Kershaw Museum Plans Ethiopian Show


Timed to coincide with the Bowers Museum’s “Queen of Sheba” exhibit, the Kershaw Museum at Temple Beth El is organizing its own sampler exhibit of artworks by Jewish Ethiopians and Yemenites, who believe themselves to be the queen’s descendants.

The museum is seeking to borrow examples of Ethiopian and Yemenite art or artifacts from local collectors for possible exhibition, beginning Oct. 14. Descriptions and photos of the items should be submitted before Aug. 1 to Irene Breisacher, a volunteer at the Aliso Viejo synagogue, who is helping organize the exhibit.

“A lot of people went to Israel when the country was new and bought Yemenite art, but they didn’t tell you it was Yemenite,” said the museum’s director and founder, Norma Kershaw. “Ancient or modern, whatever people have” would be welcomed.

Typical works are silver Bible covers with fine filigree work. Ethiopian folk art is evident throughout Israel, produced by resettled Ethiopian Jews, who fled religious persecution and deteriorating economic conditions in their homeland en mass beginning in 1984.

Kershaw, who previously created exhibits on Chanukah and Israeli art with examples borrowed locally, hopes to fill three exhibit cases with at least 100 items. One person has offered Ethiopian costumes.

The exhibit’s logo is likely to be a pillow cover featuring King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, which Kershaw obtained recently in Los Angeles from an importer promoting modern folk art by Ethiopian Israelis.

The Bowers’ Sheba exhibit will open Oct. 17 and will feature 100 treasures, some from the first century, chosen from the vast collections of the British Museum.

As part of an archeology trip to Yemen in 1985, Kershaw said she looked without success for scientific evidence to support the biblical legend. According to legend, Sheba ruled an ancient kingdom that prospered as a trading crossroads between Jerusalem and the Roman Empire; she was seduced and married to King Solomon around 950 B.C.E.

Potential lenders should contact Irene Briesacher at
(949) 837-1005 or by e-mail, irene@fea.net before Aug. 1.

The Art of the Matter


When artist Ted Meyer was first diagnosed with Gaucher disease, a lipid-storage disorder that is the most common genetic disease affecting Jews of Eastern European descent, he used his artistic talents to express his pain.

Now fully recovered due to breakthroughs in treatment, the 44-year-old, who is also a designer, illustrator and the author of two books, reflects on the progression of his work in relation to the course of his illness.

In October, Meyer’s two exhibits, “Structural Abnormalities” and “Scars” will be on display at the Biola University Art Gallery in La Mirada. The artist began the former series about 10 years ago when his illness was in full swing. Gaucher disease, caused by a genetic mutation, primarily consists of bone pain and damage to the shoulder or hip joints as a result of an enzyme deficiency. Meyer had a hip replacement and will undergo another this November, although he is now healthy and receives enzyme replacement every two weeks.

Although his illness has been compared to Tay-Sachs because of its association with Jews, Meyer doesn’t relate Gaucher disease to his religion. “It doesn’t come into play because African Americans have Tay-Sachs. I just see it as evolution,” said Meyer, who said he feels “culturally Jewish, but not religiously Jewish.”

“Structural Abnormalities” depicts images of skeletons crouching and kneeling, as if locked inside the boundaries of the canvas. “I started the skeleton paintings about six months before I had my first hip replacement done. I was at the point where I couldn’t walk very well and I felt very trapped in my own body,” explained the New York native. “So, I started these contorted, painful skeletal images. Many of them are sort of compressed, which is how I felt.” As his symptoms subsided, the figures in the series became rounder and fuller than the earlier works. Most of them also include more than one person, symbolizing the end of his own isolation.

“I started bringing in the outside world,” Meyer said. “I was healthy and I wanted to be excited about that.” Several paintings from “Structural Abnormalities” were included in the high-profile “eMotion Pictures” exhibit, which toured the Chicago Cultural Center, the United Nations and is currently continuing its U.S. tour.

Meyer’s second series, “Scars,” was inspired by a woman he dated who had an 18-inch scar from when she broke her back and, as a result, was wheelchair bound. “I would see her back at night as we slept,” he remembered. “I liked the shape of the scar.” Meyer felt the visible memory of the wound revealed his friend’s strength and uniqueness. He took an imprint of the scar and then created a painting, which he felt was, in essence, a portrait of the woman herself. “It really marked where her life had changed,” he said.

Meyer’s girlfriend encouraged him to reach out to others, as she was very active in the disabled community. “She really got on my case and felt that I lost touch with my psyche because I was now healthy and I wasn’t relating.” Meyer first displayed his new piece in the Art Walk, an exhibit at Brewery, the world’s largest artist complex, located in Los Angeles, which he has called home for the last five years. People were fascinated by the piece and even approached him with their own scars and the stories behind them. From there, Meyer began a collection of the scar paintings.

