In the last ten years, I had the great fortune of working with an amazing community of people in Berkeley on preserving one of the world's largest collections of Jewish art, The Magnes Collection. The collection, now part of the University of California, Berkeley, really was a legacy of the founder of the former Judah L. Magnes Museum, Seymour Fromer. All these years, I wanted not only to preserve the collection but to make it truly shine. The book, The Jewish World: 100 Treasure of Art & Culture from The Magnes Collection, was just released by Skira Rizzoli, just in time for High Holidays. Here is an excerpt from my introduction:
"Instead of following established traditions of Judaica connoisseurship, [the book] offers a highly personal and idiosyncratic view of the collection, influenced by my collaborations with contemporary artists over the years. The selection and organization of artifacts here emphasize dialogue. Visual dialogue--as the artists taught me to pay attention to the playful correspondences of shapes and motifs. Global dialogue--as these objects speak to each other across borders and continents following the paths of Jewish Diaspora. And most important, temporal dialogue--as the objects call to each other across time, the past informing the present and the present informing the past."
I profoundly thank all those who helped me create this beautiful book. --Alla Efimova