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Haptic Encounters Tour & Wine Reception

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Contemporary Jewish Museum

736 Mission St

San Francisco, CA 94103

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Dear Friends and Community,

On Thursday, December 14th from 5-7pm, The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) will be hosting a Haptic Encounters Guided Tour & Reception to highlight a recent collaboration with writer and professor Georgina Kleege in conjunction with the Jewish Folktales Retold: Artist As Maggid exhibition. Jewish Folktales Retold presents works from 16 different contemporary artists responding to Jewish folktales and acting as maggids- modern-day storytellers and transmitters of memory, who bring these stories, themes, and characters back to life through their artwork. Similarly, Georgina acts as a tactile maggid who reveals a new vocabulary for telling the kinesthetic story of the artwork, and what these works invites her body and hands to experience.

Haptic Encounters investigate how tactile and kinesthetic explorations of works of art can engage all visitors with the possibilities for appreciating art through a non-visual sense. Through her explorations, Georgina invite us to not only reimagine “qualities such as texture, temperature, weight, resiliency, and density that may not be apparent to the eyes alone,” but to demystify some of our assumptions around blindness and visual art.

Museums tend to operate in visual-centric ways that disproportionately benefit sighted people, so this project aims to disrupt that paradigm, and introduce new ways for including the voices, expertise and lived experiences of artists and scholars who are blind as a way to generate new modalities for describing, relating, and making meaning from art.

Georgina Kleege teaches in the English and Disability Studies departments at UC Berkeley, and is a leading scholar on the intersections between blindness and visual art. She has been consulting with The CJM to expand the ways we can make the museum more accessible to blind and low vision visitors and artists, and to imagine new possibilities for expanding our cultural knowledge around blindness and art. Her new book More Than Meets The Eye: What Blindness Brings To Visual Art (forthcoming in 2017), expands on these ideas and challenges traditional modes of audio description (which are traditionally curated and facilitated by sighted professionals) by introducing a new model that positions blind artists and scholars as an untapped expertise that museums can learn and gain cultural knowledge from.

Six audio recordings of these Haptic Encounters can be accessed in the gallery at select listening stations. Please explore the Haptic Encounter Tours on our digital catalogue, as well as Georgina’s essay Haptic Explorations: What, How, and Why, to learn more about her process and motivations.

The tour will be 1-hour long, and co-led by Georgina Kleege and Cecile Puretz. Participants will have an opportunity to touch some tactile materials and models provided by the artists.

ACCESSIBILITY: A tactile gallery map, in addition to large print and braille transcripts are available in dispensers at the entrance of the gallery. To request an ASL interpreter for this tour, please email access@thecjm.org at least two weeks in advance.

Hope you can join us!
Cecile

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Image description: Georgina Kleege’s right hand explores the textured glass and mirrors inside of a tree-like sculpture in Andy Diaz Hope & Laurel Roth Hope’s work of art The Woulds. Magenta, yellow, and green light projections radiate out from the tree opening, casting a soft light on Kleege’s hand. A small ceramic white bird sits atop the tree trunk.

Andy Diaz Hope & Lauren Roth Hope, The Woulds, 2017. Wood, ceramics, glass, mirror, video, motors, and paint. Photo by Gary Sexton Photography.


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Contemporary Jewish Museum

736 Mission St

San Francisco, CA 94103

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