Past Special Exhibitions
Stories we’ve told in our dynamic gallery space
Our 1,000-square-foot Special Exhibition space on the second floor of the Museum tells nuanced stories of intertwining Southern and Jewish identities.
May 27, 2021 – December 31, 2022
“Shalom Y’all: A Snapshot of Southern Jewish Life”
Over thirty years ago, the original Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience in Utica, Mississippi, launched an ambitious initiative with project director Vicki Reikes Fox and photographer Bill Aron to capture images of rural and urban Southern Jewish communities. One trip turned into a fourteen-year-project, resulting in a unique time capsule of Southern Jewish life in the 1980s and 1990s.
For the inaugural exhibition in the Special Exhibition Gallery at the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience in New Orleans, Bill Aron and Vicki Reikes Fox returned to this rare collection of photographs and worked with MSJE curator Anna Tucker to create a retrospective exhibition of over forty selections with themes ranging from “Sacred Connections” and “Earning a Living” to “Changing Communities” and “A Sense of Place.”
January 26, 2023 – May 31, 2023
“God, Goats and Pickup Trucks: Maurice Schmidt’s Visions of Texas”
By turns rural and religious, Jewish Texan artist Maurice Schmidt’s bold, colorful work celebrates the deep connection between the land and the divine that has come to characterize life in the so-called Bible Belt. This collection of 23 artworks, including paintings, sketches, prints and sculpture, ranges over the diverse Texas landscape through subjects both pastoral and holy: farmhands transport livestock, a matador soars over a bull, three men in prayer shawls carry Torah scrolls.
Full of movement and meaning, Schmidt’s work is a dramatic exploration of Southerness inspired by Jewishness, expressed in a visual, sensory medium. “There are holy spaces between the soil and the tractor above (where the crops will grow), between trees and their shade,” Schmidt has said, noting that “art that would praise God must touch the human heart.”