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Monday, March 16, 2015

Lamp of The Covenant: Artist Dave Lane Hopes To Shine God's Light Upon Contemporary Jewish Museum

Posted By on Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 6:21 PM

click to enlarge 3_davelane_lampofthecovenant.jpg

Renny Pritikin, chief curator of the Contemporary Jewish Museum, couldn't be more excited about Lamp of the Covenant, artist Dave Lane's fascinating and impressive sculpture now on display in the lobby at Contemporary Jewish Museum.  Pritikin was curating exhibits at the museum of UC Davis when he first saw Dave Lane's work at Sacramento City College. Lamp of the Covenant was first seen there.

"I hadn't seen that original and assertive a work in a very long time," Pritikin said, recalling how excited Lane's work made him feel.

"One thing that's very special about Dave is that he's not a careerist," Pritikin noted. "He cares about the context of where the work is shown. It took a while to get him to commit because he wanted to be sure that we'd respect the work."

The Contemporary Jewish Museum might be the perfect setting for Lane's massive sculpture. The piece is a representation of the universe, and of God's plan for us all. Just look up when you enter the building and there it will be. 

Lane, who is not Jewish, tells SF Weekly that Lamp of the Covenant has a great deal to do with Judaism. "God said 'let there be light,' and then wham! There was a whole universe of stars and planets. That's one of the things it represents," Lane said. 

"Let there be light," God's legendary quote from the Book of Genesis, applies to all, Lane says, whether you're Jewish or not.

The many globes that make up Lamp of the Covenant might be Earth globes, but looks can be deceiving.  "They are meant to be different alien planets," Lane explained. 

Lane, once an employee of PG&E, feels that the museum, once a PG&E power plant, is the perfect setting for Lamp of the Covenant.

"It's cool to have a sculpture about stars and planets in an old power plant," he said.

Lamp of the Covenant represents many different things, according to the artist. "It could be an interplanetary trade route," Lane explained. "If you travel between planets, it takes a long time, so the back of Lamp of the Covenant is the past and the front is the future."

Renny Pritikin assures museum visitors that Lamp of the Covenant has more to do with Judaism than visitors might realize. Light is one of Judaism's central tenets — and Lamp of the Covenant is immersed in light. Pritikin pointed out that most synagogues feature a lamp at the front of the sanctuary, where prayer services are conducted.

 "In placing this representative of the Covenant at our front door, we are saying that whether you're Jewish or not, we are inviting you to take part in the conversation," Pritikin says. 

That conversation, which has been a central part of Judaism for centuries, is about the covenant between humans and God. It's a conversation that all, whether Jewish or not, are invited to take part in. 

Stop into the Contemporary Jewish Museum, check out the Lamp of the Covenant, and take part in the conversation. 
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