For more than a decade, ARTfx has collaborated with designer, Alexander Isley, on a variety of projects at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts. Most recently, this sanctuary for Yiddish literature and art was tastefully converted into an engaging, interactive museum, including an updated theater and a recreation of the I.L. Peretz Salon.
For such a monumental undertaking, the center solicited a team of trusted experts including architect, Amy Reichert. ARTfx’s custom-fabricated displays, extensive murals, and hanging banners brought the vision to life. The work reflects more than five years of coordination between designers, architects, archivists, and preparators.
This 1918 Yiddish linotype press weighs 4,500 pounds and is displayed on the main floor of the center. ARTfx manufactured placards with images and copy describing the historic printing machine. (Click the image below and use the white arrows on either side to scroll.)
YIDDISH: A GLOBAL CULTURE
“Yiddish: A Global Culture” serves as the basis for the interactive exhibit distributed throughout the main floor of the renovated center. With direction from the design team, ARTfx fabricated multiple metal structures that display modern Yiddish literature, theater, music, press, and politics. Among this collection are rare books, artwork, photographs, sheet music, typewriters, and thematic memorabilia. Due to their massive size, situating the units within the space involved clever engineering. (Click the image below and use the white arrows on either side to scroll.)
The Yiddish Book Center’s exciting new updates gained immediate accolades from press outlets. The Hampshire Gazette notes, “Yiddish: A Global Culture is the most expansive exhibition the Amherst center has ever staged, a sweeping exploration of modern Yiddish literature, theater, music, politics and more that flourished from the late 19th century through the first half of the 20th century, linking communities from Warsaw to Vilna to New York to Buenos Aires.”
BOOK COVER FLAGS
Hanging banners depicting classic, well-known book covers adorn the hallway of the main floor. The pennant-style banners hang below a skylight which necessitated a specialized printing technique known as “dye sublimation.” The process allows the ink to completely permeate the fabric, protecting bright colors from intense sunlight. (Click the image below and use the white arrows on either side to scroll.)
ISAAC LIEB PERETZ SALON
I.L. Peretz was a provincial lawyer turned Hebrew and Yiddish author. The exhibit faithfully replicates his Warsaw, Poland apartment- right down to the wall treatment. For authenticity, The Yiddish Book Center consulted a specialist to recreate the specific pattern of the salon wallpaper. ARTfx vectorized the pattern for exact replication. (Click the image below and use the white arrows on either side to scroll.)
The theater at the book center received a facelift with a fresh coat of paint and sawtooth-patterned walls. New displays showcase historical Yiddish entertainment, including political puppets from 1926. ARTfx constructed custom casing decorated with prints designed by Alexander Isley to house the puppets and assorted artifacts. (Click the image below and use the white arrows on either side to scroll.)