Posts tagged with "Jewish Museum":

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NYC library cardholders can now visit dozens of museums for free

This summer, New York City is launching a new program to explore the city and save money. If you are a Brooklyn, New York, or Queens Public Library Cardholder aged 13 or older, you can reserve a Culture Pass to gain free access to more than 30 cultural institutions, including “museums, historical societies, heritage centers, public gardens and more.” Reservations should be made ahead of time, and a limited number of passes are available on each date. Here is a list of participating organizations: Brooklyn: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn Museum, New York Transit Museum Manhattan: Children’s Museum of the Arts, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, The Drawing Center, The Frick Collection, Historic Richmond Town, International Center of Photography, Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, The Jewish Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Morgan Library & Museum, Museum of the City of New York, Museum of Chinese in America, Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, Museum of Modern Art, Rubin Museum of Art, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Society of Illustrators, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling, Whitney Museum of American Art Bronx: Wave Hill Queens: Louis Armstrong House, Noguchi Museum, Queens Historical Society, Queens Museum, SculptureCenter Staten Island: Historic Richmond Town, Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art Check out this link for more details.
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15 great events to attend during the AIA Conference in New York City

The AIA Conference on Architecture is just around the corner, from June 21 to 23 at the Javits Center in New York City. To add to the excitement, the city will be bustling with architecture events and exhibits, including at MoMA PS1, the Storefront for Art and Architecture, and the Van Alen Institute. Here are our editors' highlights for the week. 1) MoMA PS1 
Young Architects Program Museum of Modern Art 11 West 53rd St. (Midtown) June 18 6:00–8:00 pm. Free. RSVPs required* www.momaps1.org Exhibition reception for 2018 Young Architects Program, featuring finalists LeCAVALIER R+D, FreelandBuck, BairBalliet, and OFICINAA. The winning scheme Hide & Seek by Dream The Combine (Jennifer Newsom and Tom Carruthers), opens to the public June 26. Opening reception, limited space. 2) Night at the Museums Various locations June 19 4:00–8:00 pm. Free. NightattheMuseums.org Fourteen Lower Manhattan museums open their
 doors, free of charge, as part of this annual event. Visit the Skyscraper Museum, African Burial Ground, Museum of Jewish Heritage, South Street Seaport Museum, National 9/11 Memorial, and others. 3) Architecture Books Opening Reception Storefront for Art and Architecture 97 Kenmare St. (SoHo) June 19 7:00–9:00 pm. Free. Storefrontnews.org Now on display at the legendary Steven Holl and Vito Acconci–designed gallery, selection of 100 fundamental books, selected by a jury, based on Storefront’s Global Survey of Architecture Books. On June 26, Storefront will host a conference at the New York Public Library Main Branch (6:30–8:30 pm, free), featuring prominent architects. 4) Solstice: 24x24x24 Storefront for Art and Architecture 97 Kenmare St. (SoHo) June 20–June 21 Storefrontnews.org Making the most of the longest day of the year, 24x24x24 brings together 24 designers to shape a day of programming and contribute a seat for a collective gathering during the summer solstice. From dawn until dusk, 24x24x24 is an experiment in collective production in design, action, and thinking. 24x24x24 is collectively organized and curated by a group of architects who will be taking over Storefront for Art and Architecture from 7pm on June 20 to 7pm on June 21. 5) Mind the Gap: Improving Urban Mobility Through Science and Design Van Alen Institute 30 West 22nd St. (Flatiron) June 20 6:30–8:30 pm. Free. VanAlen.org An examination of how populations move through cities, using tools and methods from neuroscience and behavioral psychology. Organized by the Van Alen Institute. AN’s very own Assistant Editor Jonathan Hilburg will moderate the discussion. 6) Summer Solstice Aperitivo
 Vitra 100 Gansevoort St. (Meatpacking District) June 21 4:00-8:00 pm. Free with RSVP* aiany.org Toast the summer solstice with Vitra and Skyline Design. Aperitivi, live DJ, and special exhibitions. 7) Architecture League Prize 2018: Night 1 Sheila C. Johnson
