For immediate release the contemporary jewish museum presents amy winehouse: a family portrait & you know i’m no good

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July 23–November 1, 2015
(San Francisco, CA, June 1, 2015) The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) presents the exhibition Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait dedicated to the late British singer and songwriter Amy Winehouse (1983–2011). An exhibition at The Contemporary Jewish Museum in cooperation with the Jewish Museum London, in close collaboration with the Winehouse family who gave the Museum unprecedented access to Winehouse’s belongings, the exhibition is an intimate portrait of the singer at different stages of her life, from her childhood and theater school years to the early steps of her career and her rise to stardom. The CJM is the first US institution to be showing the exhibition.
Additionally, an exhibition of contemporary art organized by The CJM—titled You Know I’m No Good after a track on Winehouse’s album Back to Black (2006)—created in response to the Amy Winehouse phenomenon will be on view in an adjoining gallery. The exhibition includes work by Rachel Harrison, and new commissions by Jennie Ottinger, and Jason Jägel.
“Bringing Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait to The CJM for its US debut allows Bay Area audiences to see an exhibition they otherwise would not,” says Executive Director Lori Starr. “And it continues The Museum’s exploration of Jewish journeys through the musical community and music industry with shows such as Hardly Strictly Warren Hellman and Black Sabbath: The Secret Musical History of Black-Jewish Relations and continuing with Bill Graham in 2016. This particular exhibition is truly a love letter to Winehouse from her family, and its intimacy makes you feel as if you have been invited into her home. It is a moving experience for everyone, fan or not.”
Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait
Amy Winehouse was an international phenomenon, with multiple hit singles such as Rehab (2006) and You Know I’m No Good (2006), her Grammy Award-winning album Back to Black (2006), and critical acclaim for her live performances. Behind her celebrity status and troubled life portrayed in the tabloids, Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait is an occasion to discover the singer’s Jewish roots, London life, and passion for music through a display of her belongings and stories shared by her older brother, Alex Winehouse. Four years after her tragic death, the exhibition is an affectionate portrait and heartfelt homage to her life. “This is a snapshot of a girl who was to her deepest core simply a little Jewish kid from north London with a big talent,” says her brother.
Winehouse’s paternal family—originally spelled Wienhause—immigrated to England from Belarus in the late nineteenth century, and settled in London’s East End. Both her mother’s and father’s side were Jewish, and though they were not particularly religious, they shared a strong Jewish cultural identity and adhered to a number of traditions, such as celebrating Passover and gathering for Shabbat dinners. Many of Winehouse’s family members were involved with music and had an influence on her own artistic development. She especially considered her paternal grandmother Cynthia Winehouse (née Gordon) a great inspiration for her distinctive sense of fashion and her passion for jazz and big band music. Previously unseen vintage photographs and family belongings on display in A Family Portrait give a glimpse of the Winehouse family history. Winehouse’s own battered suitcase crammed with photographs of friends and family will also be on display. It is this suitcase that she insisted her father come to look through with her a couple of days before her death in 2011, at the age of twenty-seven.
Winehouse grew up in Southgate, a neighborhood in north London, with her mother Janis, father Mitch, and older brother Alex. Both her father and brother introduced her to music and contributed to developing her musical skills by singing duets at home. She and her brother shared a Regal guitar, also on display in the exhibition. Her taste in jazz, swing, and soul music developed early on, and she had an ever-growing collection of LP records by musicians such as Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, and Sarah Vaughan, many of which are included in the exhibition. At the age of thirteen, she auditioned for the performing arts school Sylvia Young Theatre School in London; the exhibition features her audition essay, which contains many gems revealing Winehouse’s personality, as well as one of her live school performances.
In 2006, Winehouse’s second album, Back to Black, changed her life and career, and propelled her to international stardom in just a few months. She then toured the world, gave concerts, and received awards for her songwriting and performances. The exhibition features many mementos from her successful career such as flyers, festival badges, concert photographs, magazine covers, and one of her Grammy Awards.
Winehouse’s distinctive style, with her iconic beehive hairdo and tattoos (including one of her grandmother Cynthia), made her a favorite with press photographers. A selection of Winehouse’s clothing, both designer and high street, will be on display including the Luella Bartley dress she wore for her 2008 Glastonbury performance, an Arrogant Cat dress worn in the Tears Dry On Their Own video, and more.

The exhibition also focuses on Winehouse’s life through the streets of London, exploring her connections with her hometown through photographs of her in Southgate and in Camden Town, the area she moved to as her career took off and with which she is strongly associated. Possessions from her Camden home include a vintage bar.

