New Year-the journey continues

They say times flies. This idiom was first recorded about 1800 but Shakespeare used a similar phrase, “the swiftest hours, as they flew,” as did Alexander Pope, “swift fly the years.” When I realized that it’s been more than a year since my last post I ask myself, where did the time go? What have I been doing all the last year?

Well, it’s time to change that.

It’s February 2019, I will try to post more frequently. My goal is to write about the art I see and that talks to me, at least once a month.

A few weeks ago I made a list and headed down to Chelsea. I wanted to see the new works by Lynette Yiadom-Boake, an artist I discovered a few years ago at the art fair in Chicago. She was born in London, won a few prizes and is included in numerous institutional collections. The images in her paintings are pure imagination; she studies old paintings and lets her brush tell the story.

This show is called “In Lieu Of A Louder Love”. There is a poem which she wrote that might shed light on the images.

In Lieu Of A Louder Love
In the Shade of Hooded Cove,
In Debt to the Dead Oak.
In Range of a Twelve Gauge,
On Embers over Smoke.
 At Pains to Hold the Wanton,
At Home to all who Knock.
At Prayer on Prickly Hearth Rug,
An Eye upon the Clock.
 In the Parlance of the Pilgrim,
In Hallelujah Coat and Tie.
In Soul so Black Beguiling,
That the Ravens do Carp and Cry.
 In Memory of A Cipher,
At Peace beside resting Dove.
 In Light of Care and Kindness,
In Lieu of A Louder Love.

My next stop was at Mitchell-Innes & Nash.  What caught my eye was the detailed drawings of LA artist Karl Haendel.  The images draw from American life. You can see a portrait of Barbara Walters, a stack of lawnmowers, an American eagle and football players in a huddle. The common tread that links these images is the dialogue between memory, both personal and collective, and national identity. The artist gives his own interpretation and presents us with an alternate American reality.

Across the street I walked into James Cohen gallery to see the show ” Borders”.

It is a powerful show. A group exhibition that considers how contemporary artists engage in politics, ideology and formal borders. The exhibit seek to create a dialogue about borders both as a productive exchange and as a barrier.

I found some of my favorites artists: Yael Bartana; an Israeli pioneer black and white photo., although the photo is titled;The missing negatives of the Sonnenfeld Collection, https://www.bh.org.il/databases/visual-documentation/photo-collections/.                    Yinka Shonibare ; American Library. Shonibare uses African textiles to create books. The spines are  embossed in gold with names of American politicians who are first and second generation immigrants. Jordan Nassar, a Palestinian-American artist who uses tradition Palestinian embroidery in his abstract works. There is a nostalgic feeling to these works. Between the stitches one senses his desire for a peaceful resolution to the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. Dead Scott who imagines a world without America. A world without boundaries or borders.

 

“Imagine a World without America” was originally designed for and displayed as a panel of Mark di Suvero/Rikrit TIravanija’s Peace Tower at the 2006 Whitney Biennial. Subsequently it has been printed as a large print on canvas as well as a smaller version on paper.

As I was walking home I passed a Mark Di Suvero sculpture called Hugs.

Maybe it is a fitting ending to this first post of the year, sending hugs to all who are reading this.

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Dots, Dots and much more….

Once a month I take  a half day to walk two to three streets in Chelsea looking at art.

I compile a list of galleries, search for artists I like and look forward to discover new talent.

In November everyone was talking about the de Vinci, the most expensive art sold at auction to the tune of half a billion dollars. It was time to check what art is being shown at the galleries.

I decided to start my tour with the most talked about art show that opened in town. People are lined up for more then two hours to see  the Yayoi Kusama show at The David Zwirner Gallery.

A few months ago I saw an incredible installation at the Hirshhorn Museum of ten Kusama rooms. It was like diving into the rabbit-hole to Alice in wonderland. Here at the Zwirner gallery there were three rooms which were mirrored installations of balls. When I peeked through a window I could see myself on the other side. The highlight of the show for me was a room of recent works that looks like an a aboriginal work from New Zealand with African-like masks designed by Kusama who  lives and works in Japan. The colorful display makes you feel like you are in a field of flowers. You want to take each painting, transform it into a scarf and wrap yourself in these colors.

 

At The Jack Shainman gallery, Nina Chanel Abney works  are full of  abstract color but on second look one can discover the story behind the images. She touches on contemporary issues as race, politics, religion and art history. You feel drawn into the images that jump up from the collage-like art.