 Design Center Parsons School of Design 66 Fifth Ave. (Greenwich Village) June 21 7:00–9:00 pm. $10 for non-members. RSVP required* ArchLeague.org Lectures by the winners of the Architectural League’s prestigious annual prize, recognizing the nation’s top young architects: Gabriel Cueller & Athar Mufreh, Coryn Kempster, and Bryony Roberts. Followed by reception 8) Modulightor Building Open House 246 East 58th St. (Midtown) June 22 6:00–9:00 pm. $15. RSVP required* modulightor.com Tour Paul Rudolph’s stunning four-story glass townhouse.
9) Infrastructure: The Architecture Lobby National Think-In Javits Center 655 W 34th St, New York June 22 7:00 am–7:00 pm Prime Produce 424 W 54th St (between 9th and 10th aves) June 23 10:00 am – 7:00pm This Think-In is divided into two parts over two days: active engagement with relevant sessions at the AIA National convention to ensure substantive dialogues on professional issues on Friday, June 22; and Think-In panel discussions on Saturday, June 23 at Prime Produce that examine the theme of Infrastructure. Infrastructure is the network of systems necessary for an organization to function. When those systems are degraded enough, the defining functions of the organization fail. The Architecture Lobby has selected this theme for its first National Think-In to generate a way forward and rebuild our discipline’s infrastructure. 10) Architecture League Prize 2018: Night 2 Sheila C. Johnson
 Design Center Parsons School of Design 66 Fifth Ave. (Greenwich Village) June 22 7:00–9:00 pm. $10 for non-members. RSVP required* ArchLeague.org Lectures by winners of the Architectural League’s prize: Anya Sirota, Alison Von Glinow & Lap Chi Kwong, and Dan Spiegel. 11) A’18 Community Service Day Various locations Check-in: Center for Architecture 536 LaGuardia Place 7:30 am–6:00 pm; reception 6:00–8:00 pm aiany.org/a18 Looking for a meaningful way to spend the last day of conference? AIANY encourages you to volunteer for a half or full day of work that will benefit local nonprofits. Roll
 up your sleeps and pitch in on projects that range from upgrading a church kitchen, fixing a shelter’s community room, working a mobile farmer’s market in an underserved community, and installing infrastructure at a school’s educational outdoor garden. Volunteers will have the chance to make a real difference for these organizations and the people they serve, and
 see parts of New York City that they might not otherwise visit. Collaborating firms include: Cannon Design and Stalco Construction, James Wagman Architect, Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects, FXCollaborative, Perkins Eastman, and 1100 Architect. Participants must sign up in advance. 12) Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers
 Arnold and Sheila
 Aronson Galleries Parsons School of Design 66 Fifth Ave.
(Greenwich Village) June 22–23 12:00–6:00 pm. Free. ArchLeague.org Exhibition featuring the 2018 winners of this prestigious prize program. This year’s theme, Objective, asked entrants to consider objectivity and criteria by which architecture might be judged today. 13) Panorama of the City of New York
 Queens Museum Flushing Meadows Corona Park Ongoing QueensMuseum.org Conceived by urban mastermind and World’s Fair President Robert Moses for the 1964 Fair, the Panorama is a 1:1200 scale model of New York City, covering 469 acres and including hundreds of thousands individually crafted buildings. In 1992, the original modelmaker updated the Panorama while the museum underwent its expansion, designed by Rafael Viñoly. 14) New York at Its Core: 400 Years of NYC History Museum of the City
 of New York 1220 Fifth Ave.
(Upper East Side) Ongoing MCNY.org What made New York New York? Follow the story of the city’s rise from a striving Dutch village to today’s “Capital of the World.” Framed around themes of money, density, diversity, and creativity, the city delves into its past and invites visitors to propose visions for its future. 15) Designing Waste: Strategies for a Zero Waste City Center for Architecture 536 La Guardia Place (Greenwich village) Through September 1 CenterforArchitecture.org Waste is a design problem. This show presents strategies for architects, designers, and building professionals to help divert waste from landfills. Curator Andrew Blum will lead tours of the exhibition on Friday, June 22, 10:00–11:00 am, and Saturday, June 23, 11:00 am–12:00 pm. This exhibition is based on the Zero Waste Design Guidelines and supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. Text by AIA City Guide, Storefront for Art and Architecture and AN.
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For New Affiliates, an aesthetic of imperfection and openness

