Pritzker Prize winning architect Richard Meier is unveiling a limited edition menorah and exclusive series of mezuzahs for The Jewish Museum in New York. The featured Menorah is a reproduction of the “Meier Lamp” originally commissioned by the Israel Museum in 1985; an original is part of the Jewish Museum’s permanent collection. A limited edition of menorahs will be available for $1000 for purchase through The Jewish Museum Shops beginning November 2010. Meier’s Menorah is the first of Design Edition JM, the first curated collection of modern Judaica by contemporary artists and designers.
“In the design of the Hanukkah Menorah I was trying to express the collective memory of the Jewish people,” explains Meier. “Each candleholder is an abstracted representation of an architectural style from significant moments of persecution in the history of Jews. The first being the expulsion of the Jews from Egypt and the last symbolizing the towers of the concentration camps in Germany. These are not intended as literal representations of specific events but rather as reminders of the common past and struggles that Jewish people have suffered and their resilience and strength that is so wonderfully captured by the Hanukkah story.”
The design commemorates 4,000 years of Jewish history. Its pewter architectonic candleholders represent locations of Jewish expulsion, hardship and remarkable perseverance. From left to right, the first five candleholders represent the expulsions from Egypt (the obelisk); Roman Palestine (Hadrian’s victory column); France (1310); England (1290); and Spain (1492). The sixth candleholder represents the emancipation of Jews and expansion of the Jewish population in Vienna circa 1890. The seventh symbolizes the pogroms in Russia at the turn of the 20th century, and the eighth is a reminder of the concentration camps in Germany during WWII. A copy of the menorah resides in Mr. Meier’s home and is still used by the architect during the holidays.
Menorah, by Richard Meier, for The Jewish Museum