Contemporary Israeli art at AU Museum, DC

                                 Still from Sigalit Landau’s DeadSee

It’s been about eleven years now since I left Israel, yet my connection with the exhibition of Israeli artists at the American University Museum was immediate. Contemporary Israeli art is out-of-the-box, cutting edge, and in-your-face. Pretty representative of the country as a whole, I would say.

All the works belonged to the Donald Rothfeld Collection of Contemporary Israeli Art, just gifted to the Museum. Many of Israel’s better known artists were represented – Moshe Kupferman, Yael Bartana, Tsibi Geva, Michal Rovner, Sigalit Landau and Moshe Gershuni  to name but a few of the heavy hitters. ( Click here to read my interview of the latter’s exceedingly talented son, Aram Gershuni).

                            A typical work by Moshe Kupferman

The themes expressed by the artists convey the preoccupations of the young nation – the Holocaust that hangs over it like an ominous shadow, the continuous wars, the soul-searching over the Palestinian issue. One gets a sense of a country that is by necessity closing in upon itself yet struggling to claw itself out of its predicament.

One of Tsibi Geva's works from the Kaffiyeh series One of Tsibi Geva’s works from the Kaffiyeh series

TWO MUST-SEE VIDEOS (One of these days I will figure out how to embed videos into the blog…) :

Israeli artists were amongst the first to embrace video as an art form. Two works that left a lasting impression on me were video works: The first was Tamy Ben Tor’s video trilogy of the artist in various disguises spewing verbal diarrhea that is really quite disturbing. Watch this one called Yid. The second is Dana Levy’s lyrically named video Departures/50 ways to leave your lover. Just LOVE this one and hope you do too. Shalom for now!

(PS. Back to the subject of portraits from previous blogs, obviously I am not the only artist fascinated/obsessed with portraits – here is Switzerland-based Chinese artist Qui Jie at his first major solo exhibition in Singapore. Does the grid look familiar…?)

VIDEO: Qiu Jie — Recluse from a Distant Land

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