Although design studio New Affiliates has only been in existence a short while, its list of bona fides is long: Jaffer Kolb recently worked on major exhibitions at the Jewish Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art for Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Ivi Diamantopoulou spent time as an associate at MOS designing off-the-grid residences and a number of high-design interior projects—including, notably, the short-lived design gallery Chamber. These experiences set them up well as one of the most promising up-and-coming New York architecture studios and one of AN Interior’s top 50 interior architects. Jesse Seegers visited the duo in their NoHo, Manhattan, studio. New Affiliates officially started in August 2016, and yet you’ve already completed a house in Vermont, the Tunbridge Winter Cabin. How did that happen? Jaffer Kolb Well, we really started designing that in March 2016, and it was done nine months later. It was very fast. It was in this empty field, on a 65-acre property, and there was no infrastructure, so we had to build a 2,000-foot-long road, install phone lines, septic, etc. Ivi Diamantopoulou As we were about to finish Tunbridge, we got our client for the Bed-Stuy loft. A fashion designer came to us through her real estate broker and asked, “What does your work look like?” At the time, the cabin was mostly finished, so we thought it would answer the question. But the finishes were not in yet. As soon as it was completed and photographed, she said, “OK, yes, let’s do it.” Kolb But it’s true the clients that we’re working with now primarily want to know about a level of aesthetic taste. They’re less interested in the form of the cabin, so while someone might find these two intersecting volumes interesting in an architectural context, they’re just like, “What are the floors? What kind of counters are you using?” Fortunately for us, she liked them. That’s pretty funny because I was noticing that there is a real attention to light in a lot of the photographs, which really makes the interior seem much bigger and accentuates the carefully considered material palette. Also, it helps that your photographer, Michael Vahrenwald, is great. Diamantopoulou Yes! Michael is a gem. But we also studied how light would hit these two angled volumes and deliberately oriented elevations in all directions. The vignettes of the cabinet-handle detail and the baseboard seem like particularly important moments. Kolb It was one of many instances where we really tried not to reinvent the house and its parts, but instead to twist inherited details into something strangely simple yet fun. You know, we get it—we designed a dumb form that looks like a Monopoly block. The plan is basically two squares, and then two angles where the two squares meet, but playing with a pitched roof is the thing that makes it really interesting. Diamantopoulou What we worked toward with this project is a general idea of asymmetry and imperfection. It does come from two identical parts, but the way the interior is organized, it’s never a perfectly mirrored plan. You don’t stand in the middle of the space and see the same thing on both sides. There’s always something that’s off, and even with the cabinet pulls you mentioned: They’re not circles, they’re kind of a circle. Kolb This was Ivi’s idea, which I think is a brilliant one, because we didn’t want hardware. We drew it out on the actual, original cabinets for the contractor and he immediately started to plan uninstalling them to take them to his shop. Diamantopoulou And we stopped him and told him to do it on-site! Kolb He warned us he wasn’t going to be able to make a perfect circle, and we said we would much prefer a wobbly, funny, quasi-crafty thing than something that looks like it came from a catalogue. Not only were we fine with that, but we think it contributes a lot to the design. Diamantopoulou The exposed steel pipes are similar: They are not aligned with one another; they are not centered. Nothing in this project is trying to be at a specific location; everything is kind of relaxed. Kolb Yeah, it’s loose. We try to keep things informal. Diamantopoulou Designed but not design-y. There’s something refreshing about that attitude of open-endedness and relaxed acceptance of quote-unquote “imperfection.” Kolb It’s funny you say that, because we’re writing a text on imperfection and openness, and it’s not about the openness we took from the ’60s—let’s just make an open field and we can occupy it. It’s more like, “Why don’t we just make a thing and leave enough that is unsettled?” Diamantopoulou There’s this idea of an economy of means that comes from the world at large. I think also particularly our generation, living through the aftermath of 2008 and having to just do whatever you can with what you have. Kolb But there is a practical value to this. I think fussiness is out. I really do think that everyone we know works hard, but everyone we know also rejects the idea of working hard at the same time. I think it’s a new kind of labor politics around trying to resist the 24/7 work cycle we have been taught by the generations that preceded us—to let go a little, to engage architecture without trying to overly control it. Diamantopoulou And that inevitably translates into an aesthetic project—the implications of which become “making it work” with things we’ve inherited, from shapes to construction techniques. Kolb In some ways, the easiest thing to do is to make everything out of these inheritances. Design with circles and squares, but not even difficult circles and squares! Easy, flexible ones! Diamantopoulou Kind of flexible. Kind of… The art of the kinda.
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Costumes, capitalism, and poetry: new exhibit re-examines Walter Benjamin’s “Arcades Project”

