Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership will present Inquiry 01, a multi-media exhibition featuring works by nine accomplished Chicago-area Jewish artists—Nelly Agassi, Leslie Baum,Iris Bernblum, Dianna Frid, Matthew Girson, Jesse Malmed, Geof Oppenheimer, Roni Packer, and Rana Siegel. As 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. New projects by the fellows, along with objects from the Spertus collection selected as part of their work, will be on view in Spertus Institute’s Ground Level Arts Lab, 610 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, May 23 – August 12, 2018. The exhibition and related programming are free and open to the public.

The artists—who work in a range of 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 own collections. 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. The fellowship program is co-directed by Spertus Institute’s Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, Ionit Behar and curator, writer and educator Ruslana Lichtzier.

​Of the program, Behar noted, “It is exciting to bring this talented group of artists together. We hope to have provides a setting conducive to meaningful conversations and collaborations around issues relating to Jewish identity. The resulting work will be shared with the broader Chicago community though the upcoming exhibition and accompanying events.”

“The program provided 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,” added Lichtzier.

Inquiry 01 and its programs are free. Program reservations are encouraged and can be made online at spertus.edu.

Nelly Agassi, Whispers 2004 (photo courtesy of the Herzilia Museum of Art).

Spertus Institute Exhibition Inquiry 01 to Unveil First Cohort of the Institute's Jewish Artist Fellows