1948: The Beginnings of an Israeli canon in the Visual Arts

The exhibition displays paintings, sculptures, caricatures, logo designs and advertisements by 51 Israeli artists: Aharon Avni, Pinchas Abramowitz, Arieh Alweil, Moshe El-Natan, Ludvig Blum, Zeev Ben-Zvi, Aharon Cahana, Mordechai Levanon, Menachem Shemi; Kaethe Ephraim Marcus, Mordechai Arieli, Muriel Bentwitch, Moshe Bernstein, Jaques Luchanski, Edith Samuel, Abba Fenichel, Michael Kara, Natan Rappaport and others.

The Exhibition reconstructs the various artistic events that took place in Israel during its first year of existence, through a display of significant art works. The artistic activity in 1948 was carried out by artists, museum directors, scholars, art critics, gallery owners and private collectors. They were joined by public officials who voiced their opinions and forced their decisions upon the realization of certain artistic projects that suited their political needs. The fascinating work of all those concerned with the Israeli art scene did not stop at all during the fights and the recesses of the Independence War; it was full of “battles”, “conquests” and “victories” of its own.

Artistic evaluation in 1948 was carried out by museum directors, art critics and various municipal awards’ juries. Many Israeli artists have been trying to object to this exclusive right for a long time prior to 1948. During this very year, a small number of them have finally succeeded to obtain that right for themselves: they have proclaimed themselves as the sole judges of artistic excellence. The struggles between the two parties laid the foundations of an Israeli canon in the visual arts; its primary moulds, constructed in 1948, are still with us, almost down to their last detail.

Artworks that were displayed at the Ofakim Hadashim (New Horizons) exhibititon, held at the Tel-Aviv museum in 1948 will be juxtaposed at The Mishkan Le’Omanut in Eyn Harod with works that were awarded “The Dizengoff Prize” of the Tel-Aviv municipality. Other sections of the exhibition will display exemplary images of the Israeli Soldier, images of the Home Front, images of Jerusalem and primary design sketches for monuments to the Fallen of the Independence War.

Group Exhibition

1948: The Beginnings of an Israeli canon in the Visual Arts

Curator: Alec Mishory

May-July 2008

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