadassah-Brandeis Institute Artist-in-Residence and was made possible thanks to the generous support of Avoda Arts and Arnie and Walt Winshall.


Visit the gallery on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday between April 4 and 14 to see the installation in progress and interact with the artist.

Artist's Slide Talk

Thursday, April 7, 12:30 p.m.

Cooper studies stories of the golem and the dybbuk spirits, exploring magical realism in Yiddish folklore from a female perspective within the format of drawing and ceramic sculpture. She also investigates fallen economic and environmental climates in regions such as Detroit, Michigan, where there are over ten thousand abadoned houses.

Cooper's slide talk will explore these recurring themes in her work and address her art-making process.

Clay Workshop for Beginners

Monday, April 11, 2-4 p.m.

Space is limited. Please RSVP by April 5 to

Learn to create spontaneously with clay utilizing the surrealist technique of The Exquisite Corpse, an old parlor game played by several people who build on a story collectively. In this way, participants will create clay sculptures spontaneously as a group. No experience with sculpture or clay is required. Bring an open mind and a playful spirit (and perhaps a smock).

Opening Reception

Thursday, April 14, 5-7 p.m.

Closing Reception

Thursday, May 19, 7-8:30 p.m.

Join us for a special closing reception that includes InterPlay (group improvisation), Yiddish folk songs, fiddle music, and more.

All programs are free and open to the public.