Legendary painter Frank Stella, 79, likes to talk. But it’s hard to make him speak about what his paintings might mean. He doesn’t like to talk about his perspective on topics that have broader significance. Which isn’t surprising. In his nearly six decade career, Stella has managed to create works that, he claims, avoid philosophical or emotional illusion – works in which, as he has famously said, "What you see is what you see."
As social and political voices grow increasingly extreme, taking their messages in one or another single direction, US conceptual and graphic artist Barbara Kruger, 71, continues to frustrate such oversimplification. For decades, Kruger has used clear, direct and attention-grabbing phrases, often superimposed on large images, to instigate critical thinking in her audience.
Yanai Segal is a rare specimen on the Israeli art scene. A quiet, reflective, questioning individual, he also commands a powerful presence—with a towering figure and clean personal aesthetic that can be impressive and intimidating. His artistic abilities combine several elements that don't often come together: technical skill, an original vision, a personal style, and freshness of approach. . . .
Aharon Appelfeld is a living literary master who has spent most of his life in Jerusalem. Born in 1932, in Czernowitz, a city that was then part of Romania, he was seven when World War II broke out. His mother was murdered in 1941, while he and his father were sent to a concentration camp. . . .
Gail Hareven is one of Israel’s leading literary voices and has published 15 works including novels, story collections, plays, and children’s books.
Her novel The Confessions of Noa Weber won the Sapir Prize for Literature in Israel and the Best Translated Book Award in the United States. She has also received the Prime Minister’s Prize for Literature and is a member of the Academy of the Hebrew Language. . .
Visual artist Yehudit Sasportas always works along two fronts at once. Whether in the drawings and animated videos she creates months at a time; exhibitions and installations she plans years in advance; intensely structured art courses she teaches year round; or the two studios and assistants, one in Tel Aviv and another in Berlin, she maintains at all times, her oscillation between subsequent pairs of poles is what gives her work a sense of balance and also imbues it with a simultaneous sense of vertigo. . .
Painter Joshua Borkovsky wants you to walk by his paintings and think they’re as ordinary as an outdoor tablecloth – at first. But he also hopes to activate that instinctual self-questioning mechanism that might urge a viewer to stop and wonder whether what we think we see is really what’s in front of us. . .
When spectators first engage with works by sculptor Nahum Tevet their first reaction is often to see them as a homage or extension of early Soviet Constructivism—the foremost heroes of which were Alexander Rodchenko, Kazimir Malevich and Vladimir Tatlin, whose unbuilt tower remains the iconographic image of that era’s ambitious modernist spirit. But Tevet, who readily admits his affinity for this movement, connects with it on a critical plane. . .
American photographer Sharon Lockhart – known for her deeply researched yet cool-tempered still and moving image works – has spent the past three years exploring the legacy of a private, strong-willed, and pioneering woman: dance composer and textile collagist Noa Eshkol. . .
Artist Micha Ullman—who last week opened “Sands of Time,” his first career retrospective exhibit, at the Israel Museum—has spent nearly 50 years mining the space in which opposite forces intersect, in which traces take the place of objects and in which implied movement is no less important than still meditation. Yet he does this concretely, using forms and ideas that are basic to a person’s everyday life.
In his solo exhibition of recent work at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, photographer Yossi Breger seems to focus his camera on plain, everyday objects. But behind their deceptive simplicity is a consideration for the deepest foundations of civilized culture – as well as a masterful technical ability – that reaches toward the realm of aesthetic ideal.
Since beginning to exhibit nearly a decade ago, artist Eli Petel has dealt in his work with issues of tradition in a fresh and genuine way—often with a dose of restrained humor. His treatment of generational issues is uncharacteristic for an artist of his years—and comes in part from his own interest in reconsidering and reevaluating these questions without ever dismissing them. . .
James Carpenter, the New York-based architect hired to design the Israel Museum of Jerusalem’s renewal project, worked for years as a light artist and developer of new glass materials. Although he studied architecture and design at the Rhode Island School of Design, graduating in 1972, his first works were a series of film installations at the John Gibson Gallery in SoHo. . .
