Presenting new work by three artists, Work in Progress: Considering Utopia encourages museum visitors to consider the concept of utopia both in a Jewish context and from a contemporary perspective that emphasizes community and participation. Two videos and five photographs by Oded Hirsch feature members of the artist's kibbutz engaging in communal activities. Ohad Meromi's striking sculptural installation inspired by the Chadar Ochel [dining hall] of the kibbutz encourages discussions about the meaning of utopia today, and Elisheva Biernoff's interactive magnet painting allows visitors to construct their own utopian vista.
Oded Hirsch and Ohad Meromi, whose work is being shown in a West Coast art museum for the first time, are both New York-based Israeli artists with personal connections to kibbutzim and a common interest in channeling the collective energy and participatory nature of the kibbutz model in their work, while also reflecting on declining idealism. San Francisco-based artist Elisheva Biernoff's interest lies in the importance of human action in the ongoing quest for utopia. This is reflected in the commissioned work she has created specifically for this exhibition that invites visitor participation.
Elisheva Biernoff (born 1980) has been commissioned to create a work specifically for the exhibition. The Tools Are in Your Hands is a magnetic wall painting of an Edenic pastoral scene. Visitors choose from hundreds of magnets to build their own utopian vistas on the wall. Another new Biernoff work, Approaching Utopia, will be visible through the window facing Yerba Buena Lane, offering a glimpse into the exhibition to an audience outside the Museum's walls. In this mural, an allegorical figure of utopia is surrounded by flags representing both historical and contemporary activist movements-the Earth Day flag, the Woman's Suffrage flag, and more.