View of “Barbara Bloom,” 2013.

Barbara Bloom

The Jewish Museum

View of “Barbara Bloom,” 2013.

This past spring, Barbara Bloom reimagined the installation of five galleries at the Jewish Museum in New York, crafting a suave, literary exhibition that set objects from the institution’s holdings in dialogue with her own words and site-specific assemblages. No stranger to working with museum collections, Bloom is well known for her permanent intervention at Vienna’s Museum für Angewandte Kunst (MAK) from 1994, for which she placed the institution’s display of Thonet bentwood chairs behind a translucent wall, illuminating the objects from behind so they are visible only as shadows. At the Jewish Museum, Bloom subtly echoed her Vienna production. In a section of the show devoted to the theme of synesthesia, thirteen silver containers—ceremonial vessels from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries made for inhaling sweet spices—were similarly backlit, producing decorative

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