New Yorkers famously approach commuting with fierce focus, staring straight ahead of them or at the ground as they pound the pavement from one location to another. Assembly Required: A Wandering Sukkah is a fine art, interactive sukkah experience designed to visually and energetically interrupt this urban rhythm. Created by artists Danielle Durchslag and Ryan Frank, the project is a mobile, artist-designed sukkah built in the Invisible Dog Art Center back garden, hoisted onto the bed of a pick up truck, and then set off to tour New York City. The truck will drive through New York City’s five boroughs during Sukkot, parking at varied locations over the course of the holiday. It will stop for a couple of hours on Friday, October 2nd in front of the East (Park-facing) Entrance of the Queens Museum for the general public.
During the holiday of Sukkot Jews are commanded to build a sukkah, or hut, and eat and sleep inside the temporary structure for seven days. The sukkah is built according to a set of religious guidelines and restrictions, determining everything from the roof materials to the size of the walls. These dwellings symbolize the physical structures Jews lived in during their 40 years wandering the desert, and every fall they can be seen dotting the New York City landscape, residing in public parks and next to private homes. Though most New Yorkers routinely see sukkahs, very few step inside.
Lubavitchers provide Mitzvah tanks, wandering ritual vehicles, and beckon Jews inside to create a more religious world. They believe each Jew who adheres to Jewish practice helps beckon the messiah. A Wandering Sukkah also employs a vehicular ritual delivery system, but for all New Yorkers, regardless of their religious identity. The artists believe each city dweller that enters their sukkah emerges a calmer and more contented urban citizen. In giving ordinary New Yorkers a temporary shelter, they aim to change the pace and energy of New York City for the better, one visitor at a time.
Each day during the weeklong holiday of Sukkot, September 27th – October 4th, A Wandering Sukkah will park in a different neighborhood throughout the five boroughs. Throughout the week arts organizations and community centers serve as local “neighborhood hosts” in each neighborhood where the sukkah truck parks, announcing the sukkah’s location and welcoming their constituents to participate in the project. Welcoming one visitor at a time, the sukkah will offer a curated view of the sky within a peaceful, semi-private respite from urban chaos. The truck bed will have a small sidewalk, green space, and a sky scraper-inspired sukkah for one. It’s a single serving, peaceful city block oasis, three feet above the ground. For a list of host sites visit: www.sukkahassembly.com/Tour
About the Artists
Danielle Durchslag is an artist and curator based in Brooklyn, NY. She has exhibited throughout the United States, including solo exhibitions at Denny Gallery and Yale University. Her work has been shown at The Invisible Dog Art Center, Winkleman Gallery, Foley Gallery, and the Wassaic Project. In addition to her individual practice, she curates/creates as one half of the art collective Assembly Required. Danielle’s work has been discussed in Photograph Magazine, The Huffington Post, and The Jewish Week, amongst others. She studied at Wellesley College, The Museum School of Fine Arts Boston, and New York University. For more info: www.danielledurchslag.com
Ryan Frank is an artist and curator based in Brooklyn, NY and Sharon, CT, a native of California and a graduate of New York University. He’s had solo exhibitions at the Invisible Dog Art Center and the Mattatuck Museum, and has exhibited his work at Gallery Rene Mele, Recession Art, the Wassaic Project, the Re Institute, and CR-10. Ryan is an occasional performer and has collaborated on dance and performance projects with choreographers including Laurie Berg and Katie Rose McLaughlin. His curatorial projects include Ode Hotel at the Wassaic Project, Used Books at Winkleman Gallery, and Assembly Required — a roving exhibition within a sukkah that will have its second incarnation at the Invisible Dog in the fall of 2015. For more info: www.ryanmfrank.com
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