In Twilight: Ori Sherman's Creation


The Magnes announces new exhibition “In Twilight. Ori Sherman’s Creation”

August 19, 2022

The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life announces its newest exhibition, In Twilight. Ori Sherman’s Creation, opening September 6, 2022 through the Spring of 2023 and featuring Ori Sherman’s highly imaginative series, The Creation, displayed for the first time in its entirety.

Over a two-year period just prior to his death from HIV/AIDS, Sherman (Jerusalem, 1934–San Francisco, 1988) completed this cycle of 18 paintings, depicting the seven days of the creation of the world as emerging directly from the Hebrew words in the Book of Genesis, a text that he had read at his Bar Mitzvah four decades earlier.

When asked “Why did he paint The Creation?” Richard Schwarzenberger, Ori Sherman’s long-time companion, responded “He [Sherman] had a generous heart; he understood gratitude, that you give back what you’ve been given. He was completing the circle with a gift, his treasured heritage and his reverence for life, knitted together by the sacred words. The gift is beauty, which heals the world, if anything does.”

“Seen today, these works continue to paint a liminal space between nothingness and twilight, where art and creativity confront and come to terms with the stark realities of our world.” reflected Magnes Curator Francesco Spagnolo on this interpretation of biblical texts and their multi-layered meanings through Sherman’s graphic art and material culture.

Alongside this prime example of a “visual Torah” the installation features an original Torah scroll, English translations of the text of Genesis by Robert Alter, and the poem “Twilight People” by Rabbi Reuben Zellman.

“[Ori Sherman’s] late artworks converge on a luminous certainty about the joy of life and the promise of ultimate deliverance… [that] shows in caring details of his renderings… [and] in his overall compositions which are rugged, confident and clear: Life and light burst through darkness to bring another day, and it is up to us to see and enjoy that power.” reflects Professor Greg Niemeyer, Professor for New Media, Department of Art Practice, UC Berkeley. 

A program and reception is planned for Sunday, October 23rd and will include speakers addressing Ori Sherman’s artwork and the historical context in which it was created. .

The Magnes Collection is located at 2121 Allston Way in Berkeley, CA and the galleries will be open to the public this fall on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 11am to 4pm from September 6th through December 15th. Admission is free.

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Select high resolution images from In Twilight. Ori Sherman’s Creation are available for editorial use by the media, with captions and the statement: Courtesy of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life. All rights reserved.

Select Images from In Twilight. Ori Sherman’s Creation

About The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, UC Berkeley

The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life was established in 2010 following the transfer of the Judah L. Magnes Museum to the University of California, Berkeley. Its remarkably diverse archive, library and museum holdings include art, objects, texts, music and historical documents about the Jews in the global diaspora and the American West. As one of the world’s preeminent Jewish collections in a university setting, it provides highly innovative and accessible resources to both researchers and the general public. 

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