In addition, A Family Portrait honors Winehouse’s legacy, notably through the Amy Winehouse Foundation that her family created soon after her death.
You Know I’m No Good
In response to the intimate look at Winehouse allowed in A Family Portrait, The CJM invited three contemporary artists to display work about the public figure of the singer. Bay Area artists Jason Jägel and Jennie Ottinger create new works for You Know I’m No Good and a selection of drawings by New York artist Rachel Harrison will also be on view.
Jägel is known for his paintings that combine text and cartoon-like figures to create dreamlike narratives that pull the viewer across the image and back again. He has also created album art for many rap and R&B musicians. For You Know I’m No Good, he is creating a mural-sized painting for the gallery wall visible from Yerba Buena Lane inspired by Winehouse and her music.
Ottinger’s paintings blur the line between childhood memory and fantasy, power and vulnerability, attraction and repulsion. Throughout her practice, she challenges the constructed rules of everyday social constructions—tennis, cheerleading, football, and most recently, the circus. For this exhibition, Ottinger is creating a stop-motion animation that pictures Winehouse among such iconic singers as Nina Simone and the Ronettes, addressing the idea of legacy for female artists specifically.
A selection of Harrison’s well-regarded drawings of Winehouse will be on view for the first time in Northern California. Harrison, who is best known for her sculptural works, presents Winehouse alongside important creative figures such as Pablo Picasso, Willem de Kooning, Gertrude Stein, and Martin Kippenberger.
Together, these three artists pay homage to Winehouse while simultaneously calling into question our society’s fanatic attraction to both genius and tragedy.

Exhibition Credits
Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait is presented at The Contemporary Jewish Museum in cooperation with the Jewish Museum London. Major sponsorship is provided by BNY Mellon Wealth Management, Gaia Fund, and Wendy and Richard Yanowitch.


You Know I’m No Good is organized by The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco. Major sponsorship is provided by BNY Mellon Wealth Management, Gaia Fund, and Wendy and Richard Yanowitch.

Media Sponsorship for Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait and You Know I’m No Good is provided by 7x7.


Major support for The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s exhibitions and Jewish Peoplehood Programs comes from the Koret Foundation.


UnderCover Presents: Amy Winehouse–The Singles

Thursday, Aug 13│6:30–9pm

Sunday, Aug 16│2–5pm

$25 general (includes Museum admission)

Three stylistically eclectic Bay Area bands honor the music of Amy Winehouse. Karina Denike, Midtown Social, and LoCura will put a new spin on the beloved artist’s work while showcasing the diversity and talent of Bay Area music.
Gallery Chat: Greil Marcus on the Interpretive Genius of Amy Winehouse

Friday, Aug 14 | 12:30–1pm

Free with Museum admission
Rock critic Greil Marcus discusses Winehouse’s unique interpretation of rock classics, drawing from his recent book The History of Rock ‘N’ Roll in Ten Songs.
Gallery Chat: Don Ed Hardy on Amy’s Tattoo

Friday, Aug 28 | 12:30–1pm

Free with Museum admission
Artist and tattoo master Don Ed Hardy discusses the history and meaning of Amy Winehouse’s tattoos.
Gallery Chat: Shaina Hammerman on The Jews of Downton Abbey

Friday, Sep 11 | 12:30–1pm

Free with Museum admission
Scholar Shaina Hammerman focuses on the story of British Jews as depicted in television and movies.
Night at the Jewseum: Soul!

Thursday, Sep 17│6–9pm

Free with Museum admission: $5 after 5pm; 21+
Get bad before you get good. The party for the afterwork crowd celebrates the Days of Awe, Amy Winehouse, and rock and roll with music, tattoos, cocktails, fashion, big hair, drag, and more. 
Gallery Chat: Bernie Steinberg Discusses Judaism and Addiction Through a Talmudic Lens

Friday, Sep 25 | 12:30–1pm

Free with Museum admission
Prestigious Jewish scholar Bernie Steinberg discusses how Judaism addresses the complex issues of addiction and abuse.
Gallery Chat: Jennie Ottinger Discusses her Installation in You Know I’m No Good

Friday, Oct 16 12:30–1pm

Free with Museum admission.
Artist Jennie Ottinger discusses the installation she created for You Know I’m No Good.
Gallery Chat: Jason Jägel Discusses his Mural in You Know I’m No Good

Friday, Oct 30 12:30–1pm

Free with Museum admission.
Artist Jason Jägel discusses the inspiration behind his mural in You Know I’m No Good.

Drop-In Art Studio

Sundays and select school holidays | 1–3pm

Create, play, and experiment with a teaching artist every Sunday. Bring your family for fun with unexpected techniques and materials. Select workshops feature explorations with guest artists, machinery, and even live music!

Album Art:
Oct 11

Inspired by the exhibition Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait, turn on your inner pop star and create your very own album cover.

