California Studies Association

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ANTHOLOGY: Daniel Libeskind’s Contemporary Jewish Museum opens in San Francisco

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The Contemporary Jewish Museum opened its new building in the Yerba Buena cultural district on Sunday. The museum selected Daniel Libeskind ten years ago before the project was held up in financial and logistical complications. Libeskind won international acclaim–and a mountain of commissions–when he prevailed in the competition for master site planner at the World Trade Center Site in 2003. Two main features of the San Francisco building are its bizarre metaphorical angles and its post-modern hybrid of ultra-modern architecture with an existing 1907 building designed by Willis Polk, a PG&E substation, a hold-over from the post-conflagration City Beautiful movement. Here’s a re-cap of the reporting that went on and some resources for the new building.

The LA Times provided architectural criticism that questions Libeskind’s career development and discusses major features of the building.

Mathew Kuruvila discusses the Bay Area Jewish tradition in the Chronicle.

The Chronicle outlined the setbacks the museum faced in its ten year journey.

John King does a critical piece for the Chronicle‘s coverage of the opening. “Is the Contemporary a great work of architecture. No.”

King also wrote a good speculative article in the Chronicle for the groundbreaking ceremony of the museum in 2006.

Kenneth Baker does a review of the new Contemporary’s exhibits: artists musing on Genesis, John Zorn’s curatorial soundscapes, William Steig’s cartoons, and submitted photos from Bay Area Jewish life.

David Basulto took some good pics in this post for

Libeskind’s firm’s website also has some cool images.

SFCurbed also did the Chronicle’s work with these reports (Number One, Number Two, Number Three, Number Four) on and array of photographs of the Contemporary Jewish Museum.

Zeek did an interview with Libeskind about the SF museum.

The Contemporary Jewish museum features an mp3 audio tour with California historian Kevin Starr about the PG&E substation as well as an mp3 audio interview with Libeskind.


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