Naomi Lev

  • interviews January 16, 2018

    Dana Yoeli

    Dana Yoeli is an Israeli artist based in Tel Aviv. Her current solo show at the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art showcases her project Olympia, 2017, which extends her explorations into architecture, Israeli mythologies, nostalgia, nationalism, and catastrophic events. The exhibition is on view through February 3, 2018.

    THE HERZLIYA MUSEUM, founded in 1965 as Beit Yad Labanim, was originally constructed and maintained by a volunteer organization to preserve the memory of fallen soldiers and provide care for their deprived families. In 2000, architects Yaakov and Amnon Rechter designed a bypass

  • picks October 13, 2017

    Elia Alba

    The sixty individual portraits of nonwhite artists taken by Elia Alba for her current exhibition here, titled “The Supper Club,” are mostly of people she came to know through a series of dinner parties she organizes. Topics surrounding race, the art world, and visual culture are frequently discussed at these events, and the project became an expansive, multidimensional discourse on selfhood and politics.

    Alba tailors each portrait to the artist. She chooses an assortment of backdrops, props, and costumes to accentuate her sitters’ personae while subtly highlighting their contributions to the

  • picks July 07, 2017

    Hadassa Goldvicht

    In 2013, artist Hadassa Goldvicht was invited to participate as an artist-in-residence at Beit Venezia, a Jewish cultural foundation in Venice established to celebrate five hundred years of the diaspora’s existence in the city. Since then, the artist, who resides in Jerusalem, has been returning to Venice for interviews, meals, and prayers with the local community. During this time, she met Aldo Izzo, an eighty-six-year-old former sea captain who, for more than three decades, has been the caretaker for Venice’s two Jewish cemeteries (he is also the person many in the community turn to for their

  • picks July 05, 2017

    Etti Abergel

    For nearly four decades, Etti Abergel has been investigating and expressing a lineage of exile: Her parents, who were born in Morocco and fled to Israel in the late 1940s and 1950s, have struggled with their new location and identity. A sense of estrangement has been passed down to Abergel, despite her being born and raised in the Jewish state. Her current exhibition is a parting ceremony from her migrant identity.

    A wooden bridge leads viewers through the length of the gallery. Without a real aim or purpose, the bridge, decorated with metal-can mobiles and plastic tote bags—materials the artist

  • picks March 17, 2017

    “Evidentiary Realism”

    “Evidentiary Realism,” the title of this exhibition, is a term coined by its curator, Paolo Cirio. It refers to art that, in his words, “portrays and reveals evidence from complex social systems.” The works in this fourteen-person show heighten our awareness of the foul social and political infrastructures that seem to be dominating much of the world today.

    Navine G. Khan-Dossos’s series “Expanding and Remaining,” 2016, uses ISIS’s English print magazine as a source for colorful, systematic abstract paintings, rendering the basic graphic structure of the periodical’s layout sans text. Nearby is

  • diary October 01, 2016

    Candy Shop

    ON FRIDAY MORNING, everyone arrived utterly exhausted—yet somehow still intact. “In Vienna we live as people aspire to: We drink mineral water from tap, we swim in drinking-water-quality lakes, and we don’t have to talk about organic, because all of our products are raised in farms around Vienna. Plus, it is available to everyone, not only to the top 1 percent,” said the fair’s artistic director, Christina Steinbrecher-Pfandt, “However, people see Vienna as old and opera, and are not truly aware of the quality of contemporary culture here.”

    VC is a serious vehicle for rebranding Vienna as a

  • picks September 19, 2016

    “The Kids Want Communism”

    This yearlong three-part show offers an alternative for future generations—its thesis bluntly states that communism is alive and kicking and that it is the solution for contemporary universal matters. Focusing on past events as well as present philosophical discourses, the exhibition’s ideas are supported by sci-fi scenes and outer-space images that trace the technological shift of the twentieth century and the era of Soviet-style “real socialism.” For example, The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 2016, a bookcase designed by Nicole Wermers, displays an edition of the compilation. In the spirit of

  • picks April 29, 2016

    Dor Guez

    Created by Dor Guez in 2009, “The Christian Palestinian Archive” invites the titular community to scan their family photographs, in an attempt to trace their histories and journeys. As part of this project, fourteen black-and-white photos tell the family story of Samira Monayer, the artist’s grandmother. These images, from a series titled “Scanogram #1,” 2010, were scanned multiple times and reassembled using a variety of digital programs to accentuate the original photos’ rips and tears. Guez, the inventor of the scanogram technique, seeks to emphasize the creases of time and convey the natural

  • picks April 19, 2016

    Roee Rosen

    Roee Rosen has adopted alter egos and created fictional biographies throughout his thirty-year career. His retrospective “Group Exhibition” presents drawings, paintings, text, and film authored by his different personas. The works are filled with sexual and violent scenes à la Marquis de Sade and Georges Bataille’s Story of the Eye (1928), but their scandalousness is diffused by Rosen’s intellectual humor. However, to fully enjoy these often small-scale drawings, one must carefully read the accompanying texts that take the form of novellas or fictional biographies.

    Rosen’s characters are crafted

  • interviews November 05, 2015

    Lior Shvil

    “PROTOCOLS,” Lior Shvil’s exhibition in New York, features a large-scale installation inspired by military counterinsurgency training courses as well as two performances. As part of by Performa 15, events will be held on November 14 and November 21, 2015, which are the product of ongoing workshops in which Shvil invites nonprofessional performers to play an active role in improvisational combat procedures. “PROTOCOLS” opened on September 12 and is on view at Art in General in New York through November 21, 2015.

