HBI to celebrate feminism with conceptual clothing installation

Israeli artist Andi Arnovitz will honor Jewish women through painting, sewing and assemblage

Andi Arnovitz

“Tear/Repair (kriah/ichooi)”
Feb. 23 – April 26, 2010
Kniznick Gallery
Brandeis University

WALTHAM, Mass.– From Feb. 23 through April 26, 2010, the Kniznick Gallery at Brandeis University’s Women’s Studies Research Center will honor Jewish women with an exhibition by acclaimed Israeli artist Andi Arnovitz, titled “Tear/Repair (kriah/ichooi).”
As the second annual Hadassah-Brandeis Institute Artist-in-Residence, Arnovitz will utilize her time at Brandeis to conceptualize a new body of work. She will create a series of paper coats for Jewish women who have impacted history and changed the world. Based on research and interactions with the university community, Arnovitz will make sketches of coats that honor such women as Deborah the prophetess, Dona Gracia Nasi, Naomi Shemer, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She will use these sketches to create three-dimensional versions upon her return to Israel.
Much of Arnovitz’s existing mixed media work will hang alongside the sketches. These conceptual “garments,” fabricated from torn or intact papers, scrolls, and book pages, represent injustices for Jewish women. The works address challenges throughout history, from halachic and spiritual issues, to those of co-existence, and, above all, issues related to gender.
For example, “Coats of the Agunot” are about Jewish women who are “chained” to their marriage, because their husbands either refuse or are unable to grant them a get, or permission to divorce. For this work, Arnovitz has used pieces of torn ketubahs, which are Jewish written prenuptial agreements outlining the rights and responsibilities of a groom toward his bride. These paper bits literally and figuratively represent the destroyed and defiled marital agreement, transforming protective responsibilities into possessive destruction. With their necklines, waistlines, and sleeves sewn shut, the coats entrap their hypothetical wearers and leave no means to escape.
Even as Arnovitz’s work addresses serious issues affecting Jewish women, her art also suggests hope. The aesthetic beauty of each intricate, tactile garment can not be overlooked and is not without meaning. Just as she repairs what has been torn via her creative process, her completed works of art suggest the repair of what has been destroyed.
“These and many other pieces cover much of my experience of being Jewish, religious and Israeli,” Arnovitz says. “From searing questions about Jewish women’s rights… to issues regarding every Israeli woman, stemming from my experience of aliyah, the work highlights issues and provokes dialogue.”
Exhibited alongside one another, the existing works and new sketches present a multifaceted view of Judaism from a feminist perspective, acknowledging problems and celebrating successes.
Related Events
Artist Residency
Arnovitz, HBI’s second artist-in-residence, invites the public to visit the gallery to experience the installation process from Feb. 2–22.
Workshop: Journaling/Writing/Recording - creating a personal resource with Andi Arnovitz
Thursday, Feb. 11, 12:30 p.m.
A workshop that explores the art of journaling. No artistic ability required. Come learn about keeping a record of your thoughts, ideas and musings. Discover a visual language that is accessible, familiar and easily available. Registration is limited to 15 participants. Please RSVP to hbi@brandeis.edu by Feb. 3.
Opening Reception
Tuesday, Feb. 23, 5 p.m.
Kniznick Gallery

For more details about all events related to the exhibit visit the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute's Web site.

Kniznick Gallery hours and location
Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Weekends by appointment
781-736-8102, wsrc-arts@brandeis.edu
Women's Studies Research Center, Brandeis University
515 South Street, Waltham, Mass. (across from Brandeis/Roberts commuter rail stop)

The 2010 HBI Artist-in-Residence Program is made possible thanks to the generous support of Avoda Arts, Arnee and Walter Winshall, and the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University.
About the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute (HBI)
The Hadassah-Brandeis Institute (HBI) develops fresh ways of thinking about Jews and gender worldwide by producing and promoting scholarly research and artistic projects.
About the Women’s Studies Research Center
The Women’s Studies Research Center (WSRC) is a place where research, art and activism converge.  Bringing together scholars, students and artists, the WSRC is a community that thrives on the sharing of knowledge and ideas. The WSRC is home to the Kniznick Gallery, the only exhibition space in New England devoted to the display of women's art and/or art about gender.

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