A Crack in Everything

A visit to the Jewish Museum on the occasion of an exhibition devoted to the bard of Montreal; poetic and emotional, a little happy, a little sad and bittersweet, bringing back memories to some and bouts of nostalgia to others. It was suitably unphotographable but, luckily, there were more works by other Jewish artists around to ”save the day”.

Untitled (Tears), 2013 || Claire Fontaine
Claire Fontaine is a pseudonym that translates literally as ”clear fountain”. It may refer to Marcel Duchamp’s iconic 1917 Readymade sculpture Fountain, an inverted, signed urinal that is one of the founding works of radical modernism. ”Tears” is inspired by recorded memories of Ellis Island, which, beginning in 1892, welcomed (and also rejected) millions of people.
OY/YO, 2016 || Deborah Kass
Untitled, 1968 || Elaine Lustig Cohen
Book covers designed by Elaine Lustig Cohen
Untitled, 1969 || Elaine Lustig Cohen
Untitled || Elaine Lustig Cohen
Bob Dylan, 2007 || Abshalom Jac Lahav || From the series 48 Jews
Noam Chomsky 2007 || Abshalom Jac Lahav || From the series 48 Jews
Alan Greenspan, 2007 || Abshalom Jac Lahav || From the series 48 Jews
Monica Lewinsky, 2007 || Abshalom Jac Lahav || From the series 48 Jews

The Jewish Museum, Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything, April through September 2019

August 17th, 2019

Crossword on a felt board

Rivane Neuenschwander (1967)

Watchword, 2012

For this work the artist, who was born in Belo Horizonte but lives and works in London,  has embroidered words borrowed from the language of protest – take, back, justice, trade, war, corrupt, revolution, system, democracy, over – onto fabric tags similar to those used for clothing labels. Visitors were encouraged to take a tag, either to sew onto their clothes or to pin to the board. In both cases the migrating and accumulating words formed a poetic, global map of resistance.

I pinned ”Public” on top of ”Justice” on the board – my contribution to the resistance.

The Jewish Museum

January 8th, 2017

Her insatiable appetite for society

John Singer Sargent, Elsie Meyer, 1908. Charcoal on paper.

Elsie Meyer (1885-1954), seen as a child in Sargent’s group portrait, became a fashionable young woman. In a 1903 letter to her brother Frank, her mother* described her ”insatiable appetite for society”, her gowns from Worth and Doucet in Paris, and the lavish preparations for her society debut. A few years later, Sargent depicted her in a simple cotton blouse.

*Lady Meyer demonstrated excellence in social skills herself: a society hostess known for her exuberant soirées, enchanting voice and support of the arts, but also a socially concerned philanthropist supporting working class women, underprivileged families, and women’s suffrage.

(Notes from The Jewish Museum’s website)

January 8th, 2017

The French touch

Recently, the Jewish Museum presented the first U.S. exhibition on the work of French designer and architect Pierre Chareau (1883–1950). On show were mainly furniture and lighting fixtures, as well as designs for Maison de Verre, the glass house completed in Paris in 1932, in collaboration with Dutch architect Bernard Bijvoet (1889-1979) and craftsman metalworker Louis Dalbet.

Chareau’s designs were complemented by pieces from his personal art collection, since both he and his wife Dollie were active collectors.

But I only had eyes for these sleek, stylish pieces of furniture and fixtures created in the 1920s, yet so modern they could have come right out of a Manhattan penthouse overlooking Central Park.

Take your pick:

La Religieuse (the nun) floor lamp, ca. 1923. Mahogany and alabaster with metalwork by Louis Dalbet.

Sofa, 1923. Rosewood with fabric upholstery.

Telephone table, ca. 1924. Walnut and patinated iron. La Petite Religieuse (the little nun), table lamp ca. 1924. Walnut, alabaster and patinated iron, metalwork by Louis Dalbet.

La Religieuse (the nun) floor lamp, ca. 1923. Mahogany and alabaster with metalwork by Louis Dalbet.

Coat and hat rack designed for La Maison de Verre ca. 1931. – Metalwork by Louis Dalbet. Stool, ca. 1923. Mahogany and mahogany-veneered wood. – Bookcase with swivelling table, ca. 1930. Walnut and black patinated iron. – Ceiling lamp, ca. 1923. Patinated brass and alabaster.

From ”The grand salon de la Maison de Verre”. Corbeille (basket) sofa, 1923. Wood and velours, with tapestry upholstery by Jean Lurçat. – Telephone fan table, ca. 1924. Wood. – High backed chauffeuse (fireside armchair), ca. 1925.

Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design exhibition ran between November 2016 – March 2017. You can read and browse through more photos on The Jewish Museum website.

January 8th, 2017