While he admits that his work doesn’t appeal to everyone, many art enthusiasts feel the paintings are very powerful. For those who have had surgery, viewing Meyer’s work can be cathartic.

“I’ve had people come to the studio and just break out crying,” Meyer said. “That’s what every artist wants: To resonate with people.” The upcoming exhibit will include 16 pieces from the series.

As for the scar bearers, the experience of seeing reminders of their past pain transferred to the canvas has been a positive one: “Many people say, ‘I never thought anything good could come from this scar and now it’s going to be art,'” Meyer said.

As his work progressed over the years, he feels he’s able to reach out to others in a way he was once unable. “My artwork has gone from being very ‘Ted-centric’ to being about everyone else.”

Ted Meyer’s exhibits can be seen at Biola University Art
Gallery, 13800 Biola Ave., La Mirada, Oct. 7-27; 9 a.m.-9 p.m. (Monday-Friday),
noon-5 p.m. (Saturday). Meyer will be at the gallery Oct. 8 from 6-9 p.m. For
more information, call (562) 903-4807. For more on Meyer’s artwork, visit www.artyourworld.com .

The Art of the Matter


When artist Ted Meyer was first diagnosed with Gaucher disease, a lipid-storage disorder that is the most common genetic disease affecting Jews of Eastern European descent, he used his artistic talents to express his pain.

Now fully recovered due to breakthroughs in treatment, the 44-year-old, who is also a designer, illustrator and the author of two books, reflects on the progression of his work in relation to the course of his illness.

In October, Meyer’s two exhibits, "Structural Abnormalities" and "Scars" will be on display at the Biola University Art Gallery in La Mirada. The artist began the former series about 10 years ago when his illness was in full swing. Gaucher disease, caused by a genetic mutation, primarily consists of bone pain and damage to the shoulder or hip joints as a result of an enzyme deficiency. Meyer had a hip replacement and will undergo another this November, although he is now healthy and receives enzyme replacement every two weeks.

Although his illness has been compared to Tay-Sachs because of its association with Jews, Meyer doesn’t relate Gaucher disease to his religion. "It doesn’t come into play because African Americans have Tay-Sachs. I just see it as evolution," said Meyer, who said he feels "culturally Jewish, but not religiously Jewish."

"Structural Abnormalities" depicts images of skeletons crouching and kneeling, as if locked inside the boundaries of the canvas. "I started the skeleton paintings about six months before I had my first hip replacement done. I was at the point where I couldn’t walk very well and I felt very trapped in my own body," explained the New York native. "So, I started these contorted, painful skeletal images. Many of them are sort of compressed, which is how I felt." As his symptoms subsided, the figures in the series became rounder and fuller than the earlier works. Most of them also include more than one person, symbolizing the end of his own isolation.

"I started bringing in the outside world," Meyer said. "I was healthy and I wanted to be excited about that." Several paintings from "Structural Abnormalities" were included in the high-profile "eMotion Pictures" exhibit, which toured the Chicago Cultural Center, the United Nations and is currently continuing its U.S. tour.

Meyer’s second series, "Scars," was inspired by a woman he dated who had an 18-inch scar from when she broke her back and, as a result, was wheelchair bound. "I would see her back at night as we slept," he remembered. "I liked the shape of the scar." Meyer felt the visible memory of the wound revealed his friend’s strength and uniqueness. He took an imprint of the scar and then created a painting, which he felt was, in essence, a portrait of the woman herself. "It really marked where her life had changed," he said.

Meyer’s girlfriend encouraged him to reach out to others, as she was very active in the disabled community. "She really got on my case and felt that I lost touch with my psyche because I was now healthy and I wasn’t relating." Meyer first displayed his new piece in the Art Walk, an exhibit at Brewery, the world’s largest artist complex, located in Los Angeles, which he has called home for the last five years. People were fascinated by the piece and even approached him with their own scars and the stories behind them. From there, Meyer began a collection of the scar paintings.

While he admits that his work doesn’t appeal to everyone, most art enthusiasts feel the paintings are very powerful. For those who have had surgery, viewing Meyer’s work can be cathartic.

"I’ve had people come to the studio and just break out crying," Meyer said. "That’s what every artist wants: To resonate with people." The upcoming exhibit will include 16 pieces from the series.

As for the scar bearers, the experience of seeing reminders of their past pain transferred to the canvas has been a positive one: "Many people say, ‘I never thought anything good could come from this scar and now it’s going to be art,’" Meyer revealed.

As his work progressed over the years, he feels he’s able to reach out to others in a way he was once unable. "My art work has gone from being very ‘Ted-centric’ to being about everyone else," the artist said.

