Sun April 11 - Sun December 5, 2021

GOLEM: A Call to Action

GOLEM: A Call to Action is a digital exhibition in three parts by Los Angeles-based artist Julie Weitz, comprising three video artworks--Golem v. Golem, My Golem as a Wildland Firefighter, and Prayer for Burnt Forests--that draw on Jewish allegory, folklore, and spiritual practice to confront societal and ecological disasters. The legend of the golem originates as far back as the Middle Ages, when Jewish mystics imagined the creation of a clay humanoid as a meditative technique for becoming closer to God. By the nineteenth century, popular Yiddish folktales characterized the golem as a helper, companion, or rescuer of an imperiled Jewish community. Central to the legend is the tension among the human desires to create, seek power, and pursue justice.

Debuting in alignment with three holidays in Spring 2021, all three pieces included in GOLEM: A Call to Action evolved from Weitz's ongoing My Golem project, which began as a performance series in response to Donald Trump's presidency and the resurfacing of white supremacy and anti-Semitism in America. The project centers on Julie Weitz's portrayal and embodiment of a futuristic, folkloric humanoid--analogously named "My Golem." Like the other installments of the project, the artworks included in GOLEM: A Call to Action satirically cross boundaries to address difficult subjects in an engrossing, stylized manner. Throughout the My Golem project, Weitz revitalizes golem mythology to frame a moral imperative for action around social justice, climate change, and progressive wildfire management. Dark, uncanny, and mysterious, the works in this exhibition frame a view of nature that emphasizes cultural issues and ecological catastrophe, while acknowledging human beings' implicit responsibility for atonement and repair.



Image Credit: My Golem as a Wildland Firefighter (PSA), film still 2, 2020
GOLEM: A Call to Action is a digital exhibition in three parts by Los Angeles-based artist Julie Weitz, comprising three video artworks--Golem v. Golem, My Golem as a Wildland Firefighter, and Prayer for Burnt Forests--that draw on Jewish allegory, folklore, and spiritual practice to confront societal and ecological disasters. The legend of the golem originates as far back as the Middle Ages, when Jewish mystics imagined the creation of a clay humanoid as a meditative technique for becoming closer to God. By the nineteenth century, popular Yiddish folktales characterized the golem as a helper, companion, or rescuer of an imperiled Jewish community. Central to the legend is the tension among the human desires to create, seek power, and pursue justice.

Debuting in alignment with three holidays in Spring 2021, all three pieces included in GOLEM: A Call to Action evolved from Weitz's ongoing My Golem project, which began as a performance series in response to Donald Trump's presidency and the resurfacing of white supremacy and anti-Semitism in America. The project centers on Julie Weitz's portrayal and embodiment of a futuristic, folkloric humanoid--analogously named "My Golem." Like the other installments of the project, the artworks included in GOLEM: A Call to Action satirically cross boundaries to address difficult subjects in an engrossing, stylized manner. Throughout the My Golem project, Weitz revitalizes golem mythology to frame a moral imperative for action around social justice, climate change, and progressive wildfire management. Dark, uncanny, and mysterious, the works in this exhibition frame a view of nature that emphasizes cultural issues and ecological catastrophe, while acknowledging human beings' implicit responsibility for atonement and repair.



Image Credit: My Golem as a Wildland Firefighter (PSA), film still 2, 2020
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Date/Times:
  • Sun Apr 11 (11am-5pm)
  • Mon Apr 12 (11am-5pm)
  • Tue Apr 13 (11am-5pm)
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Contemporary Jewish Museum 448 Upcoming Events
736 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103

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