October 2018 -- Tishrei-Cheshvan 5779,  Volume 24, Issue 10

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Installation by Artist Math Bass on View

The Jewish Museum presents Math Bass: Crowd Rehearsal, on view in the Museum’s Skirball Lobby  through March 18, 2018.


Los Angeles-based artist Math Bass (b. 1981) works across video and performance as well as painting and sculpture, which she executes in a distinctly graphic style. In her installation Crowd Rehearsal, a svelte, ladderlike sculpture draped with a coatlike painting is set against two canvases with nearly identical imagery. The title and forms suggest but do not show human bodies and actions.


Bass grew up in a Jewish home, regularly attending synagogue, where ceremonies, rituals, and text influenced her predilection for the shrouding, pictographs, and repetition that infuse Crowd Rehearsal. Cloaked forms and empty spaces punctuate these works, imbuing them with a sense of contingency or incompleteness. This resistance to fixity is in tension with her hard-edged, graphic style.


The paintings included in the installation are part of a series titled Newz!, which the artist began in 2012. Each painting shares a title whose letters-N, E, W, and Z-can be rotated to form Z, W, M, and N. These small shifts turn a comprehensible word into a collection of random letters and highlight the instability and mutability of meaning.

The exhibition is organized by Kelly Taxter, Associate Curator, The Jewish Museum.


Located on New York City’s famed Museum Mile, 1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street, New York City, the Jewish Museum is a distinctive hub for art and Jewish culture for people of all backgrounds. Founded in 1904, the Museum was the first institution of its kind in the United States and is one of the oldest Jewish museums in the world. Devoted to exploring art and Jewish culture from ancient to contemporary, the Museum offers diverse exhibitions and programs, and maintains a unique collection of nearly 30,000 works of art, ceremonial objects, and media reflecting the global Jewish experience over more than 4,000 years.


The public may call 212.423.3200 or visit TheJewishMuseum.org