I opened the doors of the Contemporary Jewish Museum at 736 Mission Street (between 3rd and 4th streets) and judging by the exterior, which once was a PG&E Substation now turned into an experimental archetictural landscape by Studio Liebeskind, expected to find something between cold and functional. To my happy surprise I was instead bathed in a welcoming and warm lobby. Boris at the front ushered me gamely on to the ticketing desk, where I purchased my ticket and went on to see the rest of this charming museum.
L’Chaim: Celebrating Our Building at 15 was my first stop. I learned about the history and symbolism inherent in the building’s thoughtful design by Daniel Liebskind in 2008.
RetroBlakesberg: The Music Never Stopped was next, which featured the work of Bay Area-based photographer Jay Blakesberg. Photographs of numerous iconic musicians cover the walls, along with ticket stubs, press releases and other tokens of history. It was fun to see portraits of varied artists, ranging from John Mayer to Snoop Dogg in addition to photos of bands and musical acts in their elements on stage. Music played in the gallery, which, taken with the exciting tenor of the show, made for a wonderful exhibition. It closes Jan. 28, 2024, so don’t miss this rousing display.
I was feeling jazzed when I climbed the stairs up to the second floor. There I met the superb absurdity of Mika Rottenberg: Spaghetti Blockchain, with videos, installations, and sculptures.
Also on display is Annie Albagli: We Become [Vessels], a vast video installation exploring themes of human connection in conjunction with Jewish traditions and local geography.
I exited through the lobby feeling satisfied, having just experienced a true feast for the senses.
The CJM is open Thursday through Sunday from 11:00 am ‘til 5:00 pm. Tickets can be purchased here.