Do Tears Dry on Their Own? Life Skills, Art, and Amy Winehouse
Sunday, Sep 30 | 3–6pm
Free with advance RSVP to Youth 18 and under always free.
How do stress and depression contribute to the decisions you make? Through a series of self-esteem building activities, participants reflect on their own personal strengths and attitudes, and the life skills that can guide them towards safe and healthy decisions. The workshop starts in the gallery to view the exhibition Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait, an intimate portrait of the late British singer. Next, in the art studio, participants create zines that express their shifting perspectives. Presented in partnership with Oasis for Girls. Teens and transition-age youth only.
Art IMPACT: A New Access and Community Outreach Initiative

Inspired by the Amy Winehouse Foundation’s mission of supporting and empowering youth and young adults who face life challenges through music and art education, this fall, The CJM is launching a new series of Access and Community Engagement programs in partnership with social service and community health agencies that serve a range of participants—from residential treatment programs, organizations serving young girls and women, youth development programs, and mental health organizations. Some of The Museum’s partners include Oasis for Girls, Edgewood Center for Children and Families, Girls Inc. of Oakland and Alameda, YouthFirst Program at Jewish Family and Child Services, Project SURVIVE at City College of San Francisco, and Access Institute. The goal of this program is to provide a creative and non-threatening environment where participants can explore their own personal narratives through art-making and gallery discussions. 

Access Gallery Chat: Vulnerability, Art, and Amy Winehouse

Thursday, Oct 1 | 5:30–6pm

Free with Museum admission. Youth 18 and under always free.

Bart Magee and Stephen Hartman from the Access Institute for Psychological Services present this discussion in the gallery exploring the nexus of creativity, fame, crisis, and when the demands of performance and exposure unsettle the artist’s world.
Art Beyond Sight: Musical Tour & Art Studio

Sunday, Oct 18 | Tour: 11:30am–12:30pm Art: 1–3pm

Free with Museum admission. Youth 18 and under always free.
Join Art Beyond Sight Awareness Day with a musical experience inspired by Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait; performances by Lick Wilmerding High School Choir, members of The SFJAZZ High School All-Stars, and Andrea Guskin. Followed by a jazz art studio with music.
Opportunity for individuals who have low-vision or who are blind to explore The Museum through sensory tools, verbal description, and music.

About The Contemporary Jewish Museum
With the opening of its new building on June 8, 2008, The Contemporary Jewish Museum ushered in a new chapter in its twenty-plus year history of engaging audiences and artists in exploring contemporary perspectives on Jewish culture, history, art, and ideas. The facility, designed by internationally renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, is a lively center where people of all ages and backgrounds can gather to experience art, share diverse perspectives, and engage in hands-on activities. Inspired by the Hebrew phrase “L’Chaim” (To Life), the building is a physical embodiment of The CJM’s mission to bring together tradition and innovation in an exploration of the Jewish experience in the twenty-first century.
Major support for The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s exhibitions and Jewish Peoplehood Programs comes from the Koret Foundation. The Museum also thanks the Jim Joseph Foundation for its major support of innovative strategies for educating and engaging audiences in Jewish learning. Additional major support is provided by an Anonymous donor; Alyse and Nathan Mason Brill; The Covenant Foundation; Gaia Fund; the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund; The Hearst Foundations; Walter and Elise Haas Fund; the Hellman Family; the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties; Maribelle and Stephen Leavitt; the Bernard Osher Jewish Philanthropies Foundation of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund; Osterweis Capital Management; Dorothy R. Saxe; Target; and Wendy and Richard Yanowitch.
For more information about The Contemporary Jewish Museum, visit The Museum’s website at

For media information or visuals visit our online press gallery or please contact:

The Contemporary Jewish Museum

Nina Sazevich

Public Relations
Melanie Samay
Marketing and Communications Manager
General Information

The Museum is open daily (except Wednesday) 11am–5pm and Thursday, 11am–8pm. Museum admission is $12 for adults, $10 for students and senior citizens with a valid ID, and $5 on Thursdays after 5pm. Youth 18 and under always get in free. For general information on The Contemporary Jewish Museum, the public may visit The Museum’s website at or call 415.655.7800. The Contemporary Jewish Museum is located at 736 Mission Street (between Third & Fourth streets), San Francisco.

About Jewish Museum London

The Jewish Museum London is for people of all backgrounds and faiths to explore Jewish heritage and identity as part of the wider story of Britain. Displayed across four permanent galleries, the huge variety of objects, photography, hands-on exhibits, and personal stories paint a rich and nuanced picture of British Jewish life and history. The only museum in London dedicated to a minority community; the museum also houses a café, shop, 100-seat auditorium, and education space.

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