As you approach the Barbara Mendes Gallery on South Robertson Boulevard, you know you’re in for an experience. The brightly colored, psychedelic exterior of the little gallery in the SoRo neighborhood doesn’t cry out Jewish art, and neither does the gallery’s proprietor at first glance. Barbara Mendes looks every bit the ex-hippie, from her tie-dyed clothes to her funky glasses, but when she opens her mouth and starts chattering about kashrut and the Tehillim, you realize that you’re speaking to a woman who’s been on a journey to finding her very Jewish self and her Jewish art.
The mural was meant to be a collaboration: A public arts agency led the bid for its creation, the surrounding community approved its design and Chicago artist John Pitman Weber stayed in the homes of local residents while he and a team of volunteers painted it during the summer of 1993.
Fifteen years since it was last exhibited at the Spertus Museum in Chicago, Ruth Weisberg's "The Scroll," a 94-foot mixed-media painting that encompasses the Jewish feminist narrative in mural form, will be displayed at the Skirball Cultural Center as part of a mid-career retrospective of her work titled "Ruth Weisberg: Unfurled," opening Tuesday, May 8.
The call came in last Wednesday from one J.R. Durrer, an Encino resident who works in Boyle Heights. Durrer had been heading west up Seventh Street, where he caught a red light at the corner of South Boyle.
A new mural joins the A-list of great Jewish murals in Los Angeles.