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The Jewish Museum, New York

A group exhibition featuring over 200 works by 55 international contemporary artists whose practices mix forms and genres without concern for artistic conventions. It highlight the importance of iconoclasm and art's key role in breaking rules and traditions. Numerous oevres explore the relationship between the human figure and the modern creative process.

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“Unorthodox does not comment on Jewish religious orthodoxy or critique it, but takes its inspiration from the Jewish tradition of dialogue and debate to investigate the impact of unorthodox concepts on orthodox systems. Unorthodox aims to break with a cultural and artistic uniformity that has developed over the last century among artists and museums, proposing a nonconformist engagement with art as a means to disrupt the status quo.”
Jens Hoffmann
Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Public Programs

This November, the Jewish Museum will present Unorthodox, a large-scale group exhibition featuring over 55 contemporary artists from around the world whose practices mix forms and genres without concern for artistic conventions. Though the artists in Unorthodox come from a wide variety of backgrounds and generations, they are united in their spirit of independence and individuality. Through over 200 works, the exhibition will highlight the importance of iconoclasm and art’s key role in breaking rules and traditions. Numerous works that examine social and political values, religion and humanism, trauma, and identity explore the relationship between the human figure and the modern creative process.

Unorthodox is organized by Jens Hoffmann, Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Public Programs, Daniel S. Palmer, Leon Levy Assistant Curator, and Kelly Taxter, Assistant Curator.

A complementary 200-page publication examines unorthodoxy across such subjects as art, politics, history, religion, and philosophy. Exhibition-related content includes an essay by co-curator Jens Hoffmann, a Q&A with co-curators Daniel S. Palmer and Kelly Taxter, and illustrated biographies of participating artists. The “Unorthodox Museums” section features sixteen short, manifesto-style texts in which some of the most forward-thinking international museum directors and curators discuss the state of museums today and propose concepts for an unorthodox museum. Contributors include Iwona Blazwick, director of Whitechapel Gallery, London; RoseLee Goldberg, founding director and curator of Performa, New York; Hou Hanru, director of the MAXXI National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, Rome; and Defne Ayas, director of Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam. Finally, the “Unorthodox Considerations” section brings together a selection of texts on Jewish culture and history edited by Chelsea Haines. These texts include classic works by Sigmund Freud and Leo Steinberg reprinted with newly commissioned responses by Mark Edmundson and Joshua Decter, respectively; a recent essay on unorthodoxy in Judaism by Alan T. Levenson with a response by Jack Wertheimer; and a previously unpublished essay by the philosopher Georges Didi-Huberman reconsidering the unorthodox methodology of the art historian Aby Warburg—whose family built the mansion that now houses the Jewish Museum. The book will be available for $25.00 at the Jewish Museum’s Cooper Shop in November and worldwide in February, distributed for the Jewish Museum by Yale University Press.

Public programs

On Curating
Sunday, November 8, 8:30pm
Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director of Exhibitions, Serpentine Galleries, and Jens Hoffmann, Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Public Programs, discuss their radical curatorial strategies in a conversation at 92Y.

On Exhibitions
Tuesday, November 10, 10am
Kelly Taxter, Assistant Curator, and Daniel S. Palmer, Leon Levy Assistant Curator, discuss Unorthodox at 92Y, followed by an exhibition walkthrough at the Jewish Museum with Jens Hoffmann.

On Art History
Thursday, November 12, 6:30pm
Claire Bishop, Professor, CUNY Graduate Center, and Joshua Decter, author of Art Is a Problem: Selected Criticism, Essays, Interviews and Curatorial Projects (1986–2012) and instructor, Cooper Union and School of Visual Arts, examine the role of art in post-avant-garde times.

On Art I
Tuesday, November 17, 6:30pm
Authors Dorota Jarecka and Barbara Piwowarska and artist R.H. Quaytman discuss a new publication on the work of Erna Rosenstein.
Free with RSVP

On Art II
Thursday, November 19, 6pm
Unorthodox artists reflect on their practices with co-curators Kelly Taxter and Daniel S. Palmer. Presented as part of Performa 15.
Free with pay-what-you-wish admission, RSVP recommended

On Religion
Thursday, February 18, 6:30pm
Alan Levenson, Director, Schusterman Center for Judaic & Israel Studies, University of Oklahoma, and author of The Making of the Modern Jewish Bible speaks with Susan Katz Miller, journalist and author of Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family.

On Museums
Sunday, February 28, 2–6:30pm
International and local curators investigate the unconventional and nonconformist approaches to programming at their institutions in a half-day symposium. Presented in collaboration with the Program in Museum Studies, New York University.

On Philosopy
Tuesday, March 22, 7pm, 92Y
Mark Edmundson, University Professor, Department of English, University of Virginia, and Michael Roth, President of Wesleyan University, address the legacy of Sigmund Freud.

Unorthodox is made possible by the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations, the Boris Lurie Art Foundation, the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, and a Gift of Agnes Gund.
Endowment support is provided by the Melva Bucksbaum Fund for Contemporary Art. Additional support is provided by the Leon Levy Foundation and Ealan and Melinda Wingate.
Additional support is provided through public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Participating Artists:
Margit Anna, Austė, Clayton Bailey, Brian Belott, Meriem Bennani, Adolfo Bernal, Dineo Seshee Bopape, Michael Buthe, Tony Cox, Olga de Amaral, Brian DeGraw, Marie-Louise Ekman, Brenda Fajardo, Christina Forrer, Valeska Gert, Stephen Goodfellow, Zach Harris, Margaret Harrison, Tommy Hartung, Nadira Husain, Jamian Juliano-Villani, Cyrus Kabiru, E’wao Kagoshima, Gülsün Karamustafa, Keiichi Tanaami, Július Koller, Jirí Kovanda, Amadeo Luciano Lorenzato, Boris Lurie, Alice Mackler, Abu Bakarr Mansaray, f.marquespenteado, Park McArthur, Birgit Megerle, Jeffry Mitchell, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Masatoshi Naito, Hylton Nel, Zoë Paul, Nick Payne, Christina Ramberg, Bunny Rogers, David Rosenak, Erna Rosenstein, Xanti Schawinsky, Max Schumann, Leang Seckon, Diane Simpson, Philip Smith, Hajime Sorayama, Jeni Spota, Miroslav Tichý, Amikam Toren, Endre Tót, William T. Vollmann.

Image: Keiichi Tanaami, courtesy of the artist and NANZUKA, Tokyo, Japan

Press contacts
Anne Scher, Molly Kurzius, or Alex Wittenberg 212.423.3271 or

The Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Ave New York, NY 10128
Sat - Tue 11am to 5:30pm
Thu 11am to 8pm
Fri 11am to 4pm

dal 4/11/2015 al 26/3/2016

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