Longest Guided Tour Yet of Libeskind’s Contemporary Jewish Museum


One more and then we’ll lay off, we promise. You’ll recall we spent some time passing you along to various links when Daniel Libeskind‘s Contemporary Jewish Museum opened in San Francisco. Although those were terrific, a vast majority were filled with a lot of “Isn’t this building just the bees knees?!” and didn’t give a very good tour of the place. Fortunately, the Wall Street Journal‘s David D’Arcy took a trip to the new museum and offers up a great tour of both the building and the artwork therein. It’s a swell piece, with lost of detail about nearly everything, for all you Libeskind buffs or fans of contemporary Jewish things. Here’s a bit about working within the building and the limitations learned from Libeskind’s other museum projects:

Past the CJM’s gift shop with Libeskindian angularity and jagged windows that double as product displays, and up a shimmering white staircase that will test the nimbleness of aged donors, the feel gets lighter. Underneath the upward pointing tip of the tilted cube is what the museum calls the yud space — named for the Hebrew letter it resembles. Inside, the white conical volume’s 36 diamond-shaped windows are arrayed like stars in a mythological sky. Their shadow-play on the sloping walls as light passes through is beguiling. “Flat objects” — CJM talk for painting and sculpture — will not be exhibited there. It’s a wise decision, given the struggles in Mr. Libeskind’s Denver Art Museum and his Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto to show paintings in galleries built with his branded tilt. So far, the yud space will be used for readings and sound installations and for rental events.