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Skirball Cultural Center

Past Exhibitions

  • Exhibition

    RECLAIMED: A Family Painting

    October 19, 2023–February 25, 2024

    Immerse yourself in the journey of one family from Czechoslovakia who spent over eighty years trying to recover what the Nazis had stolen from their Jewish family. 

    In a gallery with a dining room with a large table and chairs in the center. On the far wall, a large painting is seen hanging.
  • Exhibition

    Blacklist: The Hollywood Red Scare

    May 4–September 3, 2023

    Explore the history and impact of the Hollywood Red Scare and its implications for civil liberties, propaganda, and shifting definitions of American patriotism.

    An illustration of a  black background with a red spotlight. In the red spotlight is a director's chair with a hammer and sickle symbol on the chair back. A megaphone sits next to the chair.
  • Exhibition

    Peter Krasnow: Breathing Joy and Light

    May 4–September 3, 2023

    Get lost in the organic forms and vibrant colors of paintings by Peter Krasnow, whose works from our collection are inspired by his Jewish heritage and the shining optimism of Southern California.

    Image of a colorful painting by Krasnow. Yellows, blues, reds, and greens appear in various shapes including Hebrew lettering in a symmetrical pattern.
  • Exhibition

    Chloë Bass: Wayfinding

    November 17, 2022–September 17, 2023

    Explore our lush outdoor campus and engage with artwork that poses questions about human relationships.

    A large reflective billboard on a hillside that says, "How much hope is forgetting?". An outdoor artwork by Chloe Bass.
  • Exhibition

    Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories

    November 17, 2022–March 12, 2023

    Discover the extraordinary stories behind three hundred years of American quilts. Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories features works by more than forty artists, including Harriet Powers, Bisa Butler, and Sanford Biggers. Come celebrate the artistry and vision of a diverse and largely under-recognized group of creators in an exhibition that brings to light stories that enrich, deepen, and complicate our understanding of the American experience.

    Installation photo of Fabric of Nation exhibition with visitors in gallery
  • Exhibition

    Talking Back to Power: Projects by Aram Han Sifuentes

    April 14–September 4, 2022

    Exploring ideas of identity, power, and belonging in the United States, Talking Back to Power: Projects by Aram Han Sifuentes presents garments, banners, samplers, quilts, and sculptures that highlight American immigrant experiences.

    Photo inside the Talking back to power exhibition
  • Exhibition

    “I’ll Have What She’s Having”: The Jewish Deli

    April 14–September 18, 2022

    More than a place to get a meal, the Jewish deli is a community forged in food. The exhibition “I’ll Have What She’s Having”: The Jewish Deli explores how Jewish immigrants, mostly from Central and Eastern Europe, imported and adapted traditions to create a uniquely American restaurant.

    an exhibit of a deli setting with a checkerboard floor and 2 mannequins with deli uniforms on. A large photo behind of a deli counter.
  • Exhibition

    Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds

    October 7, 2021–February 20, 2022

    More than fifty years ago, a television show called Star Trek broke ground with its daring vision—an inclusive cast of humans and interplanetary beings cooperating to overcome challenges as they explore the cosmos. With themes of heroism, optimism, equality, and humanity, the franchise has continued to pose questions about real life on Earth as much as in its fictional future worlds.

    Leonard Nimoy as Spock and William Shatner as Captain Kirk holding a ray gun
  • Exhibition

    Ai Weiwei: Trace

    May 15–August 1, 2021

    A moving depiction of courage in the face of authoritarianism, Ai Weiwei: Trace illuminates the power of resistance.

    images from Ai Wei Wei: Trace arranged on the floor with graphic wallpaper on wall in background
  • Exhibition

    Sustain: From Loss to Renewal

    Outdoor Installation

    May 1, 2021–March 20, 2022

    Responding to the COVID-19 crisis, Sustain: From Loss to Renewal explored meaningful expressions of grief and resilience. This three-part installation looked to Jewish traditions of mourning and the Los Angeles art community to guide us through our collective grief and move forward.

    wooden bench beneath a tree with installation information displays next to it
  • Exhibition

    Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope

    January 21–May 31, 2021

    Facing a changing labor market and diminishing opportunities, individuals and families across the United States are struggling to survive in the world’s wealthiest country.

    close-up of a young man in a baseball cap staring off into distance
  • Exhibition

    The Official Unofficial Voting Station: Voting for All Who Legally Can’t

    October 1–November 30, 2020

    In this idealized online polling place, created by artist-activist Aram Han Sifuentes, experience the act of voting as it could be: broad, inclusive, and cause for celebration. Make your voice heard online and enjoy playfully designed Voting Stickers for ALL and more, sent by mail to Skirball participants.