For one delirious week, visitors to the Jewish Museum in New York could view the exhibit Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design downstairs, and go upstairs to see the exhibition The Arcades: Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin. Chareau—the architect of the famous Parisian Maison de Verre—escaped successfully from Nazi Paris to New York, while Benjamin did not. In all probability, Benjamin never visited Chareau’s super-deluxe, bourgeois home-office of Dr. Jean Dalsace (built 1928–32), despite Benjamin’s admiration for metal-and-glass building fabrication as a symbol of modern life—following the modernist architectural historian Siegfried Gideon.

Benjamin, like the Surrealist poet Louis Aragon, author of Paris Peasant (1927), preferred to enjoy the ruins of bourgeois life: the decaying 19th-century glass-covered Parisian shopping arcades. There, the Surrealists met in their favorite cafe and imagined assignations with prostitutes, posing as tailors, service personnel, photographers, card engravers, or launderers in the small shops of the arcade. Before his suicide at the Spanish border fleeing the Nazis in 1940, Benjamin wrote the short essay “Paris: Capital of the 19th Century” (1935). This outlined his intention, beginning with the arcades, to describe the history of Paris as a modern city through its detritus—its fragmentary waste and destruction. It was a part of his larger project for a negative history of the bourgeoisie.

In contrast to the clarity and precision of the Diller Scofidio + Renfro–designed Chareau exhibition downstairs, with its historical documentation, imaginative recreations, virtual reality, and moving sectional projections, the Benjamin Arcades exhibition is perhaps appropriately a jumble of fragments. This impression seems strange at first, as Benjamin’s most famous essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1936), was a model of clarity, founding the discipline of modern media studies in mass societies. Here, Benjamin identified the handcraft aura of true artistic production as a still-humanist value in a modern, Marxist universe. Chareau’s handcrafted machine design downstairs might seem to successfully exemplify this desire for authenticity, yet nothing of this exemplary quality appears upstairs.

Benjamin’s unfinished Arcades Project consisted of 26 alphabetically ordered folders in capital letters—ten in lower case—with seemingly random titles containing photographs, research material, press cuttings, and pieces of his text that might be useful for the project. These are like word clouds surrounding a confusing and complex hidden virtual object of intellectual inquiry that would emerge in writing. Many scholars have investigated, prodded, and projected their thoughts into these word clouds, searching their meaning for several generations. The catalogue contains two worthy essays further contributing to this enormous scholarship, one explicitly exploring Benjamin’s idea of an urban, collective “optical unconscious.” Each exhibition piece is itself accompanied by a word cloud created by the contemporary American poet Kenneth Goldsmith. (There are also conventional wall texts.)

The idea of linking each of Benjamin’s alphabetical Parisian folders to a contemporary art piece drove the selection of the exhibition, which is entered through a ghostly and deliberately weak re-creation of a scaled-down Parisian arcade. Cindy Sherman, disguised as “a collector” in a huge framed photograph, confronts this tight entry in by far the most powerful correlation in the show. Sherman’s art of disguising her personal identity in other people’s apparatuses, clothes, styling, and cosmetics, ties directly to Benjamin’s reading of the modern city.

This selection highlights masks, alienation, and the “sandwich-board men” of Benjamin’s youth who carried advertisements on their fronts and backs on the Berlin sidewalks, hiding their humanity, like the Surrealists’ vision of the prostitutes marketing their beauty and bodies as products in the arcades. Other choices like an early Andy Warhol movie (in the “Boredom” folder!) echo this weakly. Still other choices, like Chris Burden’s miniature Tower of London Bridge model from a child’s construction kit, mock Benjamin’s enthusiastic predilection for the Positivist triumphs of bourgeois civil engineering (following Gideon), such as giant iron bridges and the Eiffel Tower.

