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New York, NY (January 13, 2005) - Yeshiva University Museum Presents “Having Trouble to Pray” by Moico Yaker from February 6 - May 1, 2005.

An existential crisis assumes fantastical dimensions in “Having Trouble to Pray,” Moico Yaker's lush, lyrical and sometimes whimsical series chronicling his attempts to “draw” the prayer he is unable to physically perform.

The flora and fauna of Yaker's native Peru take center stage and tefillin take on a life of their own in the artist's strange and beautiful imagery. The prayer-challenged protagonist attempts to fulfill his obligation even as he is tied with his own straps to a banana tree, carried away by butterflies, and balances on the nose of a seal, along with other misadventures. In other works in the show, kabalistic imagery materializes in the rain forest and rabbis emerge from hiding places in the jungle.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with essays by Yaker, Yeshiva University Museum director Sylvia A. Herskowitz, Yeshiva University Museum curator of contemporary exhibitions Reba Wulkan, and essayist and novelist Jonathan Rosen.

Yaker, who grew up in the Peruvian highlands of Arequipa, lives and works in Lima and New York. He was the subject of a retrospective at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in Monterrey, Mexico, in 1996. He has appeared in the Havana Biennial, Cuba (1991), the Sao Paolo Biennial, Brazil (1998), and many other solo and group shows internationally. His most recent exhibition, “Nuevos Puestos,” at the Forum Gallery in Lima, was praised by Luis Lama in the Peruvian newsmagazine Caretas as being “baroque and sensual...the most significant reflection on art and history that we have seen, in plastic terms, so far this century.” Paintings from this show, along with other recent work, are on view during the month of February at Yaker's studio at 526 West 26th Street in New York. Information is available at moicoyaker.com or by calling 917-428-3653.

“Having Trouble to Pray” is accompanied by Jaime Permuth's “Manhattan Mincha Map,” an exhibition that tackles the subject of prayer from another perspective. Permuth, a photographer from Guatemala, followed the ÒManhattan Mincha Map,” a geographic listing of the locations in downtown New York where Jewish men congregate to recite the afternoon prayer. His images documenting his journey are on view at Yeshiva University Museum from January 30 -June 19, 2005.

Both exhibits provide the impetus for two panel discussions to be held in the Leo & Julia Forchheimer Auditorium at the Center for Jewish History. The first, “Having Trouble to Pray,” Wednesday, March 2, 2005 at 7:00 p.m., presents two prominent scholars, Professor Alan Brill, Yeshiva University, and Rabbi Avi Weiss, senior rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and dean of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, who will offer intellectual and spiritual insights into the subject of prayer, while writer Erica Schachter Schwartz will elaborate on “Struggling with Prayer,” her recently article in the The Jewish Week. Both artists, Yaker and Permuth, will explain what led them to their creative explorations in the realm of prayer. The second panel, “Latin American Art and Identity,” Wednesday, March 23 at 7 p.m., will be moderated by Julian Zugazagoitia, director, El Museo del Barrio, with participants Ilan Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor of Latin American and Latino Culture, Amherst College; Rabbi Marcelo Bronstein, Congregation B'nai Jeshurun; and Julia P. Herzberg, art historian and independent curator.

About Yeshiva University Museum
Since its founding in 1973, Yeshiva University Museum's changing contemporary art and historical exhibits have celebrated the culturally diverse intellectual and artistic achievements of over 3,000 years of Jewish experience. In 2000, Yeshiva University Museum moved to the Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York City, where it occupies four spacious galleries, a children's workshop center, and an outdoor sculpture garden. Other features of the building include a 250-seat auditorium, a shop, and the glatt kosher Date Palm Café. Visit www.yumuseum.org for more information about Yeshiva University Museum.
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