Every year near the start of fall, huts pop up around New York City for a week to serve as temporary places of gathering for practicing Jews. These sukkahs are built during the religious holiday of Sukkot, and while many New Yorkers likely encounter them, few actually enter the spaces, which are traditionally used for families to sleep or eat in. This year during Sukkot, a vibrant, mobile sukkah will traverse New York City’s five boroughs, inviting anyone — regardless of religious affiliation — to step inside and experience a moment of tranquility. Artists Danielle Durchslag and Ryan Frank, who make up Assembly Required, have created “A Wandering Sukkah,” a custom-designed, sculptural sukkah standing tall in the bed of a truck that is now visiting various sites around the city, open to all who wish to enter.
“One of the tenets of Sukkot is to welcome the guests,” Frank told Hyperallergic. “So in that spirit we wanted to do something really radically inclusive for people who don’t normally celebrate this holiday.”
The project reinterprets and expands the framework of Sukkot to make the tradition of gathering in a sukkah a more accessible but also more intimate experience. Composed of multicolored dibond aluminum panels that form a highly geometric, columnar cocoon, the pair’s design bears little resemblance to a traditional sukkah — usually similar to a sheltered room — intended instead to serve as a haven amid the chaos of the city. An archway leads to its interior, which fits just one person, and it is painted black in an inversion of its vivid shell to create a quiet space for reflection. There is no roof covering, which is a critical element of a typical sukkah; instead, a hole draws one’s eye to the sky — a rare invitation for New Yorkers to focus, in peace, on a slice of nature. The sukkah itself is surrounded by plants resting in the truck’s bed to form a mobile patch of green within New York’s concrete-heavy infrastructure. Assembly Required hopes that those who experience its sukkah leave refreshed, breaking the typically rapid pace of urbanites.
“Our goal is to get New Yorkers of all backgrounds in this sukkah, one at a time,” Durchslag said, “And that this week we would change the energy of New York City for the better.”
That’s a lofty aspiration, but purposefully so: the pair wanted to create a work that expressed a grandiosity similar to that that characterizes the intentions of another type of mobile religious space, the Mitzvah tank. These recreational vehicles, driven by Orthodox Jews, roam the city to engage with nonobservant Jews and spread information on how to beckon the messiah.
Primarily an art installation, “A Wandering Sukkah” will park at various art institutions around the city during its run including the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Jewish Museum, and the Maxwell Davidson Gallery. It will also appear at places such as the Hindu Society Temple of North America and the Tenement Museum, where one may not expect to such an art exhibition — much less a sukkah. New York City is home to pockets of quiet, but one usually has to seek these out; “A Wandering Sukkah” aims to interrupt the daily routines of passersby by bringing an unexpected, interior space for reflection directly to them.
Our favorite US shows of 2021, brought to you by the writers and editors of Hyperallergic.
Naito’s Op-inspired abstractions might have been an oblique way of dealing with feelings of displacement after moving to the United States.
BIENALSUR, the International Biennial of Contemporary Art of the South, has returned to Saudi Arabia for an exhibition presenting more than 20 international artists, including Filwa Nazer, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, and Tony Oursler.
Braque’s paintings speak of self-containment, of a quietly impassioned, ongoing dedication to the task at hand.
In Amber Robles-Gordon’s artwork, the borders between states matter less than the overlapping territories of self, the never-ending negotiation of identity.
Schulte seems at once focused and restless, determined and open.
The archive kicks off an initiative by the Met Museum and the Studio Museum to conserve and digitize his works, and research the context of his photographs, his singular photographic techniques, and his life.
On view in Abu Dhabi until February 5, 2022, the paintings and sculptures in Modernisms shed new light on artists like Parviz Tanavoli, Fahrelnissa Zeid, and M.F. Husain.
In 1996, Nez Perce Tribe members had to fundraise hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay the Ohio History Connection to secure artifacts that were rightfully theirs.
Andrew McCarthy used a modified telescope to take over 150,000 images of the sun, combining them to create the stunningly crisp photo.
The city brought shows to life that will be talked about for years to come.