April 28, 2015 - The Jewish Museum - Chantal Joffe
April 28, 2015

Chantal Joffe

Chantal Joffe, Susan Sontag, 2014. Oil on board, 8 1/4 × 11 1/8 x 3/8 inches.

Chantal Joffe
Using Walls, Floors, and Ceilings

May 1–October 18, 2015 

The Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Ave at 92nd St
New York, NY 10128
Hours: Friday–Tuesday 11am–5:45pm,
Wednesday closed (shops open 11am–3pm),
Thursday 11am–8pm

T +1 212 423 3200
F +1 212 423 3232


In 1970, the Jewish Museum presented Using Walls, an exhibition of commissioned artworks installed both within and beyond the gallery space of the museum’s Warburg Mansion. 

Forty-four years later, the museum revisits this idea in Using Walls, Floors, and Ceilings, a series of artist commissions initiated in 2013. Artists from around the globe have been invited to create new art or adapt a work for placement in the Skirball Lobby. Installations will be changed twice each year through 2016. Past artists featured were Claire Fontaine (Tears), Mel Bochner (Blah, Blah, Blah), and Willem de Rooij (Bouquet XI). Future artists include Valeska Soares, Beatriz Milhazes and Alex Israel. 

On view
Chantal Joffe: Hannah, Gertrude, Alice, Betty, Nadine, Golda, Susan, Claude, Nancy, Grace, Diane…..

Hannah, Gertrude, Alice, Betty, Nadine, Golda, Susan, Claude, Nancy, Grace, Diane….. is a series of 34  portraits by London-based painter Chantal Joffe, which will hang salon-style on two walls of the Skirball Lobby of the Jewish Museum.

Joffe has long focused on portraiture and, for this new body of work, she explores Jewish women of the 20th century. Personages who made major contributions to art, literature, philosophy and politics such as Diane Arbus, Nancy Spero, Gertrude A. Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Susan Sontag, and Hannah Arendt are represented as both children and adults. Implicitly included here are the women who perished during the Shoah, whose creativity and intellect were lost to history.  

Joffe’s style is direct and gestural. These are not exact or “true” depictions but charged with the artist’s technical, conceptual, and emotional responses. As this group of subjects is no longer with us, Joffe conducted months of research on each of them, gathering together both well-known and obscure texts and images. Through this slow process of looking, reading, and watching, she built worlds around herself and the women, whom she has represented at various stages in their lives, during moments both big and small. Bringing together these historical figures creates a universal family album, a tribute to their contributions as well as inspiration for all those in the present, still able to leave their mark. 


Public programs

This Is How We Do It: On Laurie Simmons and Chantal Joffe
Thursday, June 18, 6:30pm
Kelly Taxter, Assistant Curator speaks about organizing Laurie Simmons: How We See and Using Walls, Floors, and Ceilings: Chantal Joffe.
Free with pay-what-you-wish admission; RSVP recommended

About the artist
Possessing an eye for everyday awkwardness and an enlivening facility with paint, Chantal Joffe brings a combination of insight and integrity to the genre of figurative art. Born in 1969, Chantal Joffe lives and works in London. She holds an MA from the Royal College of Art and was awarded the Royal Academy Woollaston Prize in 2006. Joffe has exhibited nationally and internationally at Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy (2014–15); Saatchi Gallery, London (2013–14); MODEM, Hungary (2012); Mackintosh Museum, Glasgow (2012); Il Capricorno, Venice (2011, solo); Turner Contemporary, Margate (2011); Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York (2009); University of the Arts, London (2007); MIMA Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (2007); Royal Academy of Arts, London (2005); Galleri KB, Oslo (2005) and Bloomberg Space, London (2004).

Using Walls, Floors, and Ceilings: Chantal Joffe is organized by Jens Hoffmann, Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Public Programs, and Kelly Taxter, Assistant Curator.

This series is made possible by the generous support of Wendy Fisher.


Chantal Joffe at the Jewish Museum
The Jewish Museum
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