    I FIRST LEARNED OF TWENTYNINE PALMS, a city in Southern California that houses a vast

  • picks September 14, 2015

    Maayan Amir and Ruti Sela

    In 2009, Israeli artists Maayan Amir and Ruti Sela initiated their collaborative “Exterritory Project,” which projected works by Middle Eastern artists onto the sails of boats located in exterritorial waters just outside of Israel. The duo’s most recent body of work in this show, curated by Chen Tamir, consists of three videos that similarly investigate the role of censorship, ethics, and the gravity of images in contemporary regimes.

    The two-channel video Image Blockade, 2015, for example, explores the physiological effect of Israeli intelligence veterans’ training on their sensory perception.

  • picks May 18, 2015

    Roi Kuper

    In April 2014, Israeli artist Roi Kuper began working on a series of panoramic photographs intending to capture the city of Gaza from the direction of the four winds. Shot from six different locations, including Kibbutzes surrounding the Gaza Strip, one of which the artist was born on, the resulting series “Gaza Dream,” 2014, manifests Kuper’s signature style, with each panorama as a bisected horizontal landscape. In the lower half of the photographs are fields, dunes, or hills, and in the upper half there’s a clear blue sky, making for a serene view. The images’ foregrounds are Israeli

  • interviews August 25, 2014

    Rokni Haerizadeh

    Works by the Iranian-born, UAE-based artist Rokni Haerizadeh, including paintings from the series “Subversive Salami in a Ragged Briefcase” and the animated video Letter! (both 2014), are currently on view at the New Museum as part of “Here and Elsewhere,” a major exhibition of contemporary art from and about the Arab world, which is on view through September 28, 2014. Here Haerizadeh discusses these works and his process.

    GROWING UP IN TEHRAN DURING THE IRAN-IRAQ WAR had a big impact on my generation. Thinking about life and death as a kid makes you serious. The TV programs at that time mostly

  • picks May 06, 2014

    Jumana Manna

    Replicas of ancient rocks that resemble traditional Jerusalemite housing bricks are spread on the floor as one enters Jumana Manna’s first institutional solo show in New York. Inside, a twenty-one-minute film titled Blessed Blessed Oblivion, 2010, explores the lifestyle of young male residents of the Silwan neighborhood in East Jerusalem. Manna, a Palestinian female artist who grew up in Jerusalem, plays a cunning protagonist, capturing “macho culture” as it permeates daily life through her own performance of gender (albeit behind the camera). Manna takes a tour of the characters’ hangouts,

  • picks April 30, 2014

    Dani Gal

    Dani Gal’s long-term fascination with historical memory is the basis for two of his films currently on view at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. In them, Gal raises questions regarding personal and collective memory and the changing relationships between victim and perpetrator.

    Inspired by an interview he conducted with Holocaust survivor and former police officer Michael Goldman-Gilad, Gal created a twenty-two-minute film titled Nacht und nebel (Night and Fog), 2011, which reenacts events of a night in 1962 when Nazi criminal Adolf Eichmann was executed and cremated in Israel. The characters, among

  • picks November 06, 2013

    “The Compromised Land: Recent Photography and Video from Israel”

    “The Compromised Land: Recent Photography and Video from Israel,” curated by Helaine Posner and Lilly Wei, investigates the notion of land and what writer Ory Dessau refers to in the exhibition catalogue as “the cracks of life in Israel.” Featuring accomplished works by twenty-one Israeli artists, the show reflects on current experiences of living in the country. Divided into three main themes—settlers and land, conflict and coexistence, and history and memory—the works, created in the last twelve years, offer a diversity of perspectives that originate in a multicultural existence.

    Oded Hirsch’s

  • picks July 27, 2013

    Masha Zusman

    Masha Zusman’s latest exhibition, “Nadir, the Opposite of Zenith,” presents nine paintings inspired by her encounter in Jerusalem with a Palestinian Orthodox woman covered in a black burka with only her eyes exposed. In a conversation with her, Zusman learned that the woman was, despite her guarded appearance, an open and liberal individual—a single mother and Reiki healer respectful of her religious surroundings. In these paintings, created in a laborious and time-consuming process with colorful ballpoint pens on large wooden shipping crates, Zusman investigates notions of conflict and perception.

  • interviews November 16, 2012

    Dana Levy

    New York–based Israeli artist Dana Levy is known for her poetic video and photographic works, which often investigate boundaries between the natural and man-made. Her first artist’s book, World Order, was published this month by the Center for Contemporary Arts Tel Aviv and Braverman Gallery in affiliation with Sternthal Books. Levy’s solo exhibition at Galerie Ron Mandos in Amsterdam is on view until November 24.

    FOR THIS BOOK, I wanted to focus on nature and history. I’m very interested in how a story can give meaning to the most mundane objects. The monograph begins with an image of a path in

  • picks September 27, 2012

    Michael Rakowitz

    Michael Rakowitz’s admiration for the Beatles began at the age of seven, on the day that John Lennon died, as he conveyed in The Breakup, 2010, a ten-part radio series originally broadcast on Amwaj Radio in Ramallah. Written and narrated by Rakowitz, it is presented as an audio installation in his current exhibition in New York and blends Beatles songs and the band members’ intimate conversations from the shooting of the 1970 documentary Let It Be with international audio and television reports of events leading to the 1967 Six-Day War. In the gallery’s back room, Rakowitz offers a forty-five-minute

  • interviews August 29, 2012

    Roy Brand

    Yaffo 23/Jerusalem is a center for research, production, and presentation of contemporary art and culture. Founded by the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, the nonprofit space is situated just above Jerusalem’s main post office, near the Old City. Dr. Roy Brand, a philosopher and the director and chief curator of the space since its establishment in 2010, here discusses the goals and challenges of Yaffo 23 and what it takes to make contemporary art in a historical city.

    I FEEL THAT YAFFO 23 is making a change by providing a space, both physical and mental, for more openness, experimentation,