    The Official Unofficial Voting Station
  • Exhibition

    El Sueño Americano | The American Dream: Photographs by Tom Kieferv

    October 17, 2019–March 8, 2020

    How we treat the most vulnerable—including migrants seeking a better life—defines our character as a nation. Drawn from the photographic series of the same name, El Sueño Americano | The American Dream: Photographs by Tom Kiefer asks us to consider how we treat migrants as a reflection of who we are and who we want to be as Americans. Responding to the dehumanizing treatment migrants face in detention, Kiefer carefully arranged and photographed objects seized and discarded by border officials—objects deemed “potentially lethal” or “non-essential” among a variety of belongings crucial for sustenance, hygiene, protection, comfort, and emotional strength.

    row of plastic toothbrushes, in red, white and blue colors
  • Exhibition

    Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite

    April 11–September 1, 2019

    On view were the iconic images that amplified one of the most influential cultural movements of the 1960s: “Black Is Beautiful.” Featuring over forty photographs of Black women and men with natural hair and clothes that reclaimed their African roots, Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite, organized by Aperture Foundation, New York, was the first-ever major exhibition dedicated to this key figure of the second Harlem Renaissance.

    2 black and white photos, one of a woman and one of a group fo women standing next to a building
  • Exhibition

    Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs

    October 17, 2019–March 8, 2020

    For those who know him as a filmmaker, Stanley Kubrick’s early career as a photojournalist is a revelation. In 1945, the future director of such classic works as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and A Clockwork Orange (1971) was just a teenager—but one with an uncanny photographic sensibility, who was already scouting human-interest stories for Look magazine. Explore this formative phase in the career of one of the twentieth century’s most influential figures in cinematic history.

    two visitors in gallery looking at photographs on the wall
  • Exhibition

    Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich

    May 9–September 1, 2019

    Los Angeles fashion designer Rudi Gernreich (1922–1985) introduced the “monokini,” the thong, unisex caftans, pantsuits for women, and enough inventive clothing to earn him a worldwide reputation. Yet Gernreich was far more than one of the most prominent designers of his time—his clothing was fearless. Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich explored the visionary and progressive ensembles that transcended rigid social expectations and championed authenticity above all.

    woman with large painted eyebrows and eyelashes holding a piece of paper above her head
  • Exhibition

    Sara Berman’s Closet

    December 4, 2018–March 10, 2019

    Sara Berman’s Closet was a one-of-a-kind exhibition by artists Maira Kalman (b. 1949) and Alex Kalman (b. 1985) inspired by the life of Maira’s mother and Alex’s grandmother, Sara Berman (1920–2004). 

    towels, perfume bottles and other items neatly arranged on shelves in a closet with a red ornament hanging on a string in front of them
  • Exhibition

    Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

    October 19, 2018–March 10, 2019

    With so much at stake on the Supreme Court, the exhibition explored the American judicial system through one of its sharpest legal minds. Coinciding with the twenty-fifth anniversary of her appointment to the high court, Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the first-ever retrospective about the famed associate justice and American cultural icon. 

    photo of the installation in the exhibition for Notorious RBG. It has a supreme court robe next to a portrait of Ruth Bater Ginsberg.
  • Exhibition

    The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited

    June 1–September 2, 2018

    The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited explored the imaginative world of Jim Henson (1936–1990) and his groundbreaking approach to puppetry and transformative impact on contemporary culture.

    Installation view of The Jim Henson Exhibition. Photo by Jim Bennett, courtesy of Museum of Pop Culture.
  • Exhibition

    Leonard Bernstein at 100

    April 26–September 2, 2018

    On the centennial of his birth, the Skirball presented Leonard Bernstein at 100—a celebration of the life and work of Leonard Bernstein (1918–1990), the great American composer and conductor who dedicated his life to making classical music a vibrant part of American culture.

