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Jewish Museum Opens a New Immersive Exhibition: Waiting for a Miracle. An Homage to Marc Chagall

Jewish Museum Opens a New Immersive Exhibition:  Waiting for a Miracle. An Homage to Marc Chagall
News Jewish Museum Opens a New Immersive Exhibition: Waiting for a Miracle. An Homage to Marc Chagall
A family-friendly exhibition based on Marc Chagall’s autobiographical novel My Life and titled Waiting for a Miracle. An Homage to Marc Chagall opened at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center on May 27. 
The exhibition reconstructs the key events of Chagall's early years, from his parents’ home outside Vitebsk to his studio in Paris. On their journey through the seven sections of the exhibition, visitors get to know about and see the artist’s favorite characters and subjects.

The opening rooms have to do with Chagall’s home just outside Vitebsk, his parents, and the city of his childhood and adolescence. Starting in a room with a cradle, the route then leads to a fish shop, similar to the one where the artist’s father worked, before ending up on the streets of Vitebsk. The next section of the exhibition deals with the artist's first trip to Paris. On display here are Chagall’s studio at the iconic La Ruche in Montparnasse and a traveling circus frequented by Paris-based modernist artists for years. The exhibition also features paintings and drawings by Marc Chagall, Nathan Altman, and Grigory Inger.

Alexander Boroda, general director of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, rabbi:
“The Jewish shtetl outside Vitebsk, where Marc Chagall was born and raised, occupies a special place in his oeuvre. But in his paintings, this small community was transformed into a Universe, filled with magical, naive, and childish visions, and fantastic characters. This unique view of the world did not change despite the years the artist spent living in various cities and countries, nor by the latest trends in art. Chagall went out of his way to differ from his fellow artists, refusing to join any groups or associations. And this one of the reasons why we hold Chagall in high esteem – his primitive and mysterious style is both unique and easy to understand, in an intuitive, subconscious way.

This is why we tried to make an exhibition that would be accessible and interesting for children. There are no age restrictions, and even toddlers are welcome to visit our exhibition. Chagall’s autobiographical book My Life inspired the structure of the show, while the contents of the rooms have to do with the imagery in his works. At our exhibition, Chagall's aerial, fluctuating, dizzying paintings transcend their boundaries and literally hit the ceiling of the museum, embodied in the shadow theater and interactive exhibits.

In his book, Marc Chagall wrote that art is a state of mind. We did our best to convey the creative state of the artist’s mind and, by doing so, awe the minds of our visitors.”

Kristina Krasnyanskaya, executive director of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center:
“This exhibition fits seamlessly into one of the spheres of the Jewish Museum’s activities, as the museum regularly holds shows celebrating avant-garde art. Marc Chagall was among the foremost avant-garde artists. In his work, he drew inspiration from Jewish culture, including folk art, proverbs, and sayings, as well as his childhood memories of Vitebsk. This exhibition is based on Chagall’s book My Life, which immerses the readers in the artist's biography and explains the poetic imagery of his work.

We sought to adapt this massive topic to take children into account and tell the story of the artist’s life and career through interactive exhibits. The exhibition deals not only with Marc Chagall’s biography but also with Jewish traditions, which were part of his daily life since the day he was born.”

Maria Gadas, chief curator of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, co-curator of the exhibition:
“Our exhibition pioneers a trailblazing new genre, making the work of artists easier to perceive and understand. And Marc Chagall is just the man whose creations are a perfect fit for this type of show. I hope that this new format will be embraced by both the professional community and newcomers to art.”

Ira Dvoretskaya, director of the Children’s Center of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, co-curator of the exhibition:
“I still believe that there is no such thing as exhibitions made exclusively for adults or children and that every one of us — for the sake of our inner world — is in need of a dialogue: with a child, companion, or oneself. In this context, one wonders: how important is it for a child or an adult to believe in miracles? Paradoxically, witnessing miracles helps you get a foothold in life helping explain unusual and extraordinary things. By immersing ourselves in the atmosphere of the exhibition and exploring Chagall, we come to appreciate our individuality and learn to protect and maintain it. 

Curators, exhibition architect Alla Nikolaeva, artist Yuri Meleksetyan, and many others who supported us — all of these people have helped us make this ‘miracle’ happen.”

Visitors of all ages are invited to join guided tours of the exhibition, held every two hours; our guides will help you immerse yourselves in the world of Chagall’s imagery and the enchanting atmosphere of his childhood in Vitebsk, and find out more about his life and oeuvre. For those of you who would rather explore the exhibition on your own we have put together a guidebook.

The exhibition is open from: May 28 – September 6, 2024
Сurated by: Ira Dvoretskaya and Maria Gadas
Age requirement: 0+

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