Ted Meyer’s exhibits can be seen at Biola University Art
Gallery, 13800 Biola Ave., La Mirada, Oct. 7-27; 9 a.m.-9 p.m. (Monday-Friday),
noon-5 p.m. (Saturday). Meyer will be at the gallery Oct. 8 from 6-9 p.m. For
more information, call (562) 903-4807. For more on Meyer’s artwork, visit www.artyourworld.com .

7 Days in the Arts


25/SATURDAY

The band is called JEW and blatant Jew pride is reason enough for a shout-out. But these guys also have a show tonight. Their sound is best described as alt-rock, and they name the Police and Nirvana as strong influences. Support the tribe and check out their show, at midnight at The Joint. $7. 8771 Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, call (310) 275-2619.

26/SUNDAY

Be prepared for an irreverent take on the Bible in Venice Mootney Company’s play, “Meat: a Bible Tragi-comedy.” This version includes a gay-male love triangle and plenty of feminist and media-critical commentary. And by the way, they’ve turned the sacred Temple into a barbecue pit. Confused? Intrigued? We’re pretty sure that’s the point. See it today at a special Memorial Day Sunday Barbecue-Benefit preview. Runs Sundays through June. 7 p.m. $12.50 (general), $10 (seniors and groups of ten). Hopkins House Studio, 11736 W. Pico Blvd., West Los Angeles. For reservations, call (310) 586-0114.

Maybe you know him as the creator of the Comedy Store or maybe as Pauly Shore’s dad. Either way, Sammy Shore’s name is synonymous with comedy. His show “…But First, Sammy Shore!” is extended through Sept. 1, but why wait? Take in some laughs at 5:30 p.m. Sundays only. $17.50 (general), discounts available for students, teachers, seniors and groups of 16 or more. The Other Space at Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica. For reservations, call (310) 394-9779, ext. 1.

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27/MONDAY

It’s your moral duty to make the most of this glorious, no-work, sunshiny Monday. So pile the kids into the SUV and get your tuchus to the Old Pasadena Summer Fest. They’ve got art exhibits, a Playboy Jazz festival, food from various local restaurants and an interactive Sports Zone. Just leave the picnic and dog at home–they’re not allowed. Free. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Central Park, Fair Oak Avenue (two blocks south of Colorado Boulevard), Pasadena. For more information, call (626) 797-6803.

28/TUESDAY

Mark Rothko, Piet Mondrian, Paul Cézanne and Willem de Kooning’s contributions to the world of art are undeniable. Attend a panel and open discussion on these artists’ reflections at the end of their careers, with Getty Museum Director Thomas Crow, USC professor Nancy Troy and University of Texas professor Richard Shiff. 7 p.m. Free. J. Paul Getty Museum, Harold M. Williams Auditorium, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles. For reservations, call (310) 440-7300.

They’ve given you fair warning to lock up your bunnies again. Penn and Teller are back in town, prepared to entertain you with more of their comedic magic. But better grab those tickets before they disappear — the odd couple is only around for one week this time. Runs May 28-June 2. 8 p.m. (Tuesday-Friday), 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. (Saturday), 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (Sunday). $42-$52. Wilshire Theatre, 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. For reservations, call (213) 365-3500.

29/WEDNESDAY

If you think Beethoven is yawn-inducing or stale, consider the Ojai Music Festival, where classical works annually get freshened up. This year, the festival is built around two contemporary forces: the Emerson String Quartet and pianist Marino Formenti. The Emersons will link the final quartets of Shostakovich with those of Beethoven, while Formenti plans on three performances that will include music composed by Jewish prisoners in Nazi camps. Continues through Sunday, June 2. For more information, call (805) 646-2094

30/THURSDAY

God and some contemporary literary works have inspired Greenway Art Alliance’s two-part, one-act series, “Acts of Love and Redemption.” Series A consists of adaptations of Philip Roth’s “The Conversion of the Jews,” Flannery O’Connor’s “The River” and Judy Blume’s “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.” All three explore our sometimes peculiar relationships with the Almighty. 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays through June 7. $15. Greenway Court Theatre, 544 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles. For reservations, call (323) 655-4402.

31/FRIDAY

Margaret Handwerker (aptly named) really does spin tales. Working on a large loom using hand-dyed and hand-spun wools, Handwerker creates colorful tapestries that incorporate biblical images and stories. Two of her works, “Six Days of Creation” and “Noah’s Ark,” will be displayed through Aug. 25 at the Skirball Cultural Center. noon-5 p.m. (Tuesday-Saturday), 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (Sunday). $8 (general), $6 (seniors and students), free (members and children under 12). 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, call (310) 440-4500.