Watching David Moss this morning brought some sweet memories –
Arnold was considering leaving architecture for a career in Judaica in 1981. David Moss had not yet made aliyah, already had a reputation with his ketubot. Arnold called David to discuss this career change. And, later, at the International Seminar on Jewish Art in Jerusalem, we sat with him during a lecture on the Jewish content of the work of Barnett Newman. Arnold turned to David and said he had to get to an art supply store, and David drove us to the one on Emek Rafaim. One of the drawings inspired by that lecture has been acquired by the Knoxville Museum of Art.
Update January 3, 2022. The URL no long works.
The link was to a Moss-Rabinowitz program for a Global Day of Learning.
Jo Milgrom created a piece she named “Bezeq after Arnold Schwarzbart, Knoxville Tennessee” using his porcelain Italian motif mezuzzah and the telephone cable attached to the opening that would display the letter shin.
Updated January 3, 2022 to remove URL to the website which is no longer active.
Added November 6, 2017
Lou Gauci, architect and friend, has shared his thoughts about Arnold’s work. It is his advice that guided me to decide that the collection of materials around Arnold’s 45 year career as architect and artist should remain in Knoxville. The McClung Collection was my first choice for the most appropriate site and I am grateful to Steve Cotham, McClung Collection Manager, that he agreed and is very pleased to add this information to the McClung Collection. I have already begun the transfer of some items, and there is much to sort and document as I continue this work. These are Lou’s thoughts, and he has given me permission to share them.
Thoughts Regarding the Arnold Schwarzbart Archive (prepared by Louis Gauci)
The following are some of my initial thoughts developed subsequent to meeting with Mary Linda Schwarzbart last October 2016. Later it was offered for her consideration, as a distillate of ideas regarding a location and placement of her late husband Arnold Schwarzbart’s broad portfolio of creative and artistic works including architectural drawings, graphics and Judaic art.
Where does Arnold’s work fall into the spectrum of Judaic Art?
How does his opus contribute/ augment the spectrum of Judaic Art?
Where is his work most rooted?
Does his work transcend location?
What locations are potentially viable?
Where does his work/ archive need to be to attract scholars and students?
Where would it most easily be accomplished?
The inertia and locus of the Arnold Schwarzbart Gallery within the Arnstein Jewish Community Center in Knoxville and its future renovation plans is a potential factor requiring strong consideration for a possible “Study Center” of his work there inspiring study from established or aspiring students scholars, Judaical artisans and craftsman.
Given there are Jewish or Judaica Museums in the United States located in the East Coast (The Jewish Museum in New York City) and West Coast (Skirball Museum in Los Angeles) it seemed at first that being offered and possibly housed in such prominent and large institutions may seem befitting. An important issue further deliberated is of the enticing potential for the ASA to reside within such places but perhaps without a tangible context and importance of the locus of its making.
With reflection upon the questions I posed to myself and given Arnold’s strong and rooted connection to the Knoxville area, it seems wholly appropriate, plausible and achievable for Mary Linda to guide it through its placement, that his archive remain in Knoxville. Arnold’s art was created here and remains a living testament to the spirit of survival, tradition and creative legacy to people of the Jewish faith as well as those of other faiths or those with none at all. It would have a much stronger identity and context for being created in Knoxville for those who reside here or travel to view, appreciate and study.
Essential publicity initiatives of the Arnold Schwarzbart Archive (ASA) are fundamental regardless of any final venue. Broad dissemination in print, media combined with referential Internet drivers, will inform the broader public of the holdings of the ASA so it could be accessible to a large audience of potential scholars and students and other interested parties.
POSSIBLE IMPLEMENTATION PHASING
PHASE 1 Identify interested host institution(s)
PHASE 2 Comprehensive catalogue of holdings – Archivist
In researching the best location for the ephemera of Arnold’s career in architecture, Judaic, and other creative endeavors, I contacted Ori Soltes (http://orizsoltes.com/). In addition to agreeing to be a reference for Arnold’s work, Ori told me that he had included Arnold’s omer counter in his newest book. I have included his text about the omer counter, which is so eloquent.
Tradition and Transformation: Three Millennia of Jewish Art and Architecture by Ori Z. Soltes Jul 19, 2016
Includes Arnold’s omer counter: The Time’Til Sinai
With the following text:
“The principle of creatively blurring ceremonial objects and fine art is also exemplified by a work that counts down the time between Passover and Shavuot—between the departure from Egypt and receiving of the Ten Commandments at Sinai—created in 1997 by Russian-born Knoxville Judaica artist Arnold Schwarzbart (1942-2015). To the untutored eye, this 14”h by 18”w slightly curved clay work—through which 7 bronze rods pass, hung with small copper triangles, and with a repousse gold backdrop—would surely present itself as an attractive abstract table sculpture (FIG 592). But its function is to mark the seven weeks between the second day of Passover and Shavuot; its division into seven sevens—the triangles are shifted one each day, from side to side of the bronze rods—its gold embossed with 49 pairs of Hebrew letters as a reminder of the obligation for the Jewish mystic to meditate on each of those days as s/he prepares him/herself for the Sinai moment. Thus the work—a distinctive multi-media semi-abstract sculpture called “The Time “Til Sinai”—is, in fact, a functional omer counter.”
This is my first post to the Legacy Project site. I will be adding pages as I document the work that Arnold produced during his 35 year career designing and creating Judaica for the home and commissions for synagogues, nursing homes — and even the Nashville Zoo. You can see samples of his work on www.schwarzbart.com. This WordPress site will be linked to that website when it is a bit more developed.
The pages with more information are organized on the dropdown menu.