The Bernie Madoff Scandal is Subject of Performance Art and Panel Discussion

EUGENE, Ore. -- (February 17, 2017) –  The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art continues this year’s Schnitzer Cinema “In The Street” series on Wednesday, March 8, at 7 p.m. with “A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff,” a live musical theater and media performance by Portland artist Alicia Jo Rabins. This performance will be held in the Redwood Auditorium, in the Erb Memorial Union, located on the University of Oregon campus. Also, on Thursday, March 9, at noon, a related panel discussion entitled “Betrayal and Unity: Law, Religion and the Bernie Madoff Scandal” will be held in room 142 at the University of Oregon Knight Law Center. Both programs are free.


 “Rabins’ blending of live music and narration with projected animations, and the fact that she is reflecting so provocatively on the power of Wall Street, made this a perfect selection for our year-long Schnitzer Cinema series on images of the street,” says Richard Herskowitz, JSMA Curator of Media Arts.


An indie rocker, a poet and a Torah scholar, Alicia Jo Rabins created “A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff” as a one-woman, chamber-rock opera about the intersection of mysticism and finance. Her show features her violin prowess and incorporates her research into the Madoff scandal with her master’s level knowledge of Judaism. Rabins was working in an abandoned office in New York’s financial district when she became enthralled with the scandalous collapse of the infamous tycoon’s Wall Street Ponzi scheme.  She spent over a year researching and interviewing wide-ranging acquaintances of the now notorious investor.


“I found it fascinating that the system allowed him to function for 40 years, even though his returns were mathematically impossible,” Rabins says. “I thought, 'Why did the regulatory system want to believe what he was doing was real? What kind of human longing did it represent?'”


In conjunction with this performance, a panel discussion “Betrayal and Unity: Law, Religion and the Bernie Madoff Scandal” will be held on March 9, at 12 p.m. in room 142 at the University of Oregon School of Law. This discussion will offer legal, Judaic, and other perspectives on the Bernie Madoff scandal, and will be led by Andrea Coles-Bjerre, Associate Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Business Law Program; Deborah Green, Associate Professor of Religious Studies; Katherine Moyer, Instructor and Director of the Business Law Clinic; and Rabins.


“It’ll be quite exciting to explore the intersections among faith, finance and the law,” said Professor Coles-Bjerre.  “Law always involves deep moral and social dimensions and Alicia’s captivating piece is the perfect vehicle to highlight them.”


These events are cosponsored by the University of Oregon School of Law, Department of Judaic Studies, and Oregon Humanities Center.


Schnitzer Cinema continues on April 12 with “Same Streets, Different Worlds,” featuring cinematographer Jem Cohen’s “Gravity Hill Newsreels” on the Occupy Wall Street protests and a Skype Q&A with Cohen. The season will conclude on May 10, with guest artist James Nares screening some of his short film motion studies and a discussion of his media installation, “Street and Pendulum,” opening at the JSMA that same day.  The exhibition is made possible with a JSMA Academic Support Grant.


Schnitzer Cinema is sponsored by UO's Office of Academic Affairs.



About the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a premier Pacific Northwest museum for exhibitions and collections of historic and contemporary art based in a major university setting. The mission of the museum is to enhance the University of Oregon’s academic mission and to further the appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for the general public.  The JSMA features significant collections galleries devoted to art from China, Japan, Korea, America and elsewhere as well as changing special exhibition galleries.  The JSMA is one of seven museums in Oregon accredited by the American Association of Museums.


The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located on the University of Oregon campus at 1430 Johnson Lane. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Free admission is given to ages 18 and under, JSMA members, college students with ID, and University of Oregon faculty, staff and students. For information, contact the JSMA, 541-346-3027.



About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.


Contact: Debbie Williamson Smith, 541-346-0942,


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