Jewish Museum Milwaukee
Press Release

Jewish Museum Milwaukee explores social justice through art in exhibit featuring internationally renowned graphic artist

Luba Lukova: Designing Justice opens Sept. 17; JMM launches first exhibit since reopening

By - Sep 10th, 2020 10:00 am

MILWAUKEE, WI – Sept. 10, 2020 – Jewish Museum Milwaukee (JMM) launches its first new exhibit next week since reopening its doors to the public last month. Luba Lukova: Designing Justice features the work of one of the most internationally renowned graphic artists working today. The exhibit, on view Sept. 17, 2020 through Jan. 31, 2021, explores social justice through art as a way to engage the broader community around this important topic. Undeniably powerful and thought-provoking, Lukova’s work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Library of Congress, among others, and her commissions have appeared in The New York Times and Time.

“Graphic images have the power to distill complex issues into one essential, recognizable image that communicates across groups and borders,” said Molly Dubin, Jewish Museum Milwaukee curator. “At this moment, Lukova’s work is especially timely and relevant. Art can speak in ways words can’t, and we hope to use the exhibit as a way to continue to break down barriers and expand our diverse audience through topics with universal resonance.”

Designing Justice includes 34 posters tackling a range of social justice topics, including income inequality, immigration, gender inequality and the environment. Along with these vivid, captivating works, visitors will encounter several multimedia and interactive components, including a station where they are invited to use spokes and spools of thread to trace their own personal social justice journeys. In addition to covering the history of graphic design and poster making, the exhibit explores the connection between this art medium and the protest movement. Lukova’s bold designs convey powerful messages and have been used in protests all over the world.

“We want the Museum to be a conversation starter that brings visibility to important issues, and Lukova’s work is the perfect springboard for that dialogue,” said Dubin.

A concurrent exhibit, Shakespeare’s in the Alley: A Tribute to Bob Dylan, further explores the theme of social justice. A series of hand-stenciled fabric banners of varying lengths suspended from the ceiling create an immersive ‘virtual forest’ experience that pays tribute to the lyrics, poetry and socially minded musical contributions of the Jewish-American singer-songwriter and Nobel Prize in Literature recipient.

The Museum’s fall education programming is built around the exhibits to offer virtual resources for local schools and parents. Free virtual tours are available for school groups through support from the Wisconsin Arts Board. The tours take groups through the exhibit explaining the connection between social justice and art, and also include an interactive art project.

The Museum’s programming during the run of the exhibit adds additional context to the subject matter, highlights include:

  • Virtual Opening PreviewWednesday, Sept. 16, 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Artist Luba Lukova conducts a virtual talk live from her New York studio. Local musician Lil Rev plays a set of social justice-themed songs including Bob Dylan selections. The evening also includes virtual exhibit tours and a take-out ‘Opening Kit’ of wine, bakery and social justice-influenced swag.

  • Critical Conversation Starters: Social Justice Series (virtual event)

An in-depth look at the plight and fight surrounding human and civil rights issues taking place around the country and in Milwaukee. National, community and organizational leaders discuss vital social justice topics amid a time of unrest and uncertainty.

    • Charlottesville and the Case Against White Supremacy – Short Film Screening and Panel DiscussionThursday, Oct. 8 – 7 p.m.
    • The Evolving Role and Impact of Philanthropic OrganizationsTuesday, Nov. 10 – 7 p.m.
    • Milwaukee Civic Response Economic Recovery TeamWednesday, Dec. 16 – 7 p.m.
  • Social Justice Story TimeSundays, Oct. 25, Nov. 22 & Dec. 20, 3 – 4 p.m.

Local experts read picture books to kids of all ages via Zoom as a way to explore bigger social issues.

JMM reopened to the public last month with many new safety measures in place, including timed ticketing, capacity limits, a one-way path, sanitation stations, and more. Ticket information, a full list of programming and more information on the new exhibits is available at www.jewishmuseummilwaukee.org.

Luba Lukova: Designing Justice was curated by Luba Lukova in collaboration with the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA).

Major support for the exhibits and related programming comes from Joel and Caran Quadracci, The Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts and Milwaukee Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin. Connect with Jewish Museum Milwaukee on Facebook and Instagram @JewishMuseumMilwaukee and on Twitter @JewishMuseumMKE.

About the Jewish Museum Milwaukee

The Jewish Museum Milwaukee is dedicated to preserving and presenting the history of the Jewish people in southeastern Wisconsin and celebrating the continuum of Jewish heritage and culture. The history of American Jews is rooted in thousands of years of searching for freedom and equality. The museum builds bridges between diverse groups of people through shared experiences and uses historical events and art to explore contemporary topics.

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