There are fires we cannot put out because they are fanned by eternity./”Do not get too close to the invisible. Its burn can be fatal,” Reb Nadler had written. –Edmund Jabes, translated from the French by Rosemarie Waldrop. Excerpt from The Book of Resemblances: The Ineffaceable The Unperceived, as quoted by Daniel Libeskind on the wall of The Jewish Museum exhibit A Hanukkah Project: Daniel Libeskind’s Line of Fire.
If you have not yet seen The Jewish Museum’s feminist painting and Houdini exhibits (which I described in my Sept. 7th, Oct. 27th and 28th articles) your procrastination is now being rewarded. Starting yesterday, in addition to the above mentioned exhibits and the permanent collection, visitors can also see two new exhibits that are part of the museum’s program Light X Eight Hanukkah 2010. In A Hanukkah Project: Daniel Libeskind’s Line of Fire 40 hanukkiot (Hanukkah menorahs–see the slideshow in the left column) selected by curator Susan Braunstein from The Jewish Museum’s permanent collection of over 500 hanukkiot are displayed on a stand designed by architect Daniel Libeskind (who is best known for such projects as his 1989 Jewish Museum in Berlin and his 2003 master plan for the World Trade Center) in a room on whose walls texts chosen by Libeskind (including the Jabes excerpt quoted above) relating to the theme of fire are displayed in white letters on bold blue panels.
For the base on which the hanukkiot are displayed Libeskind returns to his 1988 sculptural construction Line of Fire, a zigzag structure whose brilliant red color, irregular lines and quirky angles and curves (which call to this viewer’s mind switchbacks on hilly hiking trails) symbolize the continuity of Jewish existence through sudden, sometimes catastrophic, changes in circumstances. In this exhibit Libeskind’s Line of Fire also embodies the central ritual of Hanukkah–the kindling of flames in commemoration of an ancient victory for religious freedom. His red base and selection of quotes on the blue panels are intended to create an evocative metaphor for the spiritual and regenerative power of fire.
The other Light X Eight Hanukkah 2010 exhibit, Seven Artists Inspired by Hanukkah, features work by Eleanor Antin, Alice Aycock, Lynn Godley, Marc Alan Jacobs, Mike Mandel, Matthew McCaslin, and Larry Rivers related to the themes of the holiday, including three major sculptural installations relating to Hanukkah. Alice Aycock’s Greased Lightning (1984), is a motorized kinetic sculpture featuring an oversized moving dreidel, the small, inscribed top that children play with during the holiday. Lynn Godley’s Miracle(2004), an animated, monumental Hanukkah lamp, uses multiple lights to evoke the cumulative effect of progressively lighting the candles over eight nights.Robot Lights the Chanukah Candles (1985) by Mike Mandel is from his series playfully called “robot motion studies.”
On Mondays from November 22 to January 24 at 1:00pm museum curators will tell the stories behind the Hanukkah lamps on view in A Hanukkah Project: Daniel Libeskind’s Line of Fire. Each 20 minute talk focuses on a different lamp. On Thursday, December 2 at 6:30 pm Daniel Libeskind joins Joan Rosenbaum, Director of The Jewish Museum to discuss how his work embodies Jewish sensibilities; tickets for the event are $20/$18 for museum members. On Saturday, December 4, 11:00am the museum will treat guests to free jelly donuts from 11:00am while supplies last!
Seniors (65 and over with ID) $10
Students (full-time with valid ID) $7.50
Children (under 12) Free
Free Saturdays* 11:00 am – 5:45 pm
* Please check for gallery closures.
During the eight days of Hanukkah, Dec. 2-Dec. 9, 2010, admission is reduced to $8 (except for Saturday Dec. 4 when admission is free, and Wednesday Dec. 8 when the museum is closed).
MUSEUM HOURSHoliday Closings > Exhibition Galleries Sunday11:00 am – 5:45 pmMonday11:00 am – 5:45 pmTuesday11:00 am – 5:45 pmWednesdayCLOSEDThursday11:00 am – 8:00 pmFriday (11/01/10-03/13/11)11:00 am – 4:00 pm (EST)Saturday^11:00 am – 5:45 pm^Archaeology Zone closed on Saturdays
For more NY Jewish Culture news and events read my recent articles.
For more info: David Cooper