Capture This Moment: May 2021

As restrictions ease, we see significant changes compared to May 2020. Traditional graduation ceremonies are carefully held instead of drive-by celebrations, some religious institutions reopened their doors for in-person services while others continue to offer a virtual option, and outdoor recreation beckons—symbolic of long awaited freedom. All the while, social distancing and masks remained the protocol.

Hearing: Michael Heiman

The first-ever exhibition in Los Angeles by the acclaimed Israeli artist, in which she continues to excavate the histories of women who were trapped in asylums during the nineteenth century.

Waiting Room: Group Exhibition

The waiting room requires patience. It requires accepting circumstances and conditions beyond our control. It requires sitting, observing, reflecting, anticipating. Those moments, of eagerly awaiting the next step, are also when unexpected creativity might spark.

Capture This Moment: April 2021

As more and more people in the U.S. are vaccinated, safety guidelines are shifting and spring is in full bloom. During April 2021, the CDC deemed it safe for fully vaccinated people to be unmasked and socialize together in a home or outdoors.

While parts of the world face vaccine shortages, some places in the U.S. have a surplus as a result of vaccine hesitancy. Included in this collection of photos are images from Canada, which faced a surge in Covid cases. At the same time, cases in Los Angeles County are at a low point, and schools, libraries, and stores are gradually opening in adapted ways.

Capture This Moment: A Group Photo Essay to Preserve This Unique Time in Your Life

In our latest group exhibition, we see the COVID-19 vaccination distribution get underway in a range of venues—from stadium parking lots to clinics. After nearly a year, protocols to protect us from the virus are now familiar, and we carry on with medical appointments, self-care, exercise, and shopping. We glimpse higher education implementing a hybrid-teaching model, safe socializing, random acts of kindness, and lighthearted gestures. We also see the various ways restaurants adapt to stay afloat and keep customers safe—although noncompliance is occasionally evident.

Capture Life's Unexpected Year: A Group Photo Essay Documenting 2020, and How the Pandemic Shaped It

Participants in this December workshop sought to capture, through photos and statements, what made this year unique. It was a year of uncertainty, adaptation, loss, and economic hardship. A year of polarization amplified by the presidential election, the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd by police, and the politicization of wearing masks to control the spread of the virus.

CAPTURE THIS MOMENT III: A Group Photo Essay Documenting This Unique Time

As the pandemic entered its eighth month, autumn weather meant more indoor activity, the presidential campaigning meant more risks were taken, and COVID-19 cases hit record highs in parts of the USA. This setback and the longevity of the pandemic have triggered a range of feelings—from sadness and distress to gratitude and joy.

Capture This Moment II: A Group Photo Essay Documenting This Unique Time of the Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic

Participants in August’s photo workshop represented this period of the pandemic as one of uncertainty, division, and contrasts, as COVID-19 virus cases ebbed and flowed, and more lives were lost.

Capture Life's Unexpected Chapter: A Group Photo Essay Documenting the First Months of the Covid-19 Pandemic

In early spring 2020, the world was hit with the novel Coronavirus pandemic. Meeting via Zoom, participants in AJU’s photography workshop, Capture Life’s Unexpected Chapter, shared stories and photos, as we worked together to document everyone’s experience and observations. We invite you to browse through this collective photo essay, which begins with personal stories that recognize broader and common experiences and concerns. 

Emotional Labor

This group exhibition reflects the nuanced, conflicted relationships between what appears on the surface, social expectations and disappointment, and what is forcefully concealed.

The term Emotional Labor was coined by Berkeley sociologist Arlie Hochschild in 1983, referring to the work being done to control one’s emotions, as required by certain professions. Hochschild described a phenomenon that impacts relations of labor, considering service industries in which workers are required to demonstrate different emotions than what they are experiencing. A canonical example is flight attendants, who are required to smile and remain friendly and calm even when facing stressful situations.

Compressor Cycle

In the space of The Project Room, Holocaust is greeted by soft winds, blowing from fans suspended in metal contraptions. They are trapped, locked into an endless state of hovering. One fan faces down upon a soccer ball. Another is pointed directly at the shut eyes of the sculpture. As David Muenzer has observed, while the drawings Herz creates using the software Illustrator shape a virtual vectored space devoid of alterations, his sculptural installations perpetuate traces of changes made to the objects.[2] The cables, switches, extension chords, all become part of the corporeal, three-dimensional drawing that is the space, which traverses lines with the curves and twists of mechanical machinery.

Christy Roberts Berkowitz: The Distance Between the Grooves in My Fingerprint

The Distance Between the Grooves in My Fingerprint, a solo exhibition by the LA artist and organizer Christy Roberts Berkowitz. The new video, installation, mixed-media, and text works in this show examine the diverging and overlapping cultural landscapes of fact and fiction and communal and individual narratives through reference to the artist’s dual colonial Mayflower and Russian-Jewish refugee heritage.


