Through October 8, NYC natives and out of town visitors, have the pleasure of seeing Sukkahs like they’ve never seen them before just in time for the Succot holiday. In one of the largest Sukkah projects in the city, the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan and JCC Harlem are presenting five artist-created sukkahs, ten public sukkah-related programs, and open hours for the community to bring their own meals and enjoy this unique gathering.
One of the presenting artists, Avner Sher, is one of Israel’s most successful commercial architects. “His incredible sukkah project, which explores the intercultural encounters taking place in Jerusalem’s Old City as a crossroads between geography, history, art, reality, truth, and fantasy,” said Megan Whitman, director of The Lambert Center for Arts + Ideas at the JCC. Megan and the rest of her team at the JCC recognized that this holiday, which includes a temporary outdoor structures made of natural materials, is the perfect opportunity to turn basic materials into works of art. “The large-scale sukkah is contemporary in design, with its gorgeous artistic elements, but is still a traditional, kosher space to observe the harvest holiday,” the director added.
Sher’s Sukkah project, titled “Jerusalem 950m2 (quarter acre) Alternate Topographies”, is mostly made from a cork tree that was peeled off the trunk every 9 years. Cork, in its essence, represents a renewal process the way Jerusalem, too, was renewed from what it once was and what it could have been. This masterpiece can be viewed on Amsterdam Avenue’s sidewalk in front of the JCC on the Upper West Side through October 8. Overall, his project was introduced as part of the Jerusalem Biennale 2017, where the creative architect built a large scale Sukkah on the western porch of the Tower of David Museum.
Additionally, artist V. Cybil Charlier from Art in Flux— a Harlem arts initiative that creates opportunities for artists by reclaiming underutilized and unique spaces for art — will showcase an Antilles architecture-inspired Sukkah. Think countryside-Caribbean-islands meets wooden-designed-gingerbread-houses. “The architecture syncretism of the piece brings attention to the often overlooked Jewish population of the Caribbean archipelago and simultaneously questions how a traditional structure as the sukkah may be affected by the cultural presence of such populations in New York.” Meg Sullivan, director of JCC Harlem, explains that this exhibition will question “who is a stranger?” and how to create a more open, inclusive space for all.