we love trees! celebrate them at the Contemporary Jewish Museum now through 28 may…
MUS•e•YUM could not have been more pleased to attend the opening-night celebration of the new exhibition, Do Not Destroy: Trees, Art, and Jewish Thought at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM) of San Francisco. The CJM always puts on extraordinary exhibitions (remember Gertrude Stein and Maurice Sendak of 2011?) and Do Not Destroy, which runs now through 28 May, is no exception. A blend of art and environmentalism, religion and whimsy, the exhibition is a celebration of the role trees play in our world, in our spirituality and specifically, in our imagination as evidenced in art. Moreover, experiencing Do Not Destroy challenges us to realize our own responsibility, both individual and collective, to protect the environment. Witnessing the beauty and fragility of the world around us makes us human, and protecting what we see makes us divinely hopeful.
Only some of the memorable pieces of art include:
- A round circle of sand on the floor at the beginning of the exhibition, planted with hundreds of small metal plants. Walk the circle a full 360 degrees for the full impact of the piece, and be sure to view it from floor level, too. You’ll be glad you did.
- A short film about students in Laos. Watch to the end as art students sketch a river from the decks of small boats, and leap into the water to swim to shore when they see a tree of special significance.
- Watch a video rendition of the Tony Bennet song, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon (’round the Old Oak Tree)” – the pairing with the multimedia piece to the right is hysterical!
- Write a prayer on a small piece of paper and leave it inside a piece of wood, the collection of prayers already inside is profound and moving.
While photography is not permitted inside the exhibition, here are some memories from the opening night party that kicks it it off.
I invite you to go to the exhibition at the Museum, or explore it online, for more information and a first-hand view of the amazing art you’ll find there.