    4 photos of Leonard Bernstein at different ages
  • Exhibition

    Surface Tension by Ken Gonzales-Day

    Murals, Signs, and Mark‐Making in LA

    October 6, 2017–February 25, 2018

    The exhibition featured a new body of photographic work by interdisciplinary artist Ken Gonzales-Day examining the mural landscape of LA—from East LA to Venice Beach, from Pacoima to South LA. Featuring over 140 photographs, Surface Tension by Ken Gonzales-Day: Murals, Signs, and Mark‐Making in LA considered what the city’s walls reveal about its diverse communities.

    mural on the side of a building showing a bust of a man with a mustache
  • Exhibition

    Another Promised Land: Anita Brenner's Mexico

    September 14, 2017–February 25, 2018

    Another Promised Land: Anita Brenner’s Mexico offers a new perspective on the art and visual culture of Mexico and its relationship to the United States as seen through the life and work of the Mexican-born, American Jewish writer Anita Brenner (1905–1974). Brenner was an integral part of the circle of Mexican modernists in the 1920s and played an important role in promoting and translating Mexican art, culture, and history for audiences in the United States.

    watercolor painting women wearing elaborate head dresses and horses
  • Exhibition

    Future Aleppo

    May 23–September 3, 2017

    Future Aleppo at the Skirball was an installation about the human capacity for resilience, hope, and perseverance in times of darkness. A four-by-four-foot model, Future Aleppo was created by a young Syrian boy and aspiring architect named Mohammed Qutaish while living through the indiscriminately violent war in Aleppo. Between 2012 and 2015, as he witnessed his beloved city being demolished, Mohammed crafted his vision for the future of Aleppo using paper, wood, colored pencils, and glue.

    model of a city made out of paper
  • Exhibition

    Paul Simon: Words & Music

    April 27–September 3, 2017

    Making its only West Coast stop at the Skirball, Paul Simon: Words & Music—a traveling exhibition organized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum—illustrated how the legendary artist’s music has reflected social and cultural ideals.

    Paul Simon at a concert strumming a guitar
  • Exhibition

    Pop for the People: Roy Lichtenstein in L.A.

    October 7, 2016–March 12, 2017

    Renowned for his inventive interplay of line, dot, and color, Roy Lichtenstein (1923–1997) shaped a new form of fine art. Departing from the intellectual, nonfigurative style of Abstract Expressionism, Lichtenstein depicted everyday objects and drew inspiration from comic books, advertisements, and children’s books. By integrating such popular imagery into the realm of fine art, he invited viewers to recognize the world around them in his work.

    close-up of Roy Lichtenstein painting showing a woman's face
  • Exhibition

    The Unauthorized History of Baseball in 100-Odd Paintings: The Art of Ben Sakoguchi

    April 7–September 4, 2016

    In a series of colorful, captivating, and often provocative paintings, Los Angeles artist Ben Sakoguchi (b. 1938) examined how baseball, long referred to as America’s national pastime, reflects both the highs and lows of American culture. The son of a grocer and avid baseball fan, Sakoguchi juxtaposed the iconic imagery of vintage orange crate labels from the 1920s to the 1950s with whimsical, eccentric, and sometimes scathing portrayals of America’s beloved sport.

    3 paintings of vintage orange crate labels mixed with baseball card images and early all-female baseball time
  • Exhibition

    Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American

    April 7–October 30, 2016

    There are people whose contributions to baseball history went far beyond mere batting averages or stolen bases. From Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax to Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Fernando Valenzuela, and Ichiro Suzuki, these are players who didn’t just play the game—they changed the game. For generations of American Jews and other minorities, they served as athletic, cultural, and ethical role models. Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American celebrated baseball and highlighted the role of baseball’s game changers—not only major league players but also vendors, team owners, minor leaguers, amateur players, scouts, broadcasters, journalists, novelists, and fans—who challenged the status-quo and inspired the nation.

