Jon Feldman / Anne Hardy
212.496.6585 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Anne Scher/Alex Wittenberg / 212.423.3271, email@example.com
FIRST INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION SURVEYS RITUAL AS A FOCUS OF EXPERIMENTATION IN 21ST CENTURY ART AND DESIGN,
INCLUDING INNOVATIVE WORKS BY
JONATHAN ADLER, KARIM RASHID, ADAM TIHANY AND OTHERS
NEW YORK, NY --- In time for the holiday season, The Jewish Museum Shops will offer a selection of outstanding works by several of the artists and designers featured in the Museum’s upcoming exhibition, Reinventing Ritual: Contemporary Art and Design for Jewish Life.
Artists and designers’ rising interest in ritual over the last two decades inspires Reinventing Ritual, the first international exhibition to survey this phenomenon. On view at The Jewish Museum, from September 13, 2009 through February 7, 2010, nearly 60 innovative examples of industrial design, metalwork, ceramics, jewelry, architecture, installation art, video, drawing, comics, and sculpture, reveal the intersections of creative freedom and Jewish culture. Among the 58 artists participating are Jonathan Adler, Karim Rashid, Adam Tihany, Lella Vignelli and Alexis Canter.
In an unusual departure, visitors to Reinventing Ritual will have the unique opportunity to purchase examples of some of the works seen in the exhibition as gifts or for their personal collections or use.
The following works will be included in the exhibition and are also available for sale at Celebrations, The Jewish Museum Design Shop, The Cooper Shop at The Jewish Museum, and online at www.thejewishmuseum.org:
Talila Abraham (Israeli, b. 1965)
Stainless steel: etching
Named after a type of lace, Dantela is an intricate, handcrafted work of art which blends the properties of steel and thread into a new material that inverts the traditional matzah cover or plate.
Jonathan Adler (American, b. 1966)
Stoneware: fired and glazed
Because of its close connection to architecture and reconstruction, the Hanukkah lamp often inspires and is inspired by, building styles. Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Temple in 164 BCE, when the oil in the lampstand miraculously burned for eight days. Jonathan Adler’s Utopia Menorah references the baroque patterning and flowing lines of 1960s organic modernism, incorporating influences from monumental architecture and home décor.
Vignelli Designs: Lella Vignelli (American, b. Italy 1934)
Pair of CandlesticksKiddush Cup
Prices: Pair of Candlesticks: $4195.00 / Kiddush Cup: $1575.00
In Pair of Candlesticks and Kiddush Cup, Lella Vignelli captures the essence of Jewish ritual in the clean, modern shapes and sensuous, pleated surfaces of hand-worked silver. Candles are traditionally lit to start the Sabbath and the Jewish holidays at sundown. The tops of Vignelli’s candlesticks are removable, so they can function as flower vases as well.
Tihany Designs: Adam Tihany (Israeli, b. Transylvania 1948)
Silver plate: cast
Highly regarded for his artful and innovative interiors, Mr. Tihany created this contemporary mezuzah for The Jewish Museum in honor of its centennial in 2004. The mezuzah is characterized by the confluence of architectural lines and fluid shapes to which Tihany is partial.
Karim Rashid (American, b. Egypt 1960)
Silicone and Stainless Steel
In honor of its centennial in 2004, The Jewish Museum commissioned world-renowned designer Karim Rashid to design this unique menorah. This brightly colored, amoeba-like Hanukkah lamp, with its apparently random arrangement of candleholders, encourages the user to light the candles in any order, while allowing each light to stand out individually. Created in the artist’s signature colors, forms, and materials, this bold statement brings a contemporary look to a traditional ritual object. Available in Lime, Blue, Pink and Orange.
Alexis Canter (American, b. 1981)
Wishbone and Lucky Half
Prices: Wishbone Pendant with necklace: $450.00 / Lucky Half Pendant with necklace: $450.00
Food and shared meals play a powerful role in communal and personal Jewish memory and are connected to many rituals. These unique pieces of jewelry are cast from actual wishbones, as tokens of contemporary identity derived from the memory of ritual practice.
