Yo Semite! A Physical & Digital Exhibition

“When immigrant Jews arriving in the United States wanted to fit in, one of the first things they changed was their clothes. Today, we curate our individual and collective identities every time we get dressed. For the majority of Jews, who “pass” as ethnically white, wearing t-shirts bearing Jewish messages calls attention to an identity that might otherwise be invisible.”

—Ari Y. Kelman, Jim Joseph Chair in Education and Jewish Studies at Stanford University

How do we fashion our ethnicity? How do we set and blur ethnic lines? What do we communicate to people in our in-group? How do we engage with people outside that group? These are some of the questions professor Ari Y. Kelman and multimedia documentary artist Sam Ball want us to explore. They collaborated closely with Ari’s graduate students at Stanford University and Sam’s colleagues at Citizen Film to create a multimedia installation of videos projected onto t-shirts hanging on lines at the Contemporary Jewish Museum Store in San Francisco–on display July 23rd through November 1st, 2015.

By choosing the museum store as a venue for this exhibition, constructed from products on sale in the store, the curators invite you to consider how ethnic identity is created and marketed.

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I Don’t Roll on Shabbas

I love this shirt depicting John Goodman as Walter Sobchak in the Coen brothers’ movie The Big Lebowski. Sobchak’s dilemma between observing the laws of his bowling league and observing the laws of the Sabbath is a classic Jewish dilemma between holding onto a set of religious or ethnic communal beliefs, and a desire to fully participate in American culture.

Note: The curators of this exhibition are not the sellers of this shirt and have no financial interest in it. Contact us if you would like to learn more about this shirt.

Features:

John Goodman

A religious dilemma

An oddly-spelled word


Super Jew

Wearing the Jewish star combined with a Superman-like “S” makes a strong, proud statement. Writer/producer Jill Soloway designed a version of this shirt for her son’s school play at Temple Israel of Hollywood. Then Seth Rogen wore it in the movie Funny People. When you wear this shirt, you’re playing with American pop culture by making overtly and covertly Jewish statements simultaneously.

Note: The curators of this exhibition are not the sellers of this shirt and have no financial interest in it. Contact us if you would like to learn more about this shirt.

Features:

It’s not a bird! It’s not a plane!

It’s Superjew!

Makes a bold ethnic claim in a single bound!


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Yo Semite

The Yo Semite t-shirt captures a playful sense of being Jewish in a self-referential, dare I say, “post-modern,” way. The interesting thing about this shirt is that it calls out to the person who’s reading it. Wear this shirt to hail other “semites” and nature-lovers who will appreciate your tribute to the Yosemite National Park logo.

Buy it at the Contemporary Jewish Museum Store!

Features:

Love of nature

A shout-out to fellow Jews

Palestinians are also Semites

$25.00

BUY


As Kosher as You Wanna’ Be

I was president of the Progressive Jewish Students Union at UC Santa Cruz in the early 90’s, when 2 Live Crew’s album “As Nasty as They Wanna Be” was popular. A duo called 2 Live Jews recorded a parody called “As Kosher as They Wanna Be.” To us, that meant: “express your Jewishness however you want.”

Buy it at the Contemporary Jewish Museum Store!

Note: The “As Kosher as You Wanna Be” shirt on sale at the museum store is an updated redesign of the original shirt depicted in our videos.

Features:

A Kosher symbol on the front

A political statement on the back

Two 90’s hip-hop references!

$27.00

BUY


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SPHAS

My love of basketball and basketball trivia led me to this shirt, a proud possession. The SPHAS were a team from South Philadelphia in the 20’s and 30’s, a fascinating time for Jews and sports and American pop culture. Eventually, owner & coach Eddie Gottlieb turned SPHAS into the Philadelphia Warriors, the precursor to today’s Golden State Warriors, my team!

Buy it at the Contemporary Jewish Museum Store!

Features:

A golden era for Jews in sports

South Philly Hebrew Association

An acronym few people will understand

$27.00

BUY


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Hidden in Plain Sight!

Who could resist a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to wear the official shirt of the Hidden in Plain Sight Multimedia Exhibition? For a limited time, while supplies last, you too can advertise that there’s more to you than meets the eye.

Buy it at the Contemporary Jewish Museum Store!

Features:

Soothing, 100% Preshrunk Cotton

A comfortable, seamless collar

Double-needle stitching throughout

$29.00

BUY


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Wanna See More T-shirts?

Visit exhibitions created by graduate students. More exhibition pages coming soon!

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