Critics’ Picks

Hadassa Goldvicht, Taking Care (Turtles) #1, 2014, video, color, sound, 2 minutes 5 seconds.

Hadassa Goldvicht, Taking Care (Turtles) #1, 2014, video, color, sound, 2 minutes 5 seconds.

New York

Hadassa Goldvicht

Meislin Projects
60 East 66th Street 4A
June 15–August 11, 2017

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 burial preparations). In the midst of the city’s glorified beauty, Goldvicht managed to find something profoundly intimate for her show here, one part of a larger exhibition being held at Venice’s Fondazione Querini Stampalia in conjunction with the Fifty-Seventh Venice Biennale.

“No, I am not afraid of death. Not at all,” says Izzo as he finishes naming his collection of mummified turtles in Taking Care (Turtles) #1, 2014, one of the four videos presented at the gallery. We also see him sitting at home, chanting a Jewish prayer for the dead (Psalms, 2014). The House of Life, 2016, a large video projection on a nearby wall, captures a graveyard’s ancient tombstones from a bird’s-eye view. Religion, art, life, death, the past and future—all facets of existence are intertwined.

In the gallery’s office spaces are photographs from Izzo’s lively personal diary: In Aldo’s Log (Purim), 2017, the festive Jewish holiday is noted alongside a picture of a Venetian carnival, while Aldo’s Log (Soles in Terrazzo), 2017, features a portrait of the man sunbathing on a balcony. Another extraordinary document from the show is the enchanting exhibition catalogue, published for the Venice exhibition—it carries snippets of conversations the artist had with her newfound tribe. One person talks about how beautiful it is to get to the Lido by boat, look at the birds, and think of freedom—the pleasures of being alive.