Dwelling in a Time of Plagues: in the absence of a proper mourning
Dwelling in a Time of Plagues: “in the absence of a proper mourning” Outdoor Installation
On View through March 24, 2021 – May 18, 2021
In this uniquely challenging moment, one in which individuals are turning to art for sustenance and meaning even as the arts sector faces staggering financial challenges, the CANVAS Jewish arts and culture funding collaborative has mobilized Jewish artists, authors, artistic and cultural networks, and museums for “Dwelling in a Time of Plagues,” a Jewish creative response to the real-world plagues of our time.
The Jewish Museum of Maryland is staging the Baltimore city Dwelling installation as a way to respond to a dire community need: the creation of a public space for expressions of loss and grief. The installation is a gesture of collective care. It moves personal mourning from private places of isolation into the public arena.
This plague has forced us to rethink notions of intimacy and distance. So much of our most intimate moments, including birth and death, are now mediated through screens, which have become our windows or doorways into the worlds of others. As we approach Passover, it is worthwhile remember that doors are a central symbol of the holiday. Each year we open our doors to Elijah the Prophet as we do for the hungry and needy. But can we truly open our doors this year? Can we embrace those of us in our communities who are in need?
“in the absence of proper mourning” from artist Tal Beery transforms our public facing facade into a site for collective mourning, an outdoor installation and online space to gather testimonials from Maryland residents who have had to say goodbye or memorialize their loved ones under conditions of social distancing.
You can view this installation safely socially distanced from your vehicle or on foot at the front of JMM’s main building.
Watch the recording of the Virtual Opening here.
Learn more about the upcoming event Faiths in Morning taking place on May 5th at 7pm EST.
Photos of the Installation (by Tal Beery)
The following audio excerpts are from interviews with individuals who lost loved ones during the Covid-19 pandemic.
These interviews contain sensitive material and some viewers might find it difficult to listen to.
Interior of Aliza’s home. Digital Screenshot of Zoom Interview, 2021.
Interior of Yehuda Goldman‘s home. Digital Screenshot of Zoom Interview, 2021.
Interior of JM‘s home. Digital Screenshot of Zoom Interview, 2021.
Interior of Maria‘s home. Digital Screenshot of Zoom Interview, 2021.
Interior of Dr. Terris King‘s home. Digital Screenshot of Zoom Interview, 2021.
Interior of Stacy Schwartz Frazier’s home. Digital Screenshot of Zoom Interview, 2021.
Interior of Ilene D.’s home. Digital Screenshot of Zoom Interview, 2021.
Interior of Susan’s home. Digital Screenshot of Zoom Interview, 2021.
Resources for those greiving and looking for support:
Mental Health Resource Links (General): http://www.jlinkbalt.org/health-wellness/mental-health/
Suicide Prevention & Awareness Resource Links: http://www.jlinkbalt.org/health-wellness/suicide-prevention-awareness/
Mental and Behavioral Health/COVID: http://www.jlinkbalt.org/covid-resources/mental-and-behavioural-health-covid/
Caregivers and Family/COVID: http://www.jlinkbalt.org/covid-resources/caregivers-and-family-covid/
“in the absence of proper mourning” is a collaboration of LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture and the Jewish Museum of Maryland, made possible with the generous support of CANVAS. The work is part of the national project – Dwelling in a Time of Plagues – which makes new art possible at outdoor sites.