Israeli museums unite for anniversary exhibitions

JERUSALEM. Six museums have joined forces to celebrate Israel’s 60th anniversary. Each institution is representing a decade of Israeli art, either in a retrospective of the generation’s artists or through themes that represent the era.

Jerusalem’s Israel Museum began the series with the first show which is devoted to contemporary art dating from 1998 to 2008 (until 30 August). This underscores the major changes that have taken place in the Israeli art world since the state’s founding, in terms of subject matter, materials and the role of the artist in society. Unlike the optimism of the early years, its themes includes apocalypse, fantasy and escape.

At the opening, collectors Peggy Scott and David Teplitzky from the US, enquired about purchasing the towering statue, The Boy from South Tel Aviv by Ohad Meromi, which is made primarily of Styrofoam and recalls traditional African figurines. It represents foreign workers living on the margins of Israeli society.

When James Snyder, director of the Israel Museum, explained that the museum was already raising funds to purchase the work for its own collection, Ms Scott and Mr Teplitzky, and their business partners, Erez and Sylvia Shalev, decided to buy it and donate it to the museum.

Meanwhile, the first decade of Israeli art will be displayed at the Museum of Art at Ein Harod; the Ashdod Art Museum will show the sixties generation; the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the seventies; Haifa Museum will focus on the eighties; and the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art will examine the nineties. This is the first time that Israel’s museums have worked in cooperation.

Lauren Gelfond Feldinger

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