Cecily Brown’s work at Paula Cooper gallery with the title A Day! Help! Help! Another Day! is again full of references to art history’s iconic paintings such as The Raft of the Medusa by Eugene Delacroix and Shipwreck by Theodor Gericault but on closer inspection you can find a burka clad women, which transports us back to the present.

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William Villalongo at The Susan Inglet Gallery was a refreshing exhibit. I had not been previously aware of this artist but his cut-paper work with images of the black male figure lurking from among the cutouts conjures spaces of sensuality, humor and history.

The last two stops were a true surprise. I walked into The Hauser and Wirth Gallery to re-discover the sculpture of David Smith. I have been to Storm King and seen the outdoor sculptures but here in the space of the gallery were pairings of Smith paintings (or rather studies) with miniature sculptures. They were so delicate, yet strong . The show is called Origins & Innovations. The art  indeed reflects the subject.

 

Last stop was Richard Avedon Nothing Personal show at Pace Gallery which gives us a glimpse into the past. The photographs and archival materials are taken from a collaboration with James Baldwin. The two met in high school and throughout their writings dealt with issues of race, mortality or as Avedon wrote  “the future of humanity”.

I chose to highlight one photo of an iconic person – Marilyn Monroe.  We see her without the glamour we usually associates with her image. It’s like we can read her thoughts.

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There are many more shows to see but for now I will leave it to others to explore.

In today’s complex world the colors in the paintings bring a smile and fills my heart with the hope that although contemporary art represents the state of the world today, which is not always bright, there is a a ray of hope in all those red dots, yellow lines and blue skies.

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This images was taken at the Gagosian Gallery. Alex Israel Flying Pelican and Jeff Wall California Landscape.

ֵ A journey to the unknown

This week’s parsha is Lech Lecha in which Abraham is called by G-d to leave his country and travel to an unknown land. “To the place where I shall show you”.  These were G-d’s words and G-d promises Abram that he will make of him a great nation and bless him.

I have been traveling in the last few weeks and although I planned to write my impressions earlier, it is today that I find myself ready to share my travel adventures.

When I heard about a JDC (Joint Distribution Committee) mission to Ethiopia my curiosity peaked. The trip was promoted as a journey of an immigrant from his homeland of Ethiopia to Israel.

All I knew was that in the 80’s there was Operation Moses where Jews from Ethiopia who walked to Sudan were airlifted to Israel. In the 90’s there was another operation called Solomon and more came, this time from Addis Ababa.

At that time I was living in the US, busy raising kids and, as an Israeli, acclimating to a new land and culture. I did not follow the plight of the Jews from Ethiopia.

We landed in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. It is a busy city with tall buildings, stores and lots of shanty towns. Old Eged buses (from Israel!), blue taxis (from Russia) and bikes are the mode of transportation…  not enough for the millions who live there, so you see many people walking. Kids coming from school in their uniform and women carrying dry wood collected in the forest on their backs. There is a lot of construction and dust. We toured the Ethiopian National Museum and saw “Lucy”.  Lucy consists of several hundred pieces of bone fossils representing 40% of a skeleton of a female of the hominid species and know by its Amharic language as “Dinkinesh” which means “you are marvelous”. We saw the Israeli embassy and met the ambassador; Belaynesh Zenaida, the first Ethiopian-born ambassador. We also met Dr. Rick Hodes who performs medical miracles on children with spinal conditions. He has been working tirelessly since the 1980’s on behalf of those without access to medical care. Although there are no more Jews left, it is important to maintain good relationship between the two governments.

The next day we flew to Axum, a town on the North which was once the crest of the Tigray Jewish community. There is only one paved road; the rest of the roads are unpaved and dusty. There are a few theories as to where the Jews came to Ethiopia from. One theory traces them to Yemen, the other claims that they came down from Egypt but the romantic legend is my favorite. It’s the story of the Queen of Sheba who traveled North to visit King Solomon, fell in love, converted to Judaism and bore a son to him and came back to live in Ethiopia. The story continues that this son went back to visit his father and one of his companions stole the Tablets of the Covenant which are housed in a church in Axum. We visited the church which is built like the Beit Hamikdash (The Temple in Jerusalem). We also saw Helen Sheba palace. We arrived to Axum on Friday and spend Shabbat touring the market which reminded me of the days of Abraham. People sitting on the ground with their merchandise. The Ethiopians are known for their coffee.  They meet three times a day for a coffee break and there is a whole ceremony built around this daily ritual.

