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Press Contacts: Anne Scher/Alex Wittenberg, 212.423.3271,

NEW YORK, NY - The Jewish Museum will present The Rite Stuff: Design and Modern Observance, a panel discussion about the role of design in modern life on Thursday, October 22 at 6:30 pm. The panel includes designer Jonathan Adler, artist Allan Wexler, writer and curator Ellen Lupton, and moderator Julie Lasky, editor of Change Observer, who will consider how rites connected with birth, marriage, death, and seasonal celebrations have changed in light of contemporary attitudes toward community, family, and the environment. Panelists will discuss how people are challenged to be both modern and traditional, and what design’s role is in bringing ritual practices up to date. This program is offered in conjunction with the new exhibition, Reinventing Ritual: Contemporary Art and Design for Jewish Life.

Panel discussion tickets are $15 for the general public; $12 for students and seniors; and $10 for Jewish Museum members. For further information regarding programs at The Jewish Museum, the public may call 212.423.3337. Tickets for programs at The Jewish Museum can now be purchased online at the Museum’s Web site,

Jonathan Adler has been celebrated for the mod shapes, vibrant colors and organic eye-popping patterns that are the signature of his work today. His business encompasses seven retail outlets in New York, Los Angeles, East Hampton, Miami, San Francisco and Chicago; a thriving interior design business; a burgeoning licensing business expanding into bedding, bath accessories, stationary, dinnerware and table linens at accessible prices; and original works sold in high-end boutiques around the world. Jonathan Adler’s designs for the home have appeared on the sets of The Today Show, Sex and the City, Will & Grace, and The Apprentice. He is the lead judge on Bravo’s reality series, Top Design, which follows the work and lives of professional designers.

Allan Wexler has worked in the fields of architecture, design and fine arts for twenty-five years. He is represented by the Ronald Feldman Gallery in New York and teaches at Parsons The New School of Design. His designs have resulted in objects, buildings and environments that blur the borderlines between architecture and sculpture. Wexler’s work has appeared in numerous national and international solo shows. He received his undergraduate degree in architecture and art from the Rhode Island School of Design and a Master of Architecture degree from Pratt Institute, and was awarded the 2004/2005 Rome Prize Fellowship in Design.

Ellen Lupton is director of the Graphic Design MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, where she also serves as director of the Center for Design Thinking. As curator of contemporary design at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum since 1992, she has produced numerous exhibitions and books, including Mechanical Brides: Women and Machines from Home to Office (1993), Mixing Messages: Graphic Design and Contemporary Culture (1996), Letters from the Avant-Garde (1996), and Skin: Surface, Substance + Design (2002). Her books include Thinking with Type (2004), D.I.Y.: Design It Yourself (2006), D.I.Y. Kids (2007, co-authored with Julia Lupton), and Design Your Life: The Pleasures and Perils of Everyday Things (2009, co-authored with Julia Lupton). Lupton is a 2007 recipient of the AIGA Gold Medal, one of the highest honors given to a graphic designer or design educator in the U.S.

Julie Lasky is the editor of Change Observer, a new Web site devoted to design for social impact, supported by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation in association with the Winterhouse Foundation. Previously, she was editor-in-chief of I.D. Magazine, after positions as editor-in-chief at Interiors and managing editor at Print. A widely published writer and critic, she has contributed to The New York Times, Metropolis, Dwell, Architecture, Slate, Surface, The National Scholar, Graphis, Grid, Print, Eye and NPR, and she is the author of two books: Borrowed Design: Use and Abuse of Historical Form (written with Steven Heller in 1993) and Some People Can’t Surf: The Graphic Design of Art Chantry (Chronicle Books, 2001).

Reinventing Ritual marks artists’ and designers’ rising interest in ritual, and features new objects and conceptual art ranging from repurposed seder plates to intricate drawings, gold jewelry to imaginative videos and installations, concrete mezuzahs to a model of an environmentalist synagogue building. This exhibition features nearly sixty innovative works, created between 1999 and 2009 by leading artists in diverse media. Outstanding examples of installation art, video, drawing, sculpture, industrial design, architecture, metalwork, textiles, jewelry, ceramics, and comics by a mix of emerging artists and accomplished leaders in the field are on view. Among the 58 artists represented are Jonathan Adler, Oreet Ashery, Helène Aylon, Deborah Grant, Sigalit Landau, Virgil Marti, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Karim Rashid, Galya Rosenfeld, Lella Vignelli, and Allan Wexler. Influences such as feminism, environmentalism, multiculturalism, and new media have impacted the works in Reinventing Ritual .

An infrared assistive listening system for the hearing impaired is available for programs in the Museum's S. H. and Helen R. Scheuer Auditorium.

This event is the Saul and Gladys Gwirtzman Program, given annually in memory of the parents of Rita J. Kaplan.

Public programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts, A State Agency.

About The Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum was established on January 20, 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, The Jewish Museum maintains an important collection of 26,000 objects – paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, archaeological artifacts, ceremonial objects, and broadcast media. Widely admired for its exhibitions and educational programs that inspire people of all backgrounds, The Jewish Museum is the preeminent institution exploring the intersection of 4,000 years of art and Jewish culture.

General Information (NEW MUSEUM HOURS)

Museum hours are Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 11am to 5:45pm; and Friday, 11am to 4pm. 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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Plan Your Visit

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