Wednesday, October 14, 2009

USA: Adolph Gottlieb Stained Glass Windows at Kingsway Jewish Center

USA: Adolph Gottlieb Stained Glass Windows at Kingsway Jewish Center
You can read my latest article in Tablet: Magazine: A New Read on Jewish Life here:

Paned Expressions

Though a bit tarnished, the Abstract Expressionist windows at Brooklyn’s Kingsway Jewish Center still glimmer

By Samuel D. Gruber

There is no shortage of synagogues in Brooklyn. Many are beautiful and some are unusual, but most are unknown except to their congregants. In order to help protect this heritage of often aging religious buildings, the New York Landmarks Conservancy embarked in 2006 on a project to survey them.

As a result, several synagogues have been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, and among these is one special for its place in modern art: the Kingsway Jewish Center, an Orthodox synagogue in the borough’s Flatbush section. Built from 1951 to 1957, the sanctuary was decorated with a suite of stained glass windows designed by Adolph Gottlieb. These little known windows are precious examples of the position of New York’s abstract art outside the world of galleries and museums. They also provide positive evidence of a Jewish component in Gottlieb’s work. The windows are in poor condition, but the Kingsway congregation and the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation anticipate that National Register designation would help spur fund raising for their conservation. Ann Friedman, director of the Sacred Sites Program of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, says that it was when viewing Kingsway in 2004 that she realized “the great but under-recognized synagogue architecture in New York.”

read the full article and see more pictures here

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