Featuring contemporary works of art from the museum’s collection, this exhibition reminds us that miracles are the stuff of powerful inspiration — and they can make for good fun, too.
The festival of Hanukkah celebrates an ancient victory for religious freedom, the liberation and reestablishment of Jewish worship in the Temple in Jerusalem in 164 BCE. According to legend, a miracle occurred as the Jews gave thanks for divine intervention. A one-day supply of consecrated oil necessary for worship burned for the entire eight-day festival. Thus was born the central ritual of Hanukkah, the kindling of flames for eight days and nights in commemoration of this extraordinary event. Today, the celebration of Hanukkah as a time of freedom and miracles and the tradition of lighting the festival candles on a winter’s evening continue to have profound meaning around the world. In this installation, contemporary works of art from the museum’s collection remind us that miracles are the stuff of powerful inspiration and they can make for good fun too.
The exhibition features works by seven artists, including three major sculptural installations relating to Hanukkah. Alice Aycock’s Greased Lightning (1984) is a motorized kinetic sculpture featuring an oversized moving dreidel, the small, inscribed top that children play with during the holiday. Lynn Godley’s Miracle (2004), an animated, monumental Hanukkah lamp, uses multiple lights to evoke the cumulative effect of progressively lighting the candles over eight nights. Robot Lights the Chanukah Candles (1985) by Mike Mandel is from his series playfully called “robot motion studies.”