    Baseball umpire, catcher and batter all looking up and toward the distance; the batter has just swung the bat
  • Exhibition

    A Path Appears: Actions for a Better World

    November 19, 2015–February 21, 2016

    “Hope is like a path in the countryside. Originally, there is nothing, but as people walk this way again and again, a path appears,” wrote Chinese essayist Lu Xun.

    a female teacher standing in front of a class of students
  • Exhibition

    Citizen 13660: The Art of Miné Okubo

    October 8, 2015–February 21, 2016

    Citizen 13660: The Art of Miné Okubo presented a selection of archival material and rare original artwork by California-born artist Miné Okubo (1912–2001), who was among the thousands of Japanese American citizens forced to leave their homes and businesses for incarceration camps during World War II. In an effort to document the injustices of the camps, Okubo created nearly 200 pen and ink drawings capturing her everyday life and struggles. These vivid, dramatic drawings were subsequently published as the graphic novel Citizen 13660 (1946), the first illustrated memoir chronicling the camp experience. This exhibition explored this exceptional book and brought Okubo’s personal and historical narrative to life. 

    Drawing of 2 lines of people lined up at 2 entrances to a building
  • Exhibition

    Manzanar: The Wartime Photographs of Ansel Adams

    October 8, 2015–February 21, 2016

    Manzanar: The Wartime Photographs of Ansel Adams presented a lesser-known dimension of celebrated photographer Ansel Adams’s body of work, and offered insight into a decisive and disquieting period in American history. Presented at the Skirball in association with the Japanese American National Museum, the exhibition featured fifty photographs by Adams of the Japanese American incarceration camp in Manzanar, California, during World War II. These photographs were the subject of Adams’s controversial book Born Free and Equal, published in 1944 while war was still being waged.

    people walking on a dirt road with barracks visible behind them in the distance and mountains even further in the distance
  • Exhibition

    Petit Takett: Love, Legacy, and Recipes from the Maghreb

    September 1, 2015–February 21, 2016

    Sharing food is one of the most genuine forms of cultural exchange. Gathered at the dinner table, we reminisce, share stories, and engage with one another. Petit Takett: Love, Legacy, and Recipes from the Maghreb, an exhibition based on Los Angeles artist and photographer Orly Olivier’s Tunisian Jewish heritage, celebrated food as a powerful connection to the past. A diverse collection of original and historic photographs, family heirlooms, ephemera, and original letterpress posters illustrated the journey of Olivier’s family from Tunisia to Israel and finally to the United States, between the 1950s and the present.

    cooking ingredients and measuring utensils laid out on a table
  • Exhibition

    Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution

    May 7–October 11, 2015

    Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution was the first comprehensive retrospective about the life and career of legendary rock impresario Bill Graham (1931–1991). Recognized as one of the most influential concert promoters in history, Graham launched the careers of countless rock & roll legends in the ’60s at his famed Fillmore Auditorium. He conceived of rock & roll as a powerful force for supporting humanitarian causes and was instrumental in the production of milestone benefit concerts such as Live Aid (1985) and Human Rights Now! (1988). As a promoter and manager, he worked with the biggest names in rock, including the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones.

    a man on a stage holding a microphone stand with a large crowd of people in the seats below the stage
  • Exhibition

    The Singing Posters: Poetry Sound Collage Sculpture Book

    Allen Ginsberg's Howl by Allen Ruppersberg

    May 7–August 23, 2015

    Allen Ruppersberg’s installation The Singing Posters: Poetry Sound Collage Sculpture Book paid tribute to Allen Ginsberg’s iconic poem Howl (1955–1956), a hallmark text of the ’50s Beat generation. In order to reinterpret the piece for contemporary audiences, Ruppersberg transcribed the poem into phonetic spellings and printed the “new” text on approximately 200 vibrantly colored commercial advertising posters installed floor to ceiling on gallery walls.

    people looking at a wall filled with colored typography posters
  • Exhibition

    Rock & Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip

    March 24–August 16, 2015

    Featuring more than twenty photographs of hand-painted billboards that dominated the Los Angeles landscape for almost two decades, this exhibition—displayed in the Skirball's community space known as the Ruby Gallery—brought to life a unique period in the history of rock & roll and the fabled Sunset Strip, whose nightclubs were the birthplace of rock & roll royalty. Photographer Robert Landau (b. 1953) traced the billboard phenomenon from the breakthrough promotion for the debut album by the Doors in 1967 to the advent of MTV in the 1980s, which signaled the end of an era.

