Art Out: Lili Almog's "Watersheds Moments" - Selections from the Jerusalem Biennale
Images by Andrés Mercado
The exhibition Watershed Moments is an attempt to depict some of the core issues of current Jewish discourse. The works presented here were selected from hundreds of artworks that were displayed as part of the Jerusalem Biennale 2017. Each of the works is, or can be interpreted as, a visual comment on a pressing question. Viewed together, the pieces in the exhibition portray an era of revival. It is not only that Jewish discourse is more vivid, but also that new participants are now taking part in it. Watershed Moments demonstrates how artists, and art, can become part of the discussion usually dominated by academics, rabbis and politicians.
Lili Almog’s work at first glance appears to deal extremism. The almost wholly covered figure (we can only assume it is a woman) provokes the immediate association of radical Islam. Placing those works in the context of a Biennale of Contemporary Jewish Art might suggest the topic is of relevance to present Jewish life as well. The juxtaposition of works from two different series- Seasons and Drawing Room, forces us to pay attention to the tension between the private space (the studio) and the public space (outside landscape).
Avner Sher’s work is based on ancient maps of Jerusalem. They define the historic center of Jerusalem as a focal point. The works themselves, as well as the curatorial decision to exhibit them in the Tower of David Museum within the Old City of Jerusalem, raises the question of the relative importance of Jerusalem as a place, and in a broader way: the significance of The Land.
Yehudis Barmatz’s and Matan Ben-Tolila’s works give us insight into individual journeys along the religious-secular spectrum. Each of them made a significant personal move along that continuum, and their autobiographical stories are profoundly present in their work. The works do not attempt to say anything definitive about the social and political conflicts between the religious and the secular, but rather captures a moment in one individual’s journey of she’ela (questioning) or t’shuva (returning/answering).
Eliad Landau’s work highlights the ongoing tension between the spiritual and material. It confronts the typical identification of Judaism exclusively with spirituality, emphasizing that some of the ideas and practices of Jewish tradition are intended to address material aspects of life.
Arik Weiss’s installation is an invitation to discuss the meaning of traditional symbols and the effect of visual objects on our memory and consciousness. Tamar Paley created symbols of her own, highlighting the connection between the function of symbolic items and the vast subject of gender.
I want to thank the Leichtag Foundation and Charlene Seidle for giving us the kick-start for this traveling show to the entire Leichtag Foundation team for hosting it at their gallery. Thank you to Carmelita Greco and the Luz Art gallery for hosting it in LA. Thank you to Anne Hromadka for consulting and helping with installation and production. Thank you to Megan Whitman, director of The Lambert Centre for Arts and Ideas at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, and to Amanda Crater, the production manager of the centre, for a beautiful design and installation of the NYC show. Thank you to Laurie M. Tisch for creating this beautiful gallery space of the Laurie M. Tisch Gallery. Above all, thank you to Sheila Lambert for opening doors for us in the big city for the second time and for her encouraging commitment to The Jerusalem Biennale. Special thanks to all participating artists: Lili Almog, Yehudis Barmats, Marcelle Tehila Bitton, Matan Ben Tolila (and Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art for the loan of Matan's works), Rachel Koskas, Eliad Landau, Tamar Paley Avner Sher and Arik Weiss. It is an honour and privilege for me to curate that show and to be able to share your magnificent works with the world. Thank you!
Curated by Ram Ozeri
Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
May 8 - August 14 2019
Hours: Mon-Fri 5:30am ~ 11pm, Sat-Sun 7am ~ 10pm
334 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10023
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Andrés Mercado’s Instagram can be found here.