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Final Mourner’s Kaddish: 333 Days in Paintings by Max Miller

Preview Begins February 26, 2009
March 24 - August 16, 2009

Kehilath Jeshurun New York City
Light penetrates
Soaring ceiling
It emits spirituality

New York, NY: Though the form varies, humanity’s expression of mourning transcends time, society, and culture. In “Final Mourner’s Kaddish: 333 Days in Paintings by Max Miller,” the artist’s grief provides the inspiration for a vivid, moving, and cathartic account of his year spent saying Kaddish, the Jewish prayer of mourning, for his father. The paintings will be on display at Yeshiva University Museum from February 26 through August 16, 2009.

The 50 vibrant watercolors, considered by the artist to be a coherent unit, are painted on paper. They depict the synagogues Mr. Miller visited in New York, Vermont, Ohio, and Florida. Accompanying the images is the artist’s commentary, based on his thoughts, feelings and experiences with those he met during this pursuit. While honoring the Jewish tradition of memorializing a parent, he came to learn a great deal about his father and their shared heritage.

Mr. Miller is known for his abstract paintings that embrace color and line, as well as his figurative paintings of human and animal subjects. He has had exhibitions in New York City and throughout the East Coast. He received his BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and MFA from Yale University. He has been awarded numerous fellowships, including a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and two Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grants.

After the death of his father, Murray A. Miller, who grew up Orthodox, with Yiddish as his first language, Mr. Miller chose to undertake the custom of saying Kaddish, a prayer of mourning exalting the name of God, which is recited in the presence of a congregation daily for eleven months.

“The Kaddish provided me with time to grieve and reflect on spiritual aspects of life and death,” said Mr. Miller, “and because of this I felt compelled to create images that captured my response to what I was experiencing.”

As an historic record and for personal reasons, he created a watercolor of each place he said Kaddish. The exhibition also features a stunning portrait of Miller’s father against a silver leaf background – an image of iconic and descriptive power that sets the tone for the show.

Each image is distinct—in its orientation, composition and focus. Depictions range from exterior to interior, from human to architectural portraits, from limited to wide-ranging color schemes. As a whole, the collection of works suggests the diversity of the social and religious settings that Mr. Miller frequented, as well as the breadth of personal transformation and learning he experienced over the course of those eleven months.

While saying Kaddish has formally ended for Mr. Miller, bringing this project to fruition provides an opportunity for those within the Jewish community, and for those in other communities, of all ages, to witness and honor the tradition of the Mourner’s Kaddish, and to reflect on their own humanity and spiritual journeys.

Exhibition Sponsor: New York Foundation for the Arts

About Yeshiva University Museum
For 35 years, the Yeshiva University Museum has provided culturally diverse exhibitions and programming for the greater metropolitan area and beyond, as well as to Yeshiva University students, faculty, and alumni. Its permanent collection includes more than 9,000 objects spanning over 3,000 years of Jewish history. The Museum also emphasizes teaching schoolchildren and adults of diverse backgrounds about Jewish culture through many varieties of interdisciplinary programs. Located at the Center for Jewish History, the Museum occupies four spacious galleries, a children’s workshop center, and an outdoor sculpture garden.

Listing Information:
What: Final Mourner’s Kaddish: 333 Days in Paintings by Max Miller
When: Preview begins February 26, 2009; Open from March 24 – August 16, 2009
Where: 15 West 16th Street (between 5th & 6th Aves), NYC
Hours: Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: 11 am – 5 pm
FREE Mondays @ YUM, 3:30-7:30 pm
Admission: $8 for Adults; $6 for seniors and students and children (ages 5 – 16)
FREE Members and children under 5; FREE with valid Yeshiva University ID card

Public Information: 212-294-8330 www.yumuseum.org

Press Inquiries: Yeshiva University Museum 212-294-8330 [email protected]
Ilyse Fink/Lauren Sanne 212-575-4545 [email protected]; [email protected]
Linden Alschuler & Kaplan, Public Relations


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