|Richard Serra's sculpture, Gravity. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum|
Just as the architecture of the building draws much of its power from the history of the Holocaust, so the four works of art, displayed in and outside the building, evoke emotion and reinforce the memorial function of the museum.
The four commissioned works of art are site-specific, and were chosen by an independent jury. The architect collaborated with the artists to ensure a harmonious relationship of each work to its architectural context.
|Joel Shapiro's sculpture, Loss and Regeneration. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum||
Loss and Regeneration
Joel Shapiro's Loss and Regeneration poignantly addresses the disintegration of families and the tragedy of lives interrupted by the Holocaust. Shapiro's work, situated on the plaza along Raoul Wallenberg Place, consists of two bronze elements that engage in symbolic dialogue. The larger piece is a towering, abstract, tree-like form that suggests a figure. Approximately 100 feet away, a smaller, house-like structure is precariously tipped upside down on its roof.
The work memorializes the children who perished during the Holocaust, and is accompanied by an excerpt of a poem written by a child in the Terezin ghetto in Czechoslovakia:
Until, after a long, long time,
I'd be well again.
Then I'd like to live
And go back home again.
Shapiro likens the overturned house to the subversion of the universal symbol of security, comfort, and continuity. The larger figure is conceived as an emblem of renewal, a metaphor for cycles of life and death, the experience and the overcoming of anguish, the possibility of a future even after all has been lost.