The problem of the exhibition arises from the supposition that it is possible now to make a correct correlation back to Benjamin’s fragmentary notes that carries any real meaning. We live in a very different age of digital, not mechanical, reproduction. It is an age in which Sherman represents the new normal of what Benjamin would have called, following Marx, commodity fetishes and distractive phantasmagoria. As an architect and urbanist, I found Lee Friedlander’s 2011 photographs of New York shop windows reflecting the street, buildings, and sidewalks, and showing the clothing mannequins, to be the most evocative of Benjamin’s much-cited flâneur (whose leisurely gaze captured the working life of the city and its denizens). My other favorite item was only in the catalogue, a Benjamin’s Dream comic book (2016) by Vito Manola Roma. Here all of Benjamin’s fears and insecurities about capitalist monsters, women and sex, the city and infinite mazes, alienation and authenticity come alive in an evocative, furious, sometimes violent literary and visual fantasy world.

Benjamin’s unfinished project and fragmentary notes do remind us of just how fragile bourgeois life, freedoms, and culture are in times of economic distress and political extremism. Benjamin was a complicated character: a Marxist who resisted Communism having visited Moscow, a high bourgeois who sought social justice and a decent life for the majority following Bertolt Brecht, a secular, rational modernist who thought there were limits to our knowledge and believed in ancient myths, like the Jewish Kabbalah.

Leaving the aesthetics of the Arcades exhibition aside and its distractive phantasmagoria behind, and returning to the world outside, we enter the universe that drove him to suicide. The curators of this exhibition could not have foreseen this contemporary turn of American politics. So sadly, this exhibition reminds us powerfully of our own fragile situation and Benjamin’s horrible, confused, depressed, and weakened condition at the Spanish frontier in 1940. His companions crossed the frontier the next day; let us hope we will be so lucky.

The Arcades: Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin The Jewish Museum Through August 6

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Last chance to see Memphis designs at the Jewish Museum in NYC

A charming exhibition at the Jewish Museum in New York presents the religious and secular work of Peter Shire, an original member of the 1980s Milan-based Memphis design group, with other vintage Memphis pieces by its founder, Ettore Sottsass, and fellow member Michele de Lucci. The centerpiece of the exhibition—which is called "Memphis Does Hanukkah" and runs through February 12—is a menorah or lamp Shire created independently in 1988 for the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Exhibition curator Kelly Taxter called the Los Angeles–based Shire, who was born in 1947 and is still active, a “specialist in oddly designed yet always functional teapots.” She added that a magazine article about his teapot designs was in fact what brought Sottsass and him together. Shire’s 1988 menorah, made of industrial materials including painted steel, anodized aluminum, and chromium, has what Taxter described as "finish-fetish" detailing, which she said recalls Los Angeles' Pop, car, and surf cultures, and also “speaks to [Shire’s] knowledge of collective movements such as Russian Constructivism and the Bauhaus, in which artists and designers brought together the methods and aesthetics of industrial manufacturing with the vision and individuality of fine art.” Taxter further believes Shire’s work "reflects the radical, irreverent, and often humorous history and style of West Coast art. Known for a confluence of the natural, artificial, commercial and spiritual, Los Angeles is a place where light and space are as central as neon, billboards, and plastic." Memphis objects on display here include Sottsass's 1982 silver Murmansk fruit dish, described as an "alien, vaguely mechanical shape that looks as though it might suddenly spring into motion"; a 1979 laminate design also by Sottsass called Bactaerio; and Oceanic, a 1981 lacquered metal lamp by de Lucchi inspired by old ocean liners. There is also the invitation to the first Memphis exhibition in Milan in 1981, and a photograph from the same year of fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld at home in his Monaco apartment, outfitted entirely in Memphis pieces. Taxter features other, equally playful menorahs here, including a cast copper alloy one made in the 1930s-1940s that is composed of teardrop-shaped candleholders and rods, nuts, bolts, and screws, all influenced by car and airplane design. Other menorahs include the 2004 Menorahmorph, made of silicone and stainless steel, by Sottsass student Karim Rashid, and Larry Kagan’s 1980 Menora 2, made of steel diamond plate and steel tubing, the former used on doors that cover stairs to New York City shop and restaurant basements. Taxter said this material "represented [to Kagan] an urban vernacular redolent of the grit and grime of Soho, then a scruffy neighborhood where he and other artists congregated." This exhibition, which also features one of Shire’s early teapots, the 1983 Anchorage, made of silver, wood, and enamel, provides visually playful food for thought not only about religious objects and their many iterations, but also about the legacy of Memphis, which began falling out of favor at the turn of this century. Taxter, for one, believes Memphis is having somewhat of a comeback, displaying a dress made of fabric by Memphis member Nathalie Du Pasquier, who in 2014 was commissioned by American Apparel to create a series of Memphis-inspired prints for men's and women's garments.
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“Memphis Does Hanukkah” at the Jewish Museum

