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Wednesday, April 11, 2007 / 23 Nisan 5767
 NY   Nat'l   Israel   Int'l   Short Takes 

(03/30/2007) Send this articlePrint this Article Send this articleSend this article
Matzah-Media Art
Randi Sherman
Arch of matzah triumphs: James Donovan beside his winning entry in NYU competition.

“How do you reinvent matzah after 130 years?” Arye Weigensberg, assistant brand manager for Manischewitz, asked the crowd before announcing the winner of the first ever Manischewitz Matzah Sculpture Competition. The answer: build with it.

James Donovan, a freshman studying studio art at New York University, won the contest, held on Monday at the Edgar M. Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at NYU. His winning sculpture recreated the Washington Square Arch entirely out of matzah.

Shocked at receiving top honors and the $1,000 grand prize, Donovan turned beet red, in contrast with his teal-dyed hair.

“I’m just completely overwhelmed, flabbergasted,” he said. “Home to me is Washington Square.” His design proposal referred to the arch as a symbol of a unified home for NYU students, emblematic of New York itself in his eyes.

Weigensberg and curator Lois Stavsky judged the event. “It was amazing the diverse response to a simple request,” Weigensberg said.

Other entries in the contest included “Passover and New Orleans: Exodus and Empathy Revisited” by Erica Dobin, who constructed a series of sukkot out of matzah, foam board and photographs she took while attending a New Orleans rebuilding trip with a group of Muslim and Jewish NYU students during spring break. Daniel Rosenberg, a graduate student in the NYU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, recreated souvenir photograph projector keychains with old family photos to show the idea of “home as an idealized construct.” Chana Langman recreated the Second Temple in Jerusalem, and Leia Weil and Erica Frankel built a model of the Western Wall, complete with worshippers.

Any student attending a school served by the Bronfman Center, including Cooper Union, The Fashion Institute of Technology, The School of Visual Arts and NYU, was eligible to compete. The sculpture had to incorporate matzah as an artistic medium and be no more than two feet in height or diameter.

Out of 12 entries received, eight were chosen for display at the Bronfman Center. They are part of the “Home and Away: The Spaces We Inhabit,” an art exhibit that runs through May 13.




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