We made havdala on top of a mountain overlooking the field of Teff (an Ethiopian grain that is also used to make Ingera; a special spongybread that’s used to eat the different foods and sometimes is used as utensils… yes, no need for fork and knife).

On Sunday we visited a school funded by the JDC. Some of the students walk a few miles by foot to get to the school.

There are no Jews living in the area. The “Beta Israel”; the Ethiopian Jews lived in villages and had their own schools and synagogue. They were called “Falashas” (the landless). The government owned the land and the Jews were mostly metal smiths and worked the land. Amram, who came with us, left his village when he was 5 years old and walked to Sudan with his family in the hope of reaching Jerusalem. “Jerusalem” was a magical word that described the longing for a better place. When reading the Haggadah on Passover we say “Next Year in Jerusalem”. Amram and his generation took it literally…. We walked up the mountain to reach his village; his former neighbors have taken over the abandoned homes. His village was near Mt. Sigd. Sigd is a Jewish holiday celebrated 50 days after Yom Kippur only by Ethiopian Jews.

There was no running water or electricity in the village but the landscape is beautiful. I could imagine groups of people carrying their few belongings, walking through the fields and desert with a longing for Zion. We were following their footsteps, but before embarking on the plane to Tel Aviv we stopped at Lalibella.

Lalibela is called the New Jerusalem although there are no synagogues or strong Jewish history there, rather there are incredible churches carved into the ground. The air is crisp but the roads are unpaved. The homes are build from metal scrapes and wood. On an early morning walk you can see everyone waking up and washing their faces from water in plastic bottles.

I have read about third world countries; here I could see it with my own eyes.

We flew to Tel Aviv, landed in the middle of the night. We were told that when the Ethiopians arrived they did not know what Jerusalem looked like as it was only an idea and they thought that the lights at Ben Gurion Airport was Jerusalem… They were taken to Ofakim, a town in the Negev. I can only imagine their surprise on seeing running water from a faucet or flipping a switch to get light.

Thirty years passed and unfortunately the Ethiopian Jews are not fully accepted by the Israeli society. In the news you read about the injustice done to a soldier or the mistreating of a woman looking for a job just because her skin color is black.

We visited a few programs that deal with empowering the elderly through gardening and a  multi year holistic intervention for Ethiopian-Israeli school children. We visited an Ethiopian culture center in Kiryat Gat where many of them settled.

We learned that even a generation after the community immigrated to Israel, young adults share the same obstacles when looking for a job. At Ort school in Ramat Gan we talked to students at a special 18 month pilot program which is a collaboration with El Al to teach them to be airplane technicians with the promise of a job at the company upon graduation. We also met a young Ethiopian who in 2007 started a not-for-profit called “Olim Beyahad” (rising up together) aimed at helping Ethiopian Israelis who hold university degrees integrate into the forefront of the Israeli workforce.

Our guide, Gideon named the mission: “It takes a village”. At the end of the 10 days  we understood what he meant. Each individual  that embarked on the journey across the deserts of Sudan or to addis Ababa with the dream of Jerusalem had no clue what was there behind the rainbow. They came from small villages carrying their tradition and culture in their mind. It takes more then a village to welcome the newcomers into the family of Israel. There is a comedy skit by Arik Einstein called Aliya in which he portrays hows each wave of immigrants mocks the next wave of new comers but at the end we are all Jews and Israel is our homeland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Collecting – Life Moments

A little girl, red basket in her hand, walks along the beach. Every other step, she bends down and picks up a shell. When the basket is full she dumps its contents with her mother; who sits nearby, and she continues. The sun is going down, its time to go home. When she gets home she will line all the shells on a special shelf. She likes to collect. She has 30 Barbie dolls, all types; they are from different nationalities and life-styles: “exercise Barbie”, “fashion Barbie,” “stewardess Barbie” and more. Each Barbie gets a shell as a present.

As kids we collect toys. I remember my son’s obsession with having all the different Power Rangers and then all the Ninja Turtles. It seems that with each year there was a new interest. It’s hard to let go, so the comic books, the Transformers, the baseball cards and the key chains all found their place in the basement. All of these are mementos of childhood. Each generation has it’s own collective interest.