In addition, a sterling silver version of each is available from The Jewish Museum Shops. (Not included in the exhibition.) Prices: Sterling Wishbone Pendant with necklace: $175.00 / Sterling Lucky Half Pendant with necklace: $165.00
Marit Meisler (Israeli, b. 1974)
Concrete: cast; pewter: nickel-plated
A mezuzah is a scroll inscribed with passages from Deuteronomy to remind Jews of their covenant with God. In most communities it is enclosed in a case commonly made from hard materials such as metal, ceramic, wood, or stone. Marit Meisler’s ceMMent Mezuzah is partly inspired by modernist architects and is intended to show that graceful, beautiful and holy objects can be created with humble materials.
Sahar Batsry (Israeli, b. 1974)
Volcano Seder Plate
Glass and silicone
During the Passover seder, or ritual meal, a special plate presents symbolic foods, recalling slavery and liberation. Volcano turns the idea of a tablecloth into a soft seder plate. A white, flexible molded silicone disk serves as a “plate” supporting six etched glass dishes containing ritual foods. Small perforations around the plate’s perimeter recall a lace pattern. Thus the piece metaphorically transforms the entire table into a plate by blurring the distinctions between object and furniture. Volcano rethinks the relationship between furniture, cover, and plate: no longer a three-element combination, but all fused into one elegant object.
Barbara Rushkoff (American, b. 1961)
Plotx, issue 12, 2000; issue 13, 2000; issue 14, 2001; issue 16, 2002
Price: $4.95 each, or $75.00 for the complete set of 12
“Plotz: The Zine for the Vaclempt” was a Jewish magazine which examined contemporary Jewish cultural identity, values and ritual practices. The final issues of the magazine adopted guidebook designs to update Jewish customs in an ironic idiom. The artist combined clip art and Stars of David to create images intended to provide a different perspective of Jews and Jewishness.
Johnathan Hopp (Israeli, b. 1975) and Sarah Auslander (Israeli, b. United States 1973)
Plates and ceramic decals
The most recent versions of these unique, Passover-themed dishes, have been created by Israeli designer Johnathan Hopp who uses a kiln to affix decals, altered from a traditional seder plate, to flea market dishes. The refiring serves a traditional ritual function as well: baking at such high temperatures “koshers” the plate for Passover, burning off impurities and any trace of bread. No two Passover Plates are exactly alike.
Joe Grand (American, b. 1975)
Galvanized Steel Candelabra
Steel pipe fittings
The Galvanized Steel Candelabra promotes the connective workings of construction, procured at Home Depot, into the stuff of ritual. Mr. Grand, an electrical engineer and artist, created this modern industrial menorah out of anodized steel pipes and other hardware traditionally used in homes and buildings. Knots in the piping hold candles.
Dov Ganchrow (Israeli, b. United States 1970) and Zivia (Israeli, b. 1960)
Double Handed Wash Cup / Netilat Yadayim (Hand Cleansing Vessel)
The Jewish custom of hand washing, or netilat yadayim, upon waking, before meals and prayer and at other specified times, ritually cleanses the body of spiritual impurities. After researching handwashing traditions in Middle Eastern cultures, the artists created a thoughtful, functional design in which this double handle wash cup’s spouts and handles become interchangeable.
By using a traditional cup with two handles, each hand may be cleaned without contaminating the other.
JT Waldman (American, b. 1976)
Ink on paper
Price: $18.00 (Softcover, 204 pages)
Megillat Esther is commonly referred to as the Book of Esther: but there is nothing common about JT Waldman's interpretation of this Biblical story. In what may be the world's first religious, scholarly comic book, Waldman tells Purim’s epic tale of exile and redemption in graphic form. Each page of Megillat Esther features the Hebrew text with original English translation, as well as opulent drawings depicting the story of the Persian Queen. Traditional interpretations of the story are woven throughout the panels.
