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Ira Goldman's Home

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  • Location:

    San Jose, California, USA (Map)

  • Status:

    Extant

  • Artist:
  • Built:

    begun circa 1977

  • Materials:

    animal skins and skulls, devotional memorabilia, exotic souvenirs, masks, mirrors, toys

About the Artist/Site

Ira Goldman grew up in Brooklyn, New York. One summer, when he was vacationing with his parents at a resort in the Catskill Mountains northwest of New York City, he had a striking dream. He saw himself going below the bungalow in which they were staying, and opening a door to a magic room. This room was filled with wondrous and mysterious objects of all kinds, and a kindly gentleman guided him through it. Upon awakening, Goldman was saddened to discover that the bungalow had no lower level, and thus, no magic room.

As an adult, Goldman worked as a nurse and at the Post Office. He also traveled widely, and moved to San José, California in 1970. Around 1977, during a drive over the mountains from San Jose, Goldman saw black images behind the trees and hills as he passed them, and believed he was seeing the image of death. He decided to stop at a store to buy a ritual candle to light in memory of past family members who had died. When he returned to his house, the telephone was ringing. His mother was on the phone, telling him of the death of his step-father.

Ira put the candle on a shelf. Shortly thereafter, he placed next to it a pair of traditional Macedonian hopanci (peasant shoes) he’d purchased at a local flea market. They had struck something inside him, he said, and he decided he would purchase and display other objects that made him feel the same way.

Since then, Goldman has purchased, and, in his words, “devotedly” installed objects on shelves, on the walls, on floors, and on the ceiling of a ten foot by fourteen foot room in his home. The room is dark and dense, the pieces piled on each other in strange and complex interactions, a mirrored background adding depth and confounding the perception of placement. Personal photographs and mementos share space with animal skins and skulls, toys, masks, exotic souvenirs, and devotional memorabilia—a marked contrast to the wide open and minimally decorated rooms in the rest of the house.

~ Jo Farb Hernández

SPACES Archives Holdings

SPACES archives includes digital photographs of Ira Goldman’s room, 2011. 

Map and site information

Not Exact Address
San Jose, California, United States
Latitude/Longitude: 37.339645 / -121.895156

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