Artist Yael Kanarek at CU

CU’s Program in Jewish Studies and the CU Art Museum together with the Boulder community collaborative series, Movers: Do You Speak Jewish? welcomes New York artist Yael Kanarek for a unique performance that examines how language and numbers create an emotional landscape.

Yael Kanarek (b. United States 1967) Untitled (L'Origine), 2008 nails and 1,155 rubber text units in English, Arabic, Hebrew, Yiddish Courtesy bitforms gallery, nyc Photo: Jeff Wells © Yael Kanarek On view in the CU Art Museum exhibition, archiTECHtonica through December 18, 2010.

Inspired by her own upbringing in Israel, Kanarek draws from the multilingual landscape of her childhood working with Hebrew, Arabic, English and Yiddish in her large-scale installation currently on display at the CU Art Museum as part of the museum’s inaugural show, archiTECHtonica.
This piece titled, Untitled (L’Origine) uses the word “eye” in these four languages to create an eye-shaped portal. The piece references both the human eye and the “evil eye,” a symbol that runs through numerous cultural and religious traditions of the Middle East, including Jewish, Arabic, Muslim and Christian cultures emanating from that region.

Kanarek’s work explores how languages shape space and how their presence signifies cultural territory and sovereignty. Her multidisciplinary performance on November 9 at 7:00 pm in the new CU Art Museum’s Visual Arts Complex Auditorium room 1B20, will demonstrate how one crosses from one world to another; what it means to root oneself in the difference between cultures. Through her internet artworks, sculptures, wall works and computational video projects, she will articulate the experience of living in more than one language. Her presentation will examine how we are interconnected despite feeling separate.

Yael Kanarek holds an MFA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. Her creative practice centers on the fundamental hypothesis that language and numerals produce a type of reality. Also known for her performances and the creation of artwork on the internet,  Kanarek explores how numeric and alphabetic characters operate an emotional landscape. Employing different modes of authorship, such as storytelling, computer code, and incorporating multiple languages, her most recent projects highlight connection and rejection.

Kanarek is the recipient of the Netizens Webprize, the CNRS/UNESCO Lewis Carroll Prix Argos in France, and the Rockefeller New Media Fellowship. She is the founder of Upgrade! International, a network of gatherings concerning art, technology and culture ( Her work has been shown around the world including exhibitions at the 2002 Whitney Biennial; Beral Madra Contemporary Art, Istanbul; The Drawing Center, New York; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens; The Jewish Museum, New York; American Museum of the Moving Image, New York; and Ronald Feldman Fine
Arts Gallery, New York. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art commissioned Destruction & Mending, the second chapter of World of Awe.
She is currently an honorary senior fellow at Eyebeam Atelier and represented
by Bitforms Gallery.

Guests are encouraged to view her piece currently on display in the CU Art Museum prior to her performance. The CU Art Museum is open Monday – Friday from 10 – 5, Tuesday from 10 – 7 and Saturday from 12 – 4.  Attendees of the Yael Kanarek performance can visit the museum immediately preceding the event. Please visit the CU Art Museum website at for more information about the location of the Visual Arts Complex and the CU Art Museum.
This event is free and open to the public but RSVP’s are appreciated and can be made at or by calling the Program in Jewish Studies at 303.492.7143.

About Jamie Polliard

Assistant Director of the Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder

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