There is an interesting show at the New Museum called The keeper. The exhibit is dedicated to the act of preserving objects, artworks, and images, but what makes it most interesting is the passion for accumulating Teddy Bear images by artist Ydessa Hendeles. I have seen another show of her work at the Helena Rubinstein Museum in Israel where she collected wooden dolls from the past century.

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Her installation takes most part of the second floor but other artists tell their story through the display of model houses or, for example, a drawing describing the horrors of the holocaust or painting by Hilma of Klint found after her death.

At ICP here

The exhibit is called “Public, Private, Secret” and is about people telling their story. There is a dialogue between and about the diversity of photographic and visual culture in a wholly unique and unexpected way. Each of the artists presented,tells their own story and by that telling we are experience and are drawn to be part of that story.

One photograph is a compilation of photos of people at a fashion show. We see their expressions and imagine what they see, what they think.

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Collecting is not only about art. We all love shopping for cloths and by this act we do collect. The idea of letting go of a favorite sweater or jacket is hard so we are left with a collection of “favorite cloths” that don’t always fit or may be out of the current fashion.

When my family moved to Westport from the city, the movers complained about the number of book boxes we had. We built a library on the second floor; needless to say it was not enough. We tried to categories the books according to our interests, religion, math, art, travel and more. My collection of cookbooks found it’s place in the kitchen and again some books were delegated to the basement.

Life would not be interesting without friends. It could be someone we met on a flight that becomes a friend or someone we see at the gym. Over the years we keep collecting friends. The friendships are the ties that help us go through life. We share happy and sad moments.

What I find fascinating is that as we age, our collective memories make up the building blocks that helps with the challenges of what we call The Third Age. Each experience enriches us. Our mind is like a computer that’s filled with data.

I spend the last week in Israel visiting my Mom. The Biennale of Israeli Ceramics at the Erez Israel Museum is an exhibit not to be missed.

There is also an interesting Picasso show at the Israel Museum. It’s called Drawing Inspiration. What strikes me is that at the age of 86 Picasso painted 365, which is an artistic autobiography, and one can look at as a collection of life-moments.

I started asking my mom to tell me about her life in Tel Aviv. To which school did she go? Who were her friends? Where was she when Ben Gurion declared the birth of Israel? I want to collect these memories, these are her personal stories and through them I get a glimpse of her in a different time and place.

I have seen the performances of an artistic group called Public Movement at the Tel Aviv Museum where they reenacted the declaration of the state and then took a group of ten people through the museum, behind the scenes and through the exhibits. There is a show at the Guggenheim museum called But a storm in Blowing from Paradise: contemporary Art from the Middle East and North Africa. The show presents works by artists from different countries including an interesting video by Uri Gersht walking in Eastern Europe and an installation of sand by Attiya. This exhibit also hosts a performance by the Public Movement Group. I signed up for a one-on-one briefing about art in Palestine before 1948. I did not know but according to their research there is a void and although art was created at that time there is hardly any art to be found by Palestinian artists at any museum in Israel or the West Bank. When I arrived at the museum, it was in the middle of installing a new show. I was met by an agent and was lead through back doors to a room on the 7th floor by the agent who proceeded to tell me the story of the lost art. Here again I found a collection of memories.

In the age of technology when we hardly stop to smell the roses or send a hand written note or read a book in real print, Collecting takes on a different meaning.

 

 

 

AGE-ING: Is it a numbers game?

It all started with a car. My old SUV died and I chose a sport two door roadster. I don’t remember the last time I felt so selfish in choosing something that is going to be hard to share with my grown kids.

A smile was on my friend’s face when he saw the car and asked: does someone have a midlife crisis? I just smiled back. I was puzzled and reflected…. really?? But I turned 60 last year. We all know that 50 is midlife, I am well past it.

The definition for AGE is: “a period of human life, measured by years from birth, usually marked by a certain stage or degree of mental or physical development and involving legal responsibility and capacity” and if we use it as verb to age means to grow old as “she is aging rapidly” (I hope not) or “the wine ages slowly” or “fear aged him overnight”.(The last definitions touches on age as number.)

When we approach 60 we are treated as OLD. Is it Ageism? Ageism is defined as a discrimination against persons of a certain age group or tendency to regard older person as debilitated, unworthy of attention, or unsuitable for employment.

