The top events this week, as curated by our arts and culture editors…
We are fragile, helpless and destined to die: Michal Rovner, a pioneering Israeli artist, addresses these ingrained truths about the human condition through photography, film, installation and video. Often relating her art to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Rovner uses historical objects and symbols from both sides, then alters them beyond recognition until they lose their original meaning. In her 2006 work “Makom” (Place), for example, Israeli and Palestinian masons and artisans use stones from destroyed Palestinian and Israeli houses to build large, abstracted and unified new spaces. Her new solo show, “Evolution,” features a collection of older video works and prints, as well as new works and a major video installation. — Through June 23, Pace Gallery, 537 W. 24th St., (212) 421-3292, pacegallery.com.
CHAIM SOUTINE: FLESH
Considered one of the 20th century’s great still-life painters, Chaim Soutine, who died in 1943, was a double outsider — an immigrant Jew living in Paris and a modernist. Soutine studied traditional still-lifes — careful, elaborate and minutely detailed — at the Louvre and then created visceral, expressionist paintings of tortured animal carcasses, establishing a parallel between the animal and human, beauty and pain. This exhibition features more than 30 paintings depicting hanging fowl, beef carcasses and rayfish. The New Yorker hailed it as “potent … timely … elegantly curated.” — Through Sept. 16, Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave., (212) 423-3200, thejm.org.
TIKKUN LEIL SHAVUOT 2017
In what has become a Manhattan Shavuot tradition, thousands of Jews gather on the Upper West Side to study, watch films, listen to music, dance, practice yoga, eat cheesecake and more at Stay the Night, the Paul Feig z’l Tikkun Leil Shavuot. This year’s lineup includes Ruth Messinger, former president of American Jewish World Service (AJWS); Israeli-American author Ruby Namdar, winner of Israel’s Sapir Prize for literature; the cast of the Broadway musical “The Band’s Visit,” a special screening of the hit Israeli TV show “Commandments” and more. Come for an hour or stay for the night, it’s free either way. — Saturday, May 19-Sunday, May 20, 10 p.m.-4:15 a.m., Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4444, jccmanhattan.org.
ONE OF THOSE — A YIDDISH PLAY
Millennial Judith Zaltsman cannot resign herself to the recent loss of her mother, nor can she bear her father’s second wife taking her mother’s place. Unable to remain at home, and with no options available, the strong-willed Judith makes some fateful choices. A staged reading of Paula Prilutski’s rediscovered heyday-of-Yiddish-theater work. — Monday, May 14, 7 p.m., YIVO Institute, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 246-6080, yivo.org.
The matriarch Rebecca played favorites among her sons, Esau and Jacob, believing one to be the rightful heir. This play marries that narrative to the story of the city of Charleston, S.C. The city becomes a mother playing favorites among her children, white and black. Through a series of scenes and monologues, two actors explore rivalry, racism and how each brother reacts when the roles are reversed. Part of The In[heir]itance Project’s “The Genesis Plays,” a national theater series created to put communities in conversation with stories from the Torah. — Friday, May 11, 7 p.m., Theater at the 14th Street Y, 344 E. 14th St., 2nd floor, (212) 780-0800, 14streety.org.
At 84, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. A documentary from Betsy West and Julie Cohen, “RBG” explores Ginsburg’s unique life, career and legacy. Co-produced by Storyville Films and CNN Films. — In wide release.
Set in 1962 Poland and composed of austerely gorgeous black-and-white images, Pawel Pawlikowski’s film follows the path of a young novitiate nun, who, on the verge of taking her vows, discovers that she is Jewish and embarks on a road trip into the Polish countryside with her aunt to learn the fate of their family. It won the 2015 Oscar for best foreign-language film. — Saturday, May 12, 7 p.m. and Monday, May 14, 4:30 p.m., Quad Cinema, 34 W. 13th St., (212) 255-2243, quadcinema.com.
ISRAELI JAZZ SPOTLIGHT
Curated by Israeli-American bassist Or Bareket, Cornelia’s monthly “Israeli Jazz Spotlight” features Uru, an avant-garde piano trio lead by composer and pianist Daniel Sarid, and up-and-coming bassist/composer Almog Sharvit. — Wednesday, May 16, 8 p.m., Sarid, 9:30 p.m., Sharvit, Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia St., (212) 989-9319, corneliastreetcafe.com.
BANG ON A CAN MARATHON
Bang on a Can, the multifaceted contemporary classical music organization the San Francisco Chronicle described as “the country’s most important vehicle for contemporary music,” presents its annual one-day marathon. Showcasing boundary-busting music from around the world, it features 10 hours of performances by veteran and upcoming musicians alike, including “cello goddess” (The New Yorker) Maya Beiser, the Ethel string quartet, soprano Eliza Bagg and many more. — Sunday, May 13, noon-10 p.m., NYU Skirball, 566 LaGuardia Place, (718) 852-7755. Visit bangonacan.org for a full lineup.
MOTHERS DAY BRUNCH WITH METROPOLITAN KLEZMER
City Winery’s 9th Annual Special Mother’s Day Brunch features the noted Metropolitan Klezmer; known for its sweeping arrangements and versatile ensemble playing, the quintet blends downtown, classical and world music into a danceable neo-traditional Yiddish repertoire. — Sunday, May 13, 10 a.m. doors, 11 a.m. concert, City Winery, 155 Varick St., (212) 608-0555, citywinery.com/newyork/tickets. $28, brunch included.
EHUD BARAK WITH JODI RUDOREN
In 2000, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak met at Camp David with Yasir Arafat and Bill Clinton to chart a path toward peace. The summit ended in failure. In his new memoir, “My Country, My Life: Fighting for Israel, Searching for Peace,” Barak returns to that critical moment — and the lifetime that led up to it. He’ll discuss his work with Jodi Rudoren, associate managing editor of The New York Times. — Tuesday, May 15, 7:30 p.m., 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., (212) 415-5500, 92y.org.
WOMEN OF THE WALL
Lesley Sachs, executive director of Women of the Wall (WOW), shares the story of WOW — its history, successes, and challenges — and its role in building gender neutralism at the Kotel. — Saturday, May 19, 12:30 – 2 p.m., Congregation Shaare Zedek, 214 W. 97th St., (212) 874-7005, sznyc.org.
EXILE IS HOME
The personal history of Oded Halahmy, one of New York’s most acclaimed Israeli-American sculptors, has been shaped by exile, migration and travels. Born in Iraq, raised in Israel, educated in London and currently traveling between homes here and in old Jaffa, Halahmy fills his work with images evocative of the cultures he is connected to. “Exile is Home” includes over 100 works representing his work from the mid-1960s to the present. — Through July 1, Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse, (718) 681-6000, bronxmuseum.org.
ROMANCE AND REASON
Bringing together an exceptional group of rare Islamic manuscripts, the exhibit “Romance and Reason: Islamic Transformations of the Classical Past” features 24 illustrated and illuminated manuscripts from the collections of the National Library of Israel; they testify to the fertile relationship between medieval Islam and the classical world. Organized by NYU’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) in partnership with the NLI. — Through May 13, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, 15 E. 84th St., isaw.nyu.edu/exhibitions.
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