In the Beginning: Artists Respond to Genesis

Contemporary Jewish Museum

June 5, 2008 – January 6, 2009

In the Beginning: Artists Respond to Genesis
Installation view
Contemporary Jewish Museum (2008)

In the Beginning: Artists Respond to Genesis
Installation view
Contemporary Jewish Museum (2008)

Press Release

In the Beginning: Artists Respond
Contemporary Jewish Museum
San Francisco, California

In the Beginning: Artists Respond to Genesis explores the continuing relevance of the story of creation in Genesis Chapter I. For this exhibition, The Museum commissioned new installations by seven significant contemporary artists: Alan Berliner, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Ben Rubin, Matthew Ritchie, Kay Rosen, Shirley Shor, and Mierle Laderman Ukeles. These works, ranging from multimedia and sound installations to computer animations, projections, and wall drawings, are presented in a unique dialogue with a compelling array of historical works, some rarely seen in public, and never before seen together. 

Featured works include: illuminated manuscripts from the Medieval and Renaissance periods; 18th and 19th-century drawings by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and William Blake; and modern and contemporary works by Auguste Rodin, Marc Chagall, Barnett Newman, Jacob Lawrence, Ann Hamilton, and Tom Marioni. The exhibition is uniquely designed to create a lively dialogue between the new installations by the contemporary artists and the historical representations of the story of creation. Illustrating the connections between science and faith, particularly in relation to the idea of creation, In the Beginning will also feature a video of the reading of Genesis Chapter I by the crew of the Apollo 8 spacecraft on December 24, 1968 as a fuzzy earth looms on the screen. At the time, this broadcast was the most watched program on television.