I love numbers and I always try to find hidden meanings. In my twenties I went to University, married and had kids. In my thirties I raised a family. Family raising lasted till almost 50. I saw my job as wife/mother/organizer/volunteer/interior designer/chef/cook/party-planner /artist/collector. None of these were paid in the monetary sense but were appreciated by my family and friends who participated or enjoyed the results of all these interests. In the world we live in there is not much appreciation for us/ women who devote half of their life to the family. The problem arose when my kids grew and started their own life. What am I going to do next? Shall I get a job? Do I want to get involved with volunteer projects? Shall I go back to school? A lot of exciting options but I am still faced with a society who looks at my grey hair and sees OLD.

Just writing this word makes my skin crawl. We need to find a new definition for those of us between 60-70+. We are at the “next prime” as a friend said. We need to find a word that will encompass positivity. A word that a 30 or 40 year old will say: “Whoa this 60 year old is incredible!”.

We need to ask ourselves: how old do we feel? Do we care about our chronological age? If the people around me consider me “old” what does it mean?

I invite your comments. Let me know your thoughts. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what matters is the attitude. Our population is growing and we are living longer. A Rocking chair is not the only way to express our vitality.

Tel Aviv-learn by night

I started thinking about this post almost two weeks ago so although Shavuot is over, it is still on my mind.

It’s Erev Shavuot. On this night it is the custom to study till daylight. Some say it is a cabalistic tradition, maybe that’s the source for the reason we dress in white or it could be,to symbolize purity in preparation of getting the Torah.

I have an image in my head of kids at a kibbutz seated on a wagon singing about the new harvest. In Hebrew it’s called Bikurim which has the same root as the word for morning, “Boker”. I wonder if studying all night till sunrise is also connected to the custom on learning all night.

I am in Tel Aviv. It is Saturday; Shavuot starts tonight. When I grew up there was not much to do during Shabbat. Stores and restaurants were closed, but over the last 35 years things have changed. Movie theaters, restaurants, galleries are now open. But with all these changes there is  still a feeling of Shabbat as no one goes to work and the streets are less busy with traffic. The beaches are filled with families and the promenade looks like a track field full of walkers and bikers .You can also spot a chasid going to shul.

I met friends for lunch  and we chose to see a movie that came out  about the Settler Movement. I was astonished to discover how this movement, which started with a small group of thirty people, grew over the next 40 years to a staggering number of 400,000.  The Settler Movement which is a critical and important issue to the well being of the State of Israel began, we learn, with a forced agreement by a small group of religious people who chose to make a point and live in the West Bank right after it was occupied by the Israeli army in 1967.

This Agreement was signed by Shimon Peres of the Labor Movement. When Menahem Begin became prime minister in 1977, he issued, with the help of Arik Sharon, massive building approvalIMG_1117s to continue and develop the area.  It is an ideological movement but many who live in the West Bank do so for financial reasons. I have not  lived in Israel during this period so it was informative to me  and answered some questions and filled the gaps on some facts. I am not sure a solution can be found. It will have to be a compromise. There are 400,000 people living over the “Green Line” and I cannot imagine asking them to move to other parts of Israel, whether it be the North or South. I believe that we have to start by building trust between the Jews and Arabs who live side by side and enjoy the same sunrise and sunsets.

http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/features/1.700387  (an interview with the film director)

http://www.ijs.org.au/The-Settler-Movement/default.aspx

As the sun went down, we sat to eat the Shavuot meal of blintzes and cheese cake.

The Tel Aviv Municipality sponsored many “tikunim” or studies for the evening of Shavuot. I chose the one at the pluralistic congregation of Beit Daniel. The subject was: “What tomorrow will bring?”. It was 10 pm when I walked into the crowded sanctuary of the synagogue. I heard the author Yair Sachar talk about his book “The Third” about the building and destruction of the Third Temple. An imaginary tale of a contemporary building and destruction of the Temple using the belief in the return of the monarchy as a metaphor for a uprising by an army elitist commander unit. Well, I can not say it was a promising future but everyone is entitled to his opinion. The next lecture was by the author Yochi Brandes who talked about Rabbi Akiva.

