Lori Starr, Executive director
NEAT: New Experiments in Art and Technology is an expression of the Jewish commitment to new forms of knowledge. Judaism can be described as a rabbinic religion because the Hebrew Bible is considered a starting point from which scholarly debate has flowed for millennia. There is an inherent evolution of understanding in Jewish thought and, consequently, an acceptance of new information about the world and scientific advancement. This openness to innovation is embedded in The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s (The CJM) mission to engage with cutting-edge developments in contemporary art. These thoughts were central to my enthusiasm for the scheduling of NEAT here at The CJM.
Informal Jewish learning is a concept we return to again and again, whenever considering the appropriateness of a project to our mission. When such learning is delivered in the context of an exhibition of overwhelming excellence such as NEAT, we know we are manifesting the vision we have of what The CJM can mean to the community. We are committed to exhibitions with significant Jewish content and have developed an approach that embraces a spectrum of shows from ones that contain specific Jewish cultural phenomena, to shows like NEAT, in which we ask the audience to think along with us about how the exhibition reflects and embodies Jewish values.
Throughout an exhibition such as NEAT and this publication, The CJM champions the work of local artists and in doing so enhances the art community of the Bay Area. Our ambition is to be a unique leader in the world of Jewish museums as well as the museum field in general. We also contribute to enhancing the art community of the Bay Area for both local and international audiences. We could not do so without the professional expertise of our staff and the passionate support of our Board of Trustees and donors. I extend gratitude for all.