Shmattes

Shmattes

A unique exhibition comprising of various contemporary Jewish-themed paraphernalia 

On view: December 8, 2015 to April 1, 2016

Center for Jewish History

A new exhibit surveys the numerous ways in which hip, secular, young American Jews wear their Jewishness on their sleeves, literally speaking. With various contemporary, funny, edgy Jewish-themed T-shirts on display, Shmattes will challenge the common ways we think of American Jewishness today. Featuring t-shirts ranging from celebrated brands as LA-based Unkosher Market, politically savvy independent artists selling their work globally, Shmattes has a special tee for everybody! 

“For almost three years, I have been collecting over 100 t-shirts from all over the American Jewish landscape – bat and bar mitzvahs, retail stores, independent visual artists, university Hillels, and more – that represent the multifaceted and hybridized identities of culturally Jewish people in America. This collection attempts to ‘track’ via t-shirts the ways in which American Jews have creatively dealt with what it means to identify as culturally Jewish.  Self-aware, visually striking, and often funny and provocative, these t-shirts are narratives of wildly divergent culturally Jewish identities.  With their cheeky, status-conscious treatments of what is (and what is not) Jewish, these shirts challenge the myth of a united and dominant American Jewish identity” (Anne Grant, shmattes.org).

 

Watch Rachel Lithgow, executive director of the American Jewish Historical Society, discuss the exhibit on WNBC News 4 New York.