She talked about her most recent novel, “Akiva’s Orchard,” Yochi Brandes spins a brilliant chapter out of the incident in Beni Brak, familiar from the Passover Haggadah, when five rabbis study ToIMG_1128rah all night until their students announce it’s time for the morning prayers. In Brandes’ take, the night is not about interpretative one-upsmanship, but rather is the very moment the bery format and content of the Peach Seder was determined. Shavuot is 49 days after we read the Haggadah. She raised the question of how Rabbi Akiva could emerge out of the Pardes (orchard) unharmed yet was part of the horrific decision of the Bar Kochba revolt. Yochi who comes from an orthodox upbringing has a gift of retailing biblical stories or creating bibliographies around the figures in Jewish history. It was a fascinating lecture and I am sure to read her books

 

It is now after midnight. The synagogue is still full; some are singing in the yard, some take a cup of tea or coffee. The night is not over. They are planning to stay until sunrise. I am going home to sleep.

Some say Tel Aviv is unlike any other place. Tonight I could see a glimpse of a future that can bring peace. Looking at the Torah from a cultural and not only religious perspective can unite us all.

I am back home. In today’s times there is an article about the denial of the” Rabanut” (the high rabbinical authority in Israel) to approve an orthodox conversion by an American rabbi. I ask myself is this where we are heading? Let us learn from Rabbi Akiva’s mistake and learn to sit together in harmony.

 

 

 

 

Messages in posters

There are many ways to tell a story. We can write a book. We can write a poem. We can draw a picture.

When we read the newspaper about current events, we form an opinion in our mind or create an image. When we see a photograph, it tells the story . When we stop at a newspaper store and try to figure which magazine to pick, the cover image hints at what’s inside.

At the Tel Aviv Museum of Art there is a retrospective of work by a graphic artist; David Tartakover. You can follow Israel’s history through his images. He has an image called “Ima” (mom) where you see a Palestinian woman peaking from behind a wall that is built around her home and an Israeli soldier watching her. When I think of the word “Ima” I think of my mom but this image reminds you that mothers, have an instinct of watching and caring.  When you enter the second room you see a wall of skeletons called: “Heads” which is a series of 208 digital prints taken from the book: “Bibi: Who are you Mister Prime Minister?”  When he was asked why the image? He said he found a book in a store near his home in Neve Zedek with a Bibi biography from 1969 and after reading it he started drawing these images, he could not give an explanation. It is obvious that Tartakover is critical of the political situation in this country.

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There are some beautiful drawings and more reflections on the politics of the day.

The top left corner is Haim Nachman Bialik, a poet. The right corner is Mayor Dizengoff, the first mayor of Tel Aviv. The bottom left is Herzel and on the right is the Pasha from Jaffa.

The photo on the left is a composite of terror attacks in Tel Aviv (1994) , In Jerusalem (2001), in Hebron (2003), in Netanya (2002).

The writing on the right translates to :”Israel is not America”. This was done many years ago but it stands true today.

Last Wednesday I was watching a satirical show on Israeli TV with my mom. The show was interrupted by the news that there was shooting at the Sarona market. It is 15 minutes from her home. We saw helicopters circling above and heard sirens, as the hospital is also near. The mood changed immediately. There is a feeling of anxiety. Here we go again. After a relative quiet time with no terror attack or knife stabbing the sound of gunshot is an immediate reminder how a peaceful evening can be interrupted in a blink of an eye. Like a lion that woke from his nap; woke with a loud roar and with vengeance. The two terrorists dressed as business people  took handmade guns from their bags and started shooting. Four people dead and nine injured. It feels as though the whole country is mourning with the families. At this moment there is unity and political disagreements are brushed aside. How sad that terror has such power over our lives.

I read about an exhibit at the Islamic Museum of Art in Jerusalem called “A sign from Iran”. It gives us a glimpse into the contemporary design in Iran. Posters that describe the political situation. Posters that flood the social networks. All along the history of Iran, art was used as a tool to express political views. In a society when freedom of speech could cost a life. The art can transfer dual messages or messages hidden in a duality and allegorical way.

In this film,the traditional drawing of the woman is filled with letters.

We all wish for peace. It can be by spelling the word, SHALOM, or drawing a dove.

 

wonder of wonders

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I was privileged to see the new production of Fiddler on the Roof Starring Danny Burstein and Jessica Hecht. Adam Kantor is amazing as Motel the tailor and when he sang Miracle of Miracles I realized that this song was a direct rendering of a favorite Midrash, which I am happy to share.