The artists shown in this exhibition merge revolutionary impulses with re-considerations of the powers and functions of the work of art. They re-envision society as they re-define the use of canvases, wreckage, and urbanscapes. Seen together, their works might reveal a lineage of subversion of modes of representation, of firm belief in the connections between social strife and artistic expression. Free Radicals aims to highlight some of those possible connections, and account for their presence within the work.

Chain Reaction: Views from the AJU Collection

The exhibition culminates the artists’ shared exploration of texts and narratives in which space remains in flux, ungraspable and undetermined, and where questions regarding personal and communal traditions and rituals might surface. The flows of transformation and transition then take physical form in the shared space of the exhibition.

Imagine: Annual Student and Faculty Exhibition

We proudly present our annual Imagine exhibition, showcasing projects by faculty and students of the Soraya Sarah Nazarian Program in the Fine Arts. Every year, the students submit their works for consideration for this multi-disciplinary anticipated event, which celebrates creativity, experimental spirit, and the ongoing investigation of ideas, images, and personal journeys.

Moments of Waking Up: Avital Burg and Ester Schneider

The exhibition culminates the artists’ shared exploration of texts and narratives in which space remains in flux, ungraspable and undetermined, and where questions regarding personal and communal traditions and rituals might surface. The flows of transformation and transition then take physical form in the shared space of the exhibition.

Broken Cisterns: Eliyahu Fatal (Eli Petel)

Broken Cistern is the first US solo exhibition by Eliyahu Fatal (Eli Petel), one of the most significant artists working in Israel today. The exhibition reflects the artist’s interest  of transportation of objects and bodies and the identity formations and cultural shifts that result, here manifested in the artist’s choice to exhibit for the first time under the name Eliyahu Fatal – Fatal being his family’s original Iraqi-Jewish name before its encounter with, and subsequent erasure by, the Zionist project.

This is Not Halfway: Gal Amiram and Sasha Dothan

This is Not Halfway is the third and final iteration of the exhibition series Chapters in Israeli Art.  Observing the works of emerging Israeli artists, this exhibition delves into the meeting points of personal and national identities and their fluctuating transformations. Specifically, it examines the impact of L.A. from the viewpoint of Israeli artists that have made it their home. Suggesting the urban landscape is a central protagonist of the artistic action, this exhibition traces the city in the work and the work within the city.

RE:Formation of the Jewish Body

The exhibition explores the cultural perception and transformation of the Jewish male body via its emergence in pop culture and media, modernist and contemporary art, as well as ephemera and sports, from the early twentieth century to the present.

This visual path of representations begins with biblical figures; traverses the character of the “Wandering Jew” and the “Shtetl Jew” in European culture, which was perceived as weak, feminine and defeated; explores the active, confident “Muscle Jews,” conceived by early Zionist thinking; and addresses the contemporary subversive representations of sensual and even taboo-breaking contemporary Jewish masculinities in both American and Israeli cultures.

Imagine: Annual Student & Faculty Exhibition

AJU proudly presents the annual exhibition of students of the Nazarian Fine Arts Program. Every year, the students submit their works for consideration for this multi-disciplinary anticipated event, which celebrates creativity, experimental spirit, and the ongoing investigation of ideas, images, and personal journeys.

Launch Sites L.A.: Ezra Orion Revisited

Ezra Orion (1934-2015) was an Israeli sculptor, poet, and thinker. In his work, he sought to exceed the dimensions of institutions, gallery walls and urban space, and focus on sculpture that would envelop the spectators, contain them, and evoke a spiritual, existential experience. During his art studies, Orion focused on iron and stone sculptures in dimensions suited for gallery spaces. In the desert, he began creating situations, moments, and environments designed to serve as “launch sites” for human consciousness, to explore the transcendent and the cosmic. This exhibition presents Orion’s principal fields of action: from desert expanses, through movements and changes in the Earth’s surface, to outer space.

Dan Levenson: SKZ Monochrome Diptychs

Dan Levenson’s practice centers on the SKZ, as an academy of his own invention. In his studio, Levenson fabricated schoolroom furniture, visual experimentations, curriculum and creative guidelines. The SKZ is modelled in the spirit of modernist art schools of early twentieth century, and as such, the students are carefully trained in its strict style and visual perspective. This most recent iteration of the project exposes an empty classroom. Perhaps the students had just left for a break, perhaps they deserted it long ago. They have been practicing monochromes, we can see on their tables. The paintings are in different stages of decay. It is a frozen scene that invites the viewer, the visitor, to wander through an open rip in space and time.

Unbound Recollections

Hagar Cygler and Yair Agmon share an interest in the material presence of photography, and its intricate relationships with memory. Seen together, their work juxtapose different, relevant and thought-provoking understandings of the role photography plays in the shaping of communal and private histories, and the impact of such narrative over institutional frameworks and familial existence.