As it were ... So to speak - A Museum Collection in Dialogue with Barbara Bloom - The Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Ave. - 212-423-3222
New York, NY 10128
Description: Artist Barbara Bloom has devoted her career to questioning the ways we perceive and value objects. With a light touch and subtle wit, she divines the meanings encoded in the things with which we surround ourselves. The Jewish Museum invited Bloom to create an installation drawn from its more than 26,000 works of ceremonial, decorative, and fine art. Her presentation sets a selection of over 270 pieces in unconventional contexts, and offers visitors new ways to view the Museum and its holdings. The exhibition she is creating materializes the idea of people in dialogue across time and space, inspired in part by Bloom's reflections on Talmudic discourse, which takes place over centuries. Integrating the former Warburg mansion's historic rooms into her concept, the artist envisions the space as both museum and home filled with imagined historical guests - Nefertiti, Emile Zola, George Gershwin and others - from diverse times engaged in discourse and argument. The subjects are wide-ranging and reflect ideas that have long interested the artist: inferring a whole from surviving remnants, navigating the intricacies of bestowing gifts, representing the unspeakable. Furniture-shaped display cases contain collection objects that the artist finds intriguing or appealing. For example, Torah pointers with their delicate hands and extended forefingers stand in for strings inside a piano; a cigar box owned by Sigmund Freud is displayed in a psychoanalyst's consultation space; and a Dreyfus Affair game board sits on a table with ancient Roman dice. Each tableau is accompanied by written passages suggesting conversations between people. These evocative juxtapositions of found texts, Bloom's writings, artworks, and cases, create unexpected connections and spark dialogue.