Rabbi Yehudah bar Simon began: (Psalms 68:7) “God maketh the solitary to dwell in a house”. A matron asked R. Yosi bar Halfa, saying to him: “How many days did it take the Holy One Blessed be Him to create the world?” He said to her: “[to] Six days, as it is written (Exodus 20) “Because six days God made the heavens and the earth.” She said to him: “What has He been doing since that hour and now?” He said to her: “The Holy One blessed be He sits and matches matches; the daughter of this…

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Art-Spring??

I will start this post with an unpublished post from last year:

“It’s April and although they say:”April showers brings May flowers” the sky is grey and it is hard to believe that we will ever get some sun and that the buds will come out from the frozen ground.  To lift me out of my melancholic mood it was time to find some art that will bring flowers into the world.   The Brooklyn Museum has two great shows: “Kehinde Whiley” show which is called “A New Republic” and Basque’s “The Unknown notebook”.

It’s April 2016, and you’d think nothing changed.  It’s like in the movie, “Groundhog Day”. Each April we think the weather will warm up but NOOOOO, we need a winter coat when venturing outdoors. Storm King sculpture park opens its door April 6th as one of the signs of change. Like daffodils coming from the ground.

Museums open the season with interesting shows. The Met at Bauer which opened at the “old” Whitney building with a show called “Unfinished”. It’s an historical review of works that the artist left deliberately unfinished  or let us the viewer decide left to our imagination.

Michelangelo work is divine, the image is so angelic.

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Andy Warhol leaves us wondering whether we will get a complete guitar image if we just follow the numbers.

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Picasso lets us wonder if his painting of man gazing at a semi nude  model is indeed a partial work or he really intended it to be partly penciled in and to think the it was painted on a dish towel.

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The Moma opened with two shows Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty

Degas is familiar with his ballerinas but he is a master using a monotype print technique. We can see the phases of the work, first it’s the black and white drawing and then the adding of color. Degas made these monotypes in 1818 as a way of searching for a new way to capture new life. You can see that what’s important is the process of innovation and less the finished product.

The other artist that is  having a retrospective and  was unfamiliar to me is :

Marcel Broodthaers: A Retrospective. A “forest” of palm trees welcomes the viewer. Marcel is Belgian. He takes us through his mind and gives us a glimpse at his thoughts. His works were created at the time when other artists did Pop and Minimalistic Art. He turns to poetry and ask “what is art?”. His answer is whimsical and playful. He plays with modules/eggs as objects that hide something. He pays homage to Magritte’s pipe and the folk tale of the raven and the fox. He created an installation that one feels like walking into the fable, surrounded by the words that describe it. He continues creating his own museum. His art is apolitical and poetic. A must see.

 

The Jewish Museum brings lots of color in the form of Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History; Isaac Mizrahi fashion designs from the 70’s and 80’s. One can imagine wearing these today. His fabric boards which welcome the visitor let us enter his world and we can feel as though we might be designing the fabric.

The weather continues to play tricks on me. The sun is out but you still need to wear a winter coat and add a scarf and gloves. Next I will be walking in and out of the galleries in Chelsea so hopefully it will get warmer…

 

Contemporary art in old palaces

I returned few weeks ago from a trip to Morocco. As you read in previous posts we immersed in the culture and the jewish community but what picked my interest were two exhibits that showed that Morocco is moving forward.

The museum of contemporary art in Rabat was build by King Muhammad V in the last ten years and houses art by Morocco artist from the 60th till now. You can the influence of world art on the Moroccan artists.

The photo in the middle is of the king.

Next I found out that in the last 6 years Moroccans have been hosting a biennale in Marrakech and as this was out next stop on the trip I could not pass this opportunity to see it.

Artists from Africa and the middle east were invited to place their art in old palaces. It was fascinating to see Elanazue humongous piece as a wall hanging among the ruins of the palace. Each artist was given a space to crate and the results can be seen through some of the photographs.

My fascination with placing contemporary art in old mansions led me to the newly opened Renwick Gallery in Washington Dc. The show is called WONDER. Nine contemporary artists created site specific installations. Each artist took over a gallery. The artists used material that are found and therefore it gives the feeling of craft and not the usual paint or photography. Light plays an important roll in viewing the works. It does leave you with a sense of wonder and amazement.