Spinoza: Marrano of Reason

Amsterdam, the Netherlands


On view March 7th until March 29, 2019

The Jewish Art Salon presents Spinoza: Marrano of Reason.

The legacy of groundbreaking 17th-century Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza is the subject of an exhibition opening at Amsterdam’s historic Amstelkerk and the Plein van Siena on March 7th, 2019. The exhibition includes works by approximately 40 contemporary artists inspired by Spinoza’s philosophy and life exploring issues raised by identity, conformity, immigration, community, exile, spirituality, and more.

Spinoza, whose ancestors had fled the Inquisition for the Netherlands, had a traditional Jewish upbringing, but as a young adult came to believe that human beings should live their lives guided by reason. A brilliant introvert who did not seek to impose his ideas on others, Spinoza’s ideas nevertheless shook the world and were considered so heretical, so deviant, that he was excommunicated for life from Amsterdam’s Jewish community. Today, he is remembered for rejecting divine transcendence in favor of rationality, a concept that paved the way for the Enlightenment. The exhibition’s title refers to Spinoza and Other Heretics: The Marrano of Reason by scholar Yirmiyahu Yovel.

About the Curators:

Curators: Janet Heit (NYC) and Billha Zussman (Amsterdam)

Janet Heit is a New York-based curator known for bringing emerging artists into the cultural mainstream. She is a prior Helena Rubinstein Fellow in Museum Studies and past recipient of an NEA Grant for Art Criticism.

Curator Billha Zussman is an Israeli-Dutch artist with a longstanding interest in Spinoza. She works at Amsterdam’s Jewish Historical Museum.

Curatorial assistant: Goldie Gross (NYC)

Special thanks to the staff of the Amstelkerk and Plein van Siena.

We are deeply grateful for support from our Sponsors, the International Movers Network. and a friend of the arts who wishes to remain anonymous.