Bruria Avidan (Israeli, b. 1966)
Silver, silicone, and rubber
In a Jewish wedding ceremony, the couple shares a cup of wine twice. Often two different cups are used, either separately or fastened together, symbolizing two individuals who come together in marriage to form a single whole. Avidan elegantly blends ritual function and form using contemporary materials. The couple unites the halves of a silver cup, made watertight with a silicone edge and rubber binders.
Elan Leor (Israeli, b. United States 1970) and Eran Lederman (Israeli, b. 1970)
Jews affix a mezuzah — a scroll inscribed with passages from Deuteronomy — on a doorpost as a reminder of their covenant with God. The nail-like form of Gideon anticipates the climactic installation of a mezuzah, suggesting that the act of fastening one to a doorframe (and therefore establishing Jewish home ownership,) is as important a symbol as the scroll within.
Studio Armadillo: Hadas Kruk (Israeli, b. 1970) and Anat Stein (Israeli, b. 1972)
Wood and acrylic
During the Passover seder, participants eat symbolic foods and read from the Haggadah, which recounts the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt. The Haggadah includes directions to lift certain foods as their meaning is described, adding ceremonial drama to the meal. Action becomes form in this seder plate with six elevated dishes, which concretize the act of elevating each symbolic food as the reader of the Haggadah explains its significance.
The exhibition catalogue is also available:
Reinventing Ritual: Contemporary Art and Design for Jewish Life, by exhibition curator Daniel Belasco, with contributions by Arnold M. Eisen, Julie Lasky, Danya Ruttenberg, and Tamar Rubin
Hardcover, 152 pages and 103 illustrations.
Published by The Jewish Museum and Yale University Press
A guidebook to the most current trends in Jewish art and design, Reinventing Ritual provides an unprecedented look at the work and thought of contemporary artists as they respond to the needs and practices of traditional culture. Beautifully illustrated with new art from Israel, Europe, and the Americas, this publication features both traditional and avant-garde sculpture, textiles, architecture, metalwork and ceramics by leading artists.
About The Jewish Museum
Widely admired for its exhibitions and educational programs that inspire people of all backgrounds, The Jewish Museum (at Fifth Avenue & 92nd Street in New York City / www.thejewishmuseum.org) is the preeminent institution exploring the intersection of 4,000 years of art and Jewish culture. The Jewish Museum was established on January 20, 1904 when Judge Mayer Sulzberger donated 26 ceremonial art objects to The Jewish Theological Seminary of America as the core of a museum collection. Today, the Museum maintains an important collection of 26,000 objects – paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, archaeological artifacts, ceremonial objects, and broadcast media.
The Jewish Museum Shops
An extensive selection of distinctive gifts, Museum reproductions, ceremonial objects, jewelry, books, music, children’s items and exhibition-related merchandise are available from The Cooper Shop (located inside The Jewish Museum), and at the JCC in Manhattan (334 Amsterdam Avenue at West 76th Street). Celebrations - The Jewish Museum Design Shop (1 East 92nd Street, 212.423.3260) is the nation’s premiere store devoted exclusively to high-quality, innovative and artist-designed Jewish ceremonial objects and collectibles. Multiples of exhibition items in Reinventing Ritual can be seen and purchased online at http://shop.thejewishmuseum.org.
Museum hours are Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 11am to 5:45pm; and Friday, 11am to 4pm. Museum admission is $12.00 for adults, $10.00 for senior citizens, $7.50 for students, free for children under 12 and Jewish Museum members. Admission is free on Saturdays. The Jewish Museum Shops are open Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 11am to 5:45pm; Wednesday 11am to 3pm; and Friday, 11am to 4pm. For general information on The Jewish Museum, the public may visit the Museum’s Web site at www.thejewishmusem.org or call 212.423.3200.