Masterpieces & Curiosities: Memphis Does Hanukkah features Los Angeles–based designer and artist Peter Shire‘s Menorah #7 (1986) and is part of a series of exhibitions that looks at the individual works in the museum’s collection. One of the original members of Milan design collective Memphis Group, Shire has dabbled with Judaica objects numerous times throughout his career—making use of oddly shaped and balanced geometries, fabricated with industrial materials, bright colors, and “finish-fetish” detailing. This is evidenced in the Menorah #7, currently on display. The work is synonymous with the Memphis aesthetic established by Ettore Sottsass and is exhibited alongside vintage Memphis pieces by Shire, Sottsass, and Michele de Lucchi, as well as related ephemera.

Masterpieces & Curiosities: Memphis Does Hanukkah The Jewish Museum 1109 5th Avenue New York Through February 12, 2017

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“Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design” at The Jewish Museum

Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design is the first-ever U.S. show on the French designer and architect and the first show globally on Chareau in 20 years. It highlights the architect’s rare remaining furnishings, light fixtures, interiors, and his extensive art collection, with an emphasis on his time spent in New York. The exhibition was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), which used archival photographs and pochoir prints to recreate four interiors designed by Chareau in virtual reality: the salon and garden of his seminal Maison de Verre, a living room, and Chareau’s own home office. To represent Chareau’s Maison de Verre, DS+R also created a large-scale digital reconstruction that meticulously documents the house, as short films art-directed by Diller demonstrate the house in action.

Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design The Jewish Museum 1109 5th Avenue New York, NY Through March 26, 2017

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A legendary French designer and architect gets his due at the Jewish Museum

Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design will zero in on the legendary French designer and architect who rose from modest beginnings in Bordeaux, France—with no formal training as an architect—to become one of the most sought-after designers in Europe. His interiors and furniture balanced the opulence of traditional French decorative arts with the clean lines and industrial materials of modernism.The exhibition will place Chareau within the context of France between World War I and II by exploring his influential patrons, engagement with top artists, and designs for the film industry. Paintings, sculptures, and drawings from his personal collection—by artists such as Piet Mondrian, Marc Chagall, and Amedeo Modigliani—will be on display, as will his furniture and light fixtures, vintage photographs, and the pochoir prints he made of his interiors. Also featured will be his designs for important projects in Europe and America, including the Maison de Verre, the 1932 classic modernist home in Paris, and the 1947 house he designed for the artist Robert Motherwell in East Hampton, New York, that was later demolished. The exhibition also will explore Chareau’s flight from Nazi persecution in France to New York; his attempts to rebuild his career there; and the dispersal of many of his works during and after World War II.

Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design The Jewish Museum, 1109 5th Avenue, New York November 4–March 26

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First U.S. exhibition devoted to Pierre Chareau opens at NYC Jewish Museum

Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design at the Jewish Museum is the first-ever U.S. show on the French designer and architect and the first show on Chareau globally in 20 years. It highlights the architect's rare remaining furnishings, lighting fixtures, interiors, and pieces from his art collection. The exhibition was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) and Liz Diller was present for the show opening. “Chareau was always a hero of mine in school, but I couldn’t quite figure him out,” she said. “Decorative, functional, rubber, metal, glass, mahogany, Marxism, hinges, things that swing, clinical, gynecological, lush, and idiosyncratic most of all. This opportunity really gave me a second chance to learn about this figure.” Chareau, who left Paris in 1940 after Germany occupied the city during WWII, lived in New York for ten years and attempted to rebuild his career in the U.S., expanding his work into metal and glass and landing commissions such as Robert Motherwell’s house in East Hampton, Long Island. During this time his extensive art collection was sold, including pieces by Picasso and Mondrian, and his designs were similarly scattered. The show attempts to reconcile these losses by piecing them together in cohesive ensembles. DS+R faced several challenges when designing the exhibition. “How can one architect display another architect's work without their voice getting in the way?” Diller said. “We knew we had to find some kind of neutral voice that was in the background, but also present.” Another one of the challenges for the exhibition, Diller said, was to resituate Chareau’s rare works without resorting to full period rooms that—for spatial and aesthetic reasons—weren’t ideal. Instead, the firm used archival photographs and pochoir prints to recreate four interiors designed by Chareau in virtual reality for visitors to experience: the salon and garden of his seminal Maison de Verre, a living room he designed, and Chareau’s own home office. “Very little of Chareau’s interior production survives—a private residence an ocean away and an array of singular furnishings that are in museums and private collections dispersed to all corners of the world. These solo pieces are meaningful in their native settings, but removed they lose their relationship to space, to architecture, to time, to function; they are truly orphaned. Virtual reality provided the perfect opportunity to re-spatialize these artifacts, these pieces of furniture,” Diller said. For the Maison de Verre, DS+R wanted to convey the spatial transparency and the open, industrial aspects of the building. Taking a clinical, analytical perspective, DS+R created a large-scale digital reconstruction that meticulously documents the house as short films art-directed by Diller demonstrate the house in action. Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design will be on view at the Jewish Museum November 4 through March 26.
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“Memphis Does Hanukkah” on view at the Jewish Museum

Now on show at the Jewish Museum is Masterpieces & Curiosities: Memphis Does Hanukkah. The exhibition features Los Angeles-based designer and artist Peter Shire's Menorah #7 (1986) and is part of a series of exhibitions that looks at the individual works in the museum's collection.

The exhibition will be on view through February 12, 2017. The Masterpieces & Curiosities series has been running since 2013 with the Jewish Museum's curators, according to a press release, seeking to discover "objects that highlight the breadth and diversity of the collection."

One of the original members of Milan design collective Memphis Group, Peter Shire has dabbled without Judaica objects numerous times throughout his career while making use of oddly shaped and balanced geometries, fabricated with industrial materials, bright colors, and "finish-fetish" detailing. This is evidenced in the Menorah #7 which is on display at the exhibition. The work is synonymous with the Memphis aesthetic established by Ettore Sottsass and is exhibited alongside vintage Memphis pieces by Shire, Sottsass, and Michele de Lucchi, related ephemera.
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Review> Barbara Bloom’s “As it were…So to speak” at The Jewish Museum

