Coinciding with the Jewish holidays of Sukkot and Passover, outdoor art installations – in Portland, Ore., LA, Tucson and New York – respond to contemporary crises.
At a time when artists, along with countless others, are facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the global pandemic, a groundbreaking constellation of outdoor art installations is providing a creative response to the crises of our times, framed by the Jewish holidays of Sukkot and Passover.
Dwelling in a Time of Plagues is a national effort of Jewish artists, arts networks, museums, and the CANVAS funding collaborative. Dwelling installations will be displayed during Sukkot and Passover of 5781. Designed to be viewed outdoors, these $10,000 commissions were awarded to artists eager to respond to the pandemic’s realities and to grapple with other contemporary crises: institutional racism and ageism, forced isolation, global warming, and the crisis for migrants and refugees.
The first three commissions, by artists Mirta Kupferminc, Adam W. McKinney and Tiffany Woolf, coincide with the holiday of Sukkot, which begins at sundown Friday, Oct. 2. A decade ago the critically acclaimed 2010 Sukkah City project in New York City reinterpreted the form of the sukkah for that time. Dwelling in a Time of Plagues, which has tapped Sukkah City creator Joshua Foer as an adviser to the project, reinterprets the timeless ritual yet again for today’s unique moment. Each artist was asked to develop an artwork that takes into account the themes of Sukkot, while considering the new realities of social distancing, the outside spaces available, special opportunities at each museum, and themes of social justice.
Exhibit sites for the first round of this project include the Jewish History Museum in Tucson, the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, and the Holocaust Museum LA. Each piece responds to the issues facing its host community, and to our collective plight as Jews and as human beings. The 14th Street Y in New York City will be displaying the art and videos of all three works in its ground-floor windows, and the pieces will also be available to view online.
“Dwelling is an act of museums and artists responding together,” said Melissa Martens Yaverbaum, executive director of the Council of American Jewish Museums. “In a time when we need art to help illuminate and animate our collective experience, this project brings talents across Jewish culture together to present new, thoughtful, works in time for the holiday. Each piece is, at once, created to be seen outdoors, in harmony with the holiday of Sukkot, and responsive to contemporary challenges we must face. As we wander together into a year of many unknowns, these works help us find a new vocabulary and meanings for our times.”
To learn more about Dwelling in a Time of Plagues and each art installation, visit: www.plaguedwelling.com.
The project is a collaboration of Jewish arts & culture networks Reboot, Asylum Arts, LABA, the Council of American Jewish Museums. The four are grantees of CANVAS, a Jewish Funders Network philanthropic collaborative dedicated to elevating the field of Jewish arts and culture.