A woman sits alone and thinks to herself.
A painting converses with a room. The room talks back.
So says Barbara Bloom, whose installation of selections from the Jewish Museumâ€™s collection, create a dialogue with architect C.P.H. Gilbertâ€™s French Renaissance Warburg mansionâ€”the building that houses the museumâ€”real and imagined visitors, and the objects themselves. Architect Ken Saylor, who worked closely with Bloom on the spatialization and design of the exhibition, said, â€œwe tried to ask ourselves â€˜What does it mean to inhabit an exhibition?â€™ where things are simultaneously absent and present, masked and revealed, teased and assaulted, subject and context, museum and house.â€
Inspired by the design of the Talmud, the central text of Rabbinic Judaism, where the original text is framed by annotated scholarly debates across generations, the exhibition is entitled As it wereâ€¦So to speak. That suggests â€œwhat you are about to hear … Is not exactly what it appears to be.â€ The exhibition is a narrative but without beginning, middle, and end, which harmoniously surfs the practices of art, architecture, and design.