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Exhibit of Jewish ritual objects opens Sept. 23 at de Saisset Museum

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Sept.8, 2000 - Santa Clara University's de Saisset Museum opens its fall exhibition with an exhibit of Jewish ritual objects created by New York-based artist Tobi Kahn, Sept. 23 through Dec. 1.

Entitled "AVODA: Objects of the Spirit-Ceremonial Objects by Tobi Kahn," the exhibit features 58 ceremonial objects fashioned by Kahn in his signature style which combines timeless images of nature with spare and contemporary treatment. The objects point to a sacred and mysterious realm to evoke contemplation and holy intent in the user.

Among the objects featured are a chuppah (wedding canopy), an aron kodesh (holy ark), a circumcision chair, a besamim (spice) box, a yahrzeit (memorial) light, an etrog (citron) holder, a seder plate, and a kiddush goblet.

The artist, himself a committed Jew, has said of the works in this exhibit: "Although Judaism has emphasized words, language, and commentary, I have found the visual elements of the tradition equally illuminating. For me, the life of the spirit is integrally bound up with the beauty of the world, with the rituals and symbols that are a Jewish medium to transcendence. Like language, what we see can also be a benediction."

Kahn's paintings and sculpture have been shown in more than 25 solo exhibitions and in more than 70 museums and galleries, receiving national critical acclaim linking his work to that of the Luminists, the American Romantics, and to the Stieglitz group.

"Avoda: Objects of the Spirit" is a traveling exhibition curated by Laura Kruger and circulated by Carol Spinner. It was made possible by sponsorship of the Exhibition Advisory Committee of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York. The exhibition's showing at the de Saisset Museum is supported by the Santa Clara University 150th Anniversary fund and is part of SCU's celebration of its founding by Italian Jesuits in 1851.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the de Saisset Museum is presenting a free brown-bag talk, entitled "Jewish Identity in Modern American Art," on Friday, Nov. 10, noon - 1 p.m. Andrea Pappas, Ph.D., will discuss the varied responses of Jewish artists to the World Wars and the contemporary world. Pappas, an assistant professor in SCU's art and art history department, will use slides to show the ways that Jewish artists have expressed their religious and ethnic identity in American art in the past century.

The "AVODA" exhibit opens to the public at the de Saisset Museum on Sept. 23. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will be closed Nov. 23 - 27. Admission is free. For more information, the public can call the de Saisset Museum at 408-554-4528.

The 17,000 square foot museum opened next to the Mission Santa Clara de Asis on the Santa Clara University campus in 1955. The member-supported, privately funded institution operated by Santa Clara University, is accredited by the American Association of Museums.


For more information, contact Ann Koster, public relations officer and collections manager at the de Saisset Museum, at 408-554-6877. For information about Santa Clara University and for SCU's 150th celebration, see

There is a preview of the Tobi Kahn exhibit for the media and invited guests only on Friday evening, Sept. 22. To attend call the de Saisset Museum at 408-554-4528.

One of 58 Objects of the Spirit" by Toby Kahn, on exhibit at the de Saisset Museum Sept. 23 through Dec. 1." style="float:none; margin:0; width:140px; border:none;" />

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