    Billboard for Bruce Springsteen, Darkness on the Edge of Town
  • Exhibition

    The Noir Effect

    November 23, 2014–March 1, 2015

    Following up where the exhibition Light & Noir: Exiles and Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933–1950 left off, The Noir Effect traced the influence of noir into more recent times, exploring how the genre has continued to impact American popular culture, art, and media. 

    Black and white photo of shadowy man standing outside the doorway of a store at night
  • Exhibition

    Café Vienne

    October 23, 2014–March 10, 2015

    Café Vienne was a site-specific exhibition developed for the Skirball by Austrian artist Isa Rosenberger (b. 1969). Within this immersive installation, which paid tribute to the important cultural role of Viennese coffee houses, Rosenberger honored little-known Jewish writer Gina Kaus (1893–1985).

    art and books on a small shelf
  • Exhibition

    Light & Noir

    Exiles and Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933–1950

    October 23, 2014–March 1, 2015

    The exhibition Light & Noir: Exiles and Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933–1950 explored how the experiences of German-speaking exiles and émigrés who fled Nazi Europe—many of them Jews—influenced the classic films of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Visitors learned in depth how beloved movies such as Sunset Boulevard, Double Indemnity, Casablanca, and Ninotchka were shaped by the light and dark experiences of these pioneering film artists.

    Silhouette of James Stewart against backlit sky from the move
  • Exhibition

    Fallen Fruit of the Skirball

    May 13–October 12, 2014

    For this exhibition, Los Angeles art collaborative Fallen Fruit (David Burns and Austin Young) and the Skirball Cultural Center came together to produce an immersive art installation that celebrated Jewish heritage, relationships, and love

    Various photographs of people framed in red and blue frames on a wall covered in wallpaper with a pattern of pomegranites
  • Exhibition

    The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats

    April 10–September 7, 2014

    This exhibition showcased the evocative world of the pioneering author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats (1916–1983), featuring more than eighty original works by the artist. Ranging from preliminary sketches and preparatory books to final paintings and collages, the works displayed in The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats explored a life and career that became an inspiration for generations of readers and authors.

    Collage illustration by Ezra Jack Keats showing a boy in red coat with hood looking at his footprints in the snow
  • Exhibition

    To the Point

    Posters by Dan Reisinger

    January 14–May 11, 2014

    Dan Reisinger (b. 1934) is one of Israel’s design pioneers, known internationally for his innovative use of symbols and vibrant visual language. This exhibition presented a selection of his iconic posters spanning the past fifty years, including posters of social and political protest (1963–1993), advertisements commissioned by the airline EL AL (1968–1972), and a recent series focused on the changing architectural landscape of Tel Aviv (2012). Reisinger, who also created a fifty-meter-long wall relief for the Moshe Safdie–designed Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum in Israel, is known for producing work that conveys “maximum meaning” by “minimum means.”

    abstract image with squares and circles
  • Exhibition

    Global Citizen

    The Architecture of Moshe Safdie

    October 22, 2013–March 2, 2014

    Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie surveyed the renowned architect’s career from his formative period in the 1960s and early 1970s to his recent projects around the world, exploring his aesthetic language of transcendent light, powerful geometry, and iconic forms. Using sketches, models, photographs, and films of twenty-five projects, the exhibition portrayed Safdie's architecture not only as visual art but as a medium for advancing social, political, and cultural goals.

    Hasidic Jew and a man and woman holding each other at Yad Vashem
  • a smile, they said

    A Project by Antje Schiffers and Thomas Sprenger

    April 4, 2013–January 12, 2014

    Everyone is welcome at the Skirball Cultural Center, yet every encounter is unique, inflected by culture, age, and origin. This was the theme of a smile, they said, a site-specific mural created by Berlin-based artists Antje Schiffers and Thomas Sprenger as part of their Let Me Show You Around project.

    black and whilte drawings on wall with 3 people seated at a small table in front of it
  • Exhibition

    Women Hold Up Half the Sky

    October 27, 2011–May 20, 2012

    The traveling exhibition Women Hold Up Half the Sky was inspired by the critically acclaimed book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

    installation interior with photos of women on a curved wall

For information about exhibitions presented prior to the ones listed here, please email communications@skirball.org.