Go Fish

Looking out the windows of the Warburg Mansion, it is clear to see the subtle signs of autumn’s impending return. Golden leaves peek from a handful of trees in Central Park; jeweled-toned mums have replaced the fiery red geraniums in the window boxes along Fifth Avenue; and whimsical displays of pencils, rulers and back-to-school clothes grace the windows of the local shops on Madison Avenue. At The Jewish Museum, staff are gearing up for our big fall shows—Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism opens on September 12 and on October 29, Houdini: Art and Magic will be on view. In the meantime, The Jewish Museum offers a late summer amuse-bouche for the hungry visitor who eagerly awaits the return of the fall art season in New York City.

Fish Forms: Lamps by Frank Gehry presents 8 lamps by the internationally acclaimed architect Frank Gehry (b. 1929, Toronto, Canada). Known for his colorful and sculptural buildings, Gehry’s New York ventures include the IAC building in Chelsea, which peers over the Westside Highway with its undulating white exterior, and the newly erected Beekman Tower in Lower Manhattan. Inspired by The Jewish Museum’s own fish lamp, curator Ruth Beesch has organized an intimate exhibition in Offit Gallery. In this diverse selection of Gehry’s lamps, she illustrates the significance of fish form in his work.

The lamps arrived larger than life. Made of a ColorCore, a laminate often used for countertops, Gehry’s fish lamps range in size and color. His palette is distinct—cool sea greens, maritime blues, bright whites, and hot orange allude to colors one would find traveling along the Pacific Coast shoreline near Gehry’s hometown of Los Angeles. Broken shards of the ColorCore replicate fish scales and in several lamps, the shards mimic organic ocean forms such as coral and seaweed.

As art handlers carefully placed the lamps in position, Fred Hoffman, who worked with Gehry during the production of these lamps in the 1980s and 90s, offered guidance and anecdotes regarding this period of Gehry’s work. Fish Forms includes two objects from his personal collection including the playful and vibrant Siamese Fish Lamp, 1985-86.

Fish Forms is the first of two exhibitions celebrating esteemed architects. A Hanukkah Project: Daniel Libeskind’s Line of Fire opens on November 21.

Fish Forms: Lamps by Frank Gehry opens on Sunday, August 29. It is organized by Ruth Beesch, Deputy Director for Program.

Related Links:
Installation Gallery Photos (Flickr)
Exhibition Overview – Fish Forms: Lamps by Frank Gehry

Written by Joanna Montoya, Curatorial Assistant.
Image credits: Frank Gehry, Low White Fish Lamp, 1984. ColorCore, silicone, wood.  Collection of Fred Hoffman and Frank Gehry, courtesy of Fred Hoffman Fine Art. / Fred Hoffman and Ruth Beesch. Photos by Christine McMonagle.
Fish Forms: Lamps by Frank Gehry is made possible, in part, by the Melva Bucksbaum Fund for Contemporary Art.