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Composed: Identity, Politics, Sex - New installation of works by seven contemporary artists
Adi Nes, Untitled, 1996, chromogenic color print. The Jewish Museum, New York: Purchase: Omega Philanthropic Fund, 1999-18. © Adi Nes.

NEW YORK, N.Y.- Composed: Identity, Politics, Sex, a selection of photo-based works by seven contemporary artists, on view at The Jewish Museum in the final gallery of its permanent exhibition, Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey, from December 23, 2011 through June 30, 2012.

Using conventional forms of photography – including traditional portraiture, photojournalism, and online profile pictures – the artists explore overlapping national, ethnic, and sexual identities. The selected artworks engage and play with conventions of art history and forms of popular culture to focus attention on contradictions of identity and desire. Artists represented include: Marc Adelman, Gloria Bornstein, AA Bronson, Debbie Grossman, Adi Nes, Collier Schorr, and Rona Yefman.

In Untitled, from Soldiers (1996), Adi Nes implicitly critiques his culture’s festishization of war with an image of an Israeli solider eroticized by dramatic spotlighting. Marc Adelman’s installation Stelen (Columns) (2007-2011), uses a selection of 50 profile pictures from a gay Berlin internet-dating site—all photographed at the city’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. These pictures juxtapose casually posed, flirtatious figures with the severe abstract forms of the memorial. Adelman explores the provocative transformation of a site of reverence into a social space where public remembrance collides with private desires. Seven photographs document Gloria Bornstein’s feminist performance piece, Public Document (1977). The artist is shown draped in several layers of men and women’s Orthodox Jewish garb, which are then ritualistically removed. The ambiguous images suggest the impossibility of full disclosure. In Martha Bouke and Andy’s Flowers, Visit at the Museum (2011) by Rona Yefman, an eighty-year-old great-grandfather and Holocaust survivor assumes the persona of a young woman through props including a wig, and an expressionless mask. Her bold pose in front of an iconic Pop painting refers to Andy Warhol’s own gender-bending portraits.

Composed: Identity, Politics, Sex has been organized by Rachel Furnari, Curatorial Assistant at The Jewish Museum, in consultation with Norman L. Kleeblatt, Susan and Elihu Rose Chief Curator.

Comprised of nearly 800 works, Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey examines the evolution of modern Jewish identity as it has evolved from ancient times to the present with fine art, photography, Jewish ritual art, and broadcast media. The final, contemporary gallery features regular, changing installations of art from the Museum’s collection.

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December 30, 2011

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Composed: Identity, Politics, Sex - New installation of works by seven contemporary artists

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