Click this link to read the wonderful piece, Amy Reichert’s Art Offers Far More Than a Ho-Hum Collection of Challah Boards and Kiddush Cups by Jenna Weissman Joselit, The Forward – November 14, 2014. Below, find a partial excerpt.
The exhibition features the artistry of Amy Reichert, a Chicago architect and exhibition designer who recently trained her sights and her skills on the making Judaica. Lest you’re inclined to yawn at the thought of yet another in a long line of dutiful and often dreary museum exhibitions about Jewish ritual objects, I urge you to resist. Better yet, banish all thoughts of the ho-hum and the predictable, the twee and the mannered. Reichert’s assembly of Jewish ritual objects is unlike any you’ve ever seen before. It delights the eye and teases the imagination.
Drawing on wood and hammered silver, on the spare aesthetic of the bento box and a keen sense of scale, the Kiddush cups, challah boards and Seder plates on view, among other things, are smart in every sense of the word: good-looking, beautifully proportioned and inspired by an intelligence that is at once visual and literary, personal and collective.
What renders Reichert’s efforts distinctive is that they are powered as much by text as by self-expression. In fashioning a Jewish ritual object, the artist told me recently in a lengthy phone conversation, she “excavates the text.” By “text,” Reichert means the corpus of biblical and Talmudic stories, as well as the body of rules and regulations, that relate to the making of Jewish things. Many of us, I suspect, would chafe under those restrictions, but Reichert finds them freeing. Tellingly, she prefers to think of them as “visual cues,” rather than obstacles. They guide the artist’s hand, enabling her to create a “visual version of learning the text.”