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A Hanukkah Project: Daniel Libeskind's Line of Fire

November 19, 2010 - January 30, 2011

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Complete listing for
Hanukkah 2010 at
The Jewish Museum

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Daniel Libeskind, an international figure in architecture and urban design, creates a bold and stunning installation entitled Line of Fire with a selection of Hanukkah lamps from the Museum’s renowned collection. The design returns to a form first developed in his 1988 sculptural construction also entitled Line of Fire. Its main component was a zigzag structure whose color, irregular lines and unusual angles challenged the conventions of modern architecture. Libeskind has continued to use the Line of Fire in subsequent building designs, where it has come to symbolize the continuity of Jewish existence through sudden changes in circumstances, some of them catastrophic. For example, the jagged shape of the Jewish Museum in Berlin represents the difficult path of Jewish life in that city. In contrast, the second-floor exhibition hall of The Contemporary Jewish Museum (2008), with its sharp angles and jutting overlooks, provides spacious vistas evoking the culture of freedom in San Francisco.

In the presentation here, the Line of Fire becomes a support for a selection of the museum’s Hanukkah menorahs. It embodies the central ritual of Hanukkah – the kindling of flames in commemoration of an ancient victory for religious freedom. According to legend, a miracle occurred as the Jews gave thanks for divine intervention in the struggle. A one-day supply of consecrated oil necessary for worship in the newly cleansed Jerusalem Temple burned for eight days, enough time to produce more oil. Libeskind’s installation and his selection of quotes seen on the blue panels create an evocative metaphor for the spiritual and regenerative power of fire.

Susan L. Braunstein, Curator of Archaeology and Judaica


Gallery of Images

Also on view for Hanukkah 2010: Seven Artists Inspired by Hanukkah
Complete listing for Hanukkah 2010 at The Jewish Museum


Selected Hanukkah Menorahs
Hanukkah Lamp

Hanukkah Lamp

Manufacturer: Orivit-Aktiengesellschaft (1900-1905)

Not on view Ceremonial Art

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Hanukkah Lamp

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Hanukkah Lamp


Hanukkah Lamp

Not on view Ceremonial Art

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Hanukkah Lamp

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Hanukkah Lamp


Hanukkah Lamp
  • Tin-coated copper
  • 11 13/16 x 13 3/4 x 2 in. (30 x 34.9 x 5.1 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Purchase: Samuel and Rose Riemer Private Foundation Gift, 1998-31

Not on view Ceremonial Art

More about this object

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Hanukkah Lamp

Architectonic Menorah

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Architectonic Menorah



Related Links

The Getty Research Institute
Conservation on model created for the 1988 exhibition, Daniel Libeskind: Line of Fire.

Studio Daniel Libeskind
Project: The Jewish Museum Berlin
Project: The Contemporary Jewish Museum

The New York Times
The Lights Fantastic (11/18/2010)
Daniel Libeskind on a New Show of Menorahs (11/17/2010)

Hanukkah Lamps at Top of Page
(left to right by row)

Hanukkah Lamp
Gebrüder Gutgesell (active 1903-26)
Hanau (Germany), 1903-26
Silver: cast, repoussé, spun, and parcel-gilt
16 1/8 x 13 1/2 x 8 1/8 in. (41 x 34.3 x 20.7 cm)
The Jewish Museum, New York
Gift of Mrs. Jules Lubell in memory of her parents, Regina and Leo Frisch, 1997-39 more info

Hanukkah Lamp
Maciej Nowakowski (active 1825-1856)
Warsaw (Poland), 1825-51
Silver: repoussé, appliqué, parcel-gilt, and cast; copper alloy
13 3/4 x 13 x 2 7/8 in. (34.9 x 33 x 7.4 cm)
The Jewish Museum, New York
The Rose and Benjamin Mintz Collection, M 438 more info

Hanukkah Lamp
David Heinz Gumbel (Israeli, b. Germany 1896-1992)
Heilbronn, Germany, early 1930s
Silver: hand-worked
11 9/16 x 13 5/16 x 5 1/4 in. (29.3 x 33.8 x 13.3 cm)
The Jewish Museum, New York
Gift of Hannah and Walter Flegenheimer, 2002-9a-g
MALKA COHAVI & STUDIO D.H.GUMBEL, THE SOLE OWNER OF THE COPYRIGHTS more info

Hanukkah Lamp
Arnold Zadikow (German, 1884-1943)
Probably Munich (Germany), 1920s
Copper alloy: cast and traced
18 1/16 x 19 3/16 x 7 in. (45.9 x 48.8 x 17.8 cm)
The Jewish Museum, New York
Gift of Dr. Harry G. Friedman, F 1228 more info

Hanukkah Lamp
Richard Meier (American, b. 1935)
New York, United States, 1985
Tin-coated copper
11 13/16 x 13 3/4 x 2 in. (30 x 34.9 x 5.1 cm)
The Jewish Museum, New York
Purchase: Samuel and Rose Riemer Private Foundation Gift, 1998-31 more info

Hanukkah Lamp
Poland or Russia, early 19th century
Silver: repoussé, parcel-gilt, appliqué, and cast
18 1/4 x 12 13/16 x 4 3/4 in. (46.4 x 32.5 x 12.1 cm)
The Jewish Museum, New York
Gift of Dr. Harry G. Friedman, in memory of Dr. Paul Romanoff, F 1965 more info

Hanukkah Lamp
Baghdad (Iraq), 1940
Silver: repoussé, punched, and cast
10 7/16 x 8 5/16 in. (diameter) (26.5 x 21.1 cm)
The Jewish Museum, New York
Gift of Sun Soffair, 1996-153 more info

Hanukkah Lamp
Italy, 18th-19th century (?)
Copper alloy: cast after lost-wax original
8 3/4 x 9 1/2 x 2 15/16 in. (22.2 x 24.1 x 7.5 cm)
The Jewish Museum, New York
Gift of Dr. Harry G. Friedman, F 5388 more info

This exhibition has been made possible by the Barbara S. Horowitz Contemporary Art Fund.

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