A woman sits alone and thinks to herself. A painting converses with a room. The room talks back. So says Barbara Bloom, whose installation of selections from the Jewish Museum’s collection, create a dialogue with architect C.P.H. Gilbert’s French Renaissance Warburg mansion—the building that houses the museum—real and imagined visitors, and the objects themselves. Architect Ken Saylor, who worked closely with Bloom on the spatialization and design of the exhibition, said, “we tried to ask ourselves ‘What does it mean to inhabit an exhibition?’ where things are simultaneously absent and present, masked and revealed, teased and assaulted, subject and context, museum and house.” Inspired by the design of the Talmud, the central text of Rabbinic Judaism, where the original text is framed by annotated scholarly debates across generations, the exhibition is entitled As it were…So to speak. That suggests “what you are about to hear ... Is not exactly what it appears to be.” The exhibition is a narrative but without beginning, middle, and end, which harmoniously surfs the practices of art, architecture, and design. The solitary woman described above, sits in thought during Sabbath preparation in Isidor Kaufmann’s painting Friday Evening, from 1920, which hangs in the Warburg dining room. In it, she sits below a chandelier that served as the model for the actual lighting fixture that hangs in the room, a new commission by Bloom for this exhibition called Twelve Glasses (2013). It features 12 vessels in “an inverted parallel world” that mirror 12 glasses from the collection on the table directly below. Hanging across from Friday Evening is a framed reproduction of the painting in reverse, a mirror-image of the room. Viewers experience multiple inversions, reflections, and double-takes, but are in on the joke. Only the eyes are visible in portraits in the entryway and interstitial pilasters; the rest of their faces are masked out. Visitors engage directly with these sitters behind the masks who face off across on opposite sides of the hall (as banter from Curb Your Enthusiasm and Annie Hall plays). This roundelay of characters reminded me of comedian and musician Steve Allen’s PBS program Meeting of Minds, 1977-81, a dinner party populated by historical figures—Plato, Martin Luther, Cleopatra, Marie Antoinette, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin—using their actual words to converse about philosophy, religion, history, and science. Barbara Bloom imagines Nefertiti, Emile Zola, Amy Winehouse and Jesus playing games with an 1898 board game on the Dreyfus affair and a game using playing cards made from a desecrated Torah scroll, at a table off the dining room. In fact, the exhibition is laid out in distinct rooms of the house, and the objects are displayed in vitrines in the shape of furnishings. “I thought, what if we ‘furnished’ the house, but that it wasn’t really furniture. The objects that we ended up building are between furniture and cases and sort of ghosts of places where people could have congregated,” said Bloom. It reflects the ambiguity of the mansion turned museum that is now lies somewhere in between. In the dressing room, a Freudian “couch,” a “chair,” and a “vanity” hold amulets, charms, watches, and gifts (some actually exchanged with Freud). In the bedroom, the “bed” cradles marriage and divorce contracts, and Bloom imagines The Song of Songs sung by Leonard Cohen and Lou Andreas-Salome, one of the first female psychoanalysts and friend of Nietzsche, Wagner, Freud, and Rilke. In the library the “bookshelf,” “table,” “desk,” and computer station sport an array of hollowed-out books ranging from bibles to Joan Didion, fingered by metallic hand plaques. (The family’s Warburg Library, having been saved from the Nazis, forms the heart of the Warburg Institute at the University of London with 350,000 volumes.) The music room overlooking Fifth Avenue is anchored by two “couches” and a “coffee table” filled with watches and clocks and populated by six people including Marcel Proust, Albert Einstein, and Julian Barnes, conversing “in and over time.” At the heart is a “piano” with Torah pointers –often in silver, used to keep pace with the text and prevent fingers from touching the parchment—for strings. The scores to George Gershwin’s “Summertime” and Arnold Schoenberg’s “Drei Klavierstücke” sit on the music rack waiting to be played, while a small video of the two composers playing tennis at Gershwin’s Beverly Hills home is inserted in a “book.” Also in the room is a window case with silhouetted objects in colored frames to represent synesthesia, the neurological condition that simulates one sense for another, such as colors for words. Here are representations for Kandinsky, Mozart, Marilyn Monroe, Jimi Hendrix, and Pythagoras. The “cupboards” that lead the way to the next exhibition, Stefan Sagmeister & Jessica Walsh’s Six Things, contrasts talismans of memory of the same subject, the holocaust, captured in film: Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah and Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. The “cupboards” and “drawers” contain hats, and empty cases for pipes, scrolls, shofars, and circumcision implements. Bloom’s text then focuses on how Friederich Nietzsche’s sister, Elisabeth, distorted his writings after his death to support her anti-Semetic beliefs, which he had vociferously argued against in life. These empty cases are perhaps the clearest interplay with traditional museum display—or its absence. Overall, the result is an immersive, spatial exhibition that can be experienced on a series of levels, digging ever deeper into this hall of mirrors. As it were…So to Speak: A Museum Collection in Dialogues with Barbara Bloom at the Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave. closes August 4, 2013.
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Daniel Libeskind Adds Three Intersecting Cubes to the Jewish Museum Berlin

Daniel Libeskind’s second contribution to the Jewish Museum Berlin since 2001, the Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin, will open this Saturday, November 17. The 25,000 square foot Academy is located just across from the original museum and now houses the museum library, a growing archive, and will also house lectures, workshops, and seminars. The design is named “In-Between Spaces,” alluding to the voids between three cubes that make up the Academy. The cubes mirror Libeskind’s original museum design with sharp angular forms combined with dramatic intersections. Entry into the Academy is gained through a large slash in the first cube, which leads to a middle space between the other two cubes. With large skylights and front and rear access the Academy is connected with its outside spaces. Libeskind is proud to celebrate Jewish history in his design with windows shaped like the Hebrew letters Alef and Bet, and with a quotation from the famous Jewish scholar Moses Maimonides printed across the façade: “Hear the truth, whoever speaks it,” written in English, German, Hebrew, Arabic, and the Judeo-Arabic of medieval Spain.