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Press Contacts: Anne Scher/Alex Wittenberg, 212.423.3271,

PRESS PREVIEW: Tuesday, November 1, 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM


New York, NY - The Jewish Museum is presenting Jem Cohen: NYC Weights and Measures, a video installation, from November 4, 2011 to March 25, 2012 in the Museum’s Barbara and E. Robert Goodkind Media Center. In this 2006 video (6 min. 15 sec.), Jem Cohen chronicles a city that exudes noise and bustle, balanced with beauty and tranquility. A ticker-tape parade, subway riders’ daily commute, and a man pausing for a cigarette all become moments of observation and reflection. Overlaid with an intricate soundscape that includes fragments of street music, the film evokes the city’s fast-paced rhythms juxtaposed with quieter, more contemplative moments. Cohen writes, “Sometimes I just wander around with my camera -- I like to see what comes around the corner, and sometimes I just like the corner itself.”

This installation is presented in conjunction with The Jewish Museum’s new exhibition, The Radical Camera: New York’s Photo League, 1936-1951. Cohen’s choice of subject matter and his approach to filmmaking reveal an intense interest in documenting urban social life, particularly as it plays out on the streets. His work is influenced by street photography traditions such as those seen in the work of the Photo League, a group of activist photographers in New York in the 1930s and 1940s.

Jem Cohen is a New York-based filmmaker who mixes documentary, narrative, and experimental genres, often building from his own ongoing archive of street footage, portraits and sound. His video, Lost Book Found, was screened at The Jewish Museum in 2004. Cohen’s work has been featured at various festivals and on television. His feature film Chain premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival, was broadcast on Arte and the Sundance Channel, and won an Independent Spirit Award. Benjamin Smoke, co-directed with Peter Sillen, was selected for festivals including Berlin, Edinburgh, Melbourne, London, and Vancouver.

Located on the third floor of The Jewish Museum, the Goodkind Media Center houses a digital library of radio and television programs from the Museum’s National Jewish Archive of Broadcasting (NJAB). It also features a changing exhibition space dedicated to video and new media. Using computer workstations, visitors are able to search material by keyword and by categories such as art, comedy, drama, news, music, kids, Israel, and the Holocaust.

Media programs at The Jewish Museum are supported by the Martin and Doris Payson Fund for Film and Media.

About the National Jewish Archive of Broadcasting

The National Jewish Archive of Broadcasting, founded in 1981 in association with the Charles H. Revson Foundation, is the largest and most comprehensive body of broadcast materials on 20th century Jewish culture in the United States. With a mission to collect, preserve and exhibit television and radio programs related to the Jewish experience, the NJAB is an important educational resource for critical examination of how Jews have been portrayed and portray themselves, and how the mass media has addressed issues of ethnicity and diversity. Its collection is comprised of 4,300 broadcast and cable television and radio programs.

About The Jewish Museum

Widely admired for its exhibitions and collections that inspire people of all backgrounds, The Jewish Museum is one of the world’s preeminent institutions devoted to exploring the intersection of art and Jewish culture from ancient to modern times. The Jewish Museum organizes a diverse schedule of internationally acclaimed and award-winning temporary exhibitions as well as broad-based programs for families, adults, and school groups. The Museum was established in 1904, when Judge Mayer Sulzberger donated 26 ceremonial art objects to The Jewish Theological Seminary of America as the core of a museum collection. Today, a collection of 26,000 objects is maintained – paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, archaeological artifacts, ceremonial objects, and broadcast media. The collection is among the three largest of its kind in the world and is distinguished by its breadth and quality. It is showcased in the vibrant, two-floor permanent exhibition, Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey, examining the Jewish experience as it has evolved from antiquity to the present.

General Information

Museum hours are Saturday through Wednesday, 11am to 5:45pm; and Thursday, 11am to 8pm. Museum admission is $12.00 for adults, $10.00 for senior citizens, $7.50 for students, free for children under 12 and Jewish Museum members. Admission is free on Saturdays. For general information on The Jewish Museum, the public may visit the Museum’s Web site at or call 212.423.3200. The Jewish Museum is located at 1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street, Manhattan.

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PLEASE NOTE: Digital images of this work are available upon request.

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The Jewish Museum - 5th Avenue
1109 5th Ave at 92nd St
New York NY 10128