Israel Museum director James Snyder believes that first and foremost there must be beauty. For a museum, this means balancing between the collections’ content, the building’s architecture and the location’s setting. When properly arranged, the result is what Snyder calls a “strong and successful cultural place”. . .
In 1998, when painter Efrat Galnoor was studying at Hamidrasha School of Art, she was the only one doing representational art. It was considered "traditional," a no-no that was not interesting. As she remembers, legendary artist and teacher Raffi Lavie told her to stop painting and take up photography. . .
Aharon Appelfeld, one of the most celebrated and respected authors of his generation, has witnessed nearly 100 years of Jewish life. From his grandparents, who were still believers, to his assimilated parents and communist uncles, to his own childhood experiences during the Holocaust and his eventual immigration to British Mandate Palestine, which soon became the Jewish State of Israel, with the entirety of its relatively short but uniquely rich and complicated history. . .
One of the most widely celebrated Austrian artists in contemporary art, conceptual artist VALIE EXPORT got her start in the late 1960s with her Aktion piece in Vienna and later began to work in media. She is also a self-invented personality created for the sole purpose of transmitting ideas. . .
Painter Amnon Ben-Ami is a reticent man. All day long he deals with paint, ideas, subject matter, though he sometimes says to himself that he doesn't really care about the details. As we speak, he reclines on a pillow at the top gallery of his studio in Talpiot overlooking the Holy Land complex and Teddy Stadium, smoking cigarettes intermittently. . .
Regardless of whether he is making a work of art, curating an exhibit, writing a text or teaching a course, Doron Rabina is constantly trying to bring about a deep, real, intimate encounter between himself and someone different from him. . .
The Jerusalem Post, April 2009
Portrait photographer Harry Borden was born in New York but grew up in the farmland of Devon, England, where the only other Jewish person in the vicinity was his atheist father. While still a child, during a conversation about racism, Borden's father explained to him that had he lived in Germany during World War II, he would have been killed by Hitler. . .
For painter Ido Bar-El, art is about making friends. Beyond a painting's aesthetic and conceptual concerns, he believes each painting is about understanding, empathy and communication. The challenge for him is to connect with the general public by communicating through the artwork.
For Etti Abergel, a Jerusalem-based installation artist, each exhibition is a chapter in a lifelong autobiography. Like Marcel in Proust's In Search of Time Lost, Abergel sifts through images in her past and picks out significance memories which she wants to reexamine. . .
A former Israeli soldier fraught with guilt over killings he'd performed in uniform and sensationalist filmmaker Avi Mograbi collaborate on 'Z32,' a farcically semi-animated, semi-musical morality play Filmmaker Avi Mograbi is known for his personal documentaries focused on political figures and issues that are mostly opposed to his own views.
Avi Sabah embraces a cultural phenomenon largely avoided by young contemporary artists. "I really like kitsch," he admits. One might not immediately guess it looking at his paintings. Though popular elements—taken from landscape and culture—enter into his paintings, his stark colors, angled motifs and dark imagery suggest a metamorphosis of this kitsch into a preoccupation with deeper roots. . .
In his new collection, The Family Diamond, Edward Schwarzschild, author of the novel Responsible Men asks if being good is the same as doing the right thing. After all, a person with good intentions, a relatively clear conscience, strong personal values, faith in his or her family or partner, and some sense of stability and belonging can still experience and even engender misconceptions, devastation, disloyalty, and doubt. . .
Anna Sergeievna Ulinich did not necessarily set out to be a writer. She did not necessarily set out to be a Soviet immigrant in America either, but the experience was thrust upon her, and now she has emerged into the public having written a book. . .
After encountering the variety of more (or less) fantastical characters in Aimee Bender's Willful Creatures (Anchor, 2006), it is not enough for someone to say, "Yes, humans are very willful creatures." The reader repeatedly confronts a sort of "willful" persevering essence which both struggles against and actualizes itself within characters' experiences of circumstances unfitting, unexpected, unsuccessful, or irreconcilable. . .
© Copyright David Stromberg