“Memphis Does Hanukkah focuses on Menorah #7 (1986) by the Los Angeles-based designer and artist Peter Shire (American, b. 1947). Made with industrial materials and “finish-fetish” detailing, it recalls the Pop, car, and surf cultures of the artist’s hometown. The style speaks to Shire’s knowledge of collective movements such as Russian Constructivism and the Bauhaus, in which artists and designers brought together the methods and aesthetics of industrial manufacturing with the vision and individuality of fine art. His work also reflects the radical, irreverent, and often humorous history and style of West Coast art. Known for a confluence of the natural, artificial, commercial, and spiritual, Los Angeles is a place where light and space are as central as neon, billboards, and plastic. (…)
(…) Intrinsic to the work of both Shire and Memphis is a disregard for the status quo and an enthusiastic embrace of the pluralist, idiosyncratic impulses that motivate so many visionary moments in art and design. Their twinned stories offer a multilayered conversation about the relationships and dissonances between tradition and innovation, ceremony and interpretation.” — Introductory Wall Text, Kelly Taxter
Peter Shire, Hanukkah Lamp, Menorah #7, 1986, steel: painted; aluminum: anodized; chromium 21¼ x 22½ x 17 in. The Jewish Museum, New York. Purchase: Judaica Acquisitions Endowment Fund, 1989.
Peter Shire, Hanukkah Lamp, Menorah #7, 1986, steel: painted; aluminum: anodized; chromium, 21¼ x 22½ x 17 in. The Jewish Museum, New York, Purchase: Judaica Acquisitions Endowment Fund, 1989.
Peter Shire, Anchorage, 1983, silver, wood, enamel, 15 x 12¾ x 5¾ in. Collection of Ava Riko Shire.
Peter Shire, Celestial, 1986, painted steel, anodized aluminum, chromium, 14 x 6 x 3 in. Collection of Ava Riko Shire.
Michele De Lucchi, Oceanic, 1981, lacquered metal, 29½ in. (75 cm) high. Private Collection, New York.
Hanukkah Lamp, 1930s-1940s, copper alloy: cast, 11½ x 8 9/16 x 3 11/16 in. (29.2 x 21.7 x 9.4 cm). The Jewish Museum, New York. Gift of Dr. Harry G. Friedman.
Yaacov Agam, CandelabrAgam, c. 1980, copper alloy: cast; ball bearings; 9¼ x 13¾ x 3⅞ in. (23.5 x 34.9 x 9.9 cm). The Jewish Museum, New York. Gift of the Noon Foundation, Cecilia and Samuel Neaman, 1981.
Larry Kagan, Menora 2, 1980, steel diamond plate; steel tubing, 9⅛ x 6⅛ x 4 7/16 in. (23.2 x 15.6 x 11.3 cm). The Jewish Museum, New York. Purchase: Judaica Acquisitions Fund, 1986-89.
Ettore Sottsass, Murmansk fruit dish, 1982, silver, 13¾ in. diameter x 11¾ in. (35 cm diameter x 30 cm). Private Collection, New York.
Karim Rashid, Menorahmorph, 2004. Silicone and stainless steel, 3¼ x 11 x 8⅛ in. (8.3 x 27.9 x 20.6 cm). The Jewish Museum, New York. Jewish Museum Centennial Commission; Purchase: Tobe Pascher Workshop Commission Program Fund, 2004.
Masterpieces & Curiosities: Memphis Does Hanukkah is curated by Kelly Taxter, Associate Curator, the Jewish Museum. The Masterpieces & Curiosities series was organized by Jens Hoffmann, Director of Special Exhibitions and Public Programs, the Jewish Museum.
Images courtesy The Jewish Museum.