Jerusalem Prepares for First-Ever Biennale

Image: haaretz

Jewish art is not hip. It can be beautiful, sure. It can be meaningful, of course. It can be valuable, no doubt. But cutting-edge? Current? Cool? Meh.

If you believe that, you clearly have not yet been to the first-ever Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art, which opened this week at five venues around town, with the participation of more than 50 artists showcasing a panoply of visions of what contemporary Jewish art can be.

“Don’t get me wrong,” begins Ram Ozeri, the 33-year-old mastermind behind the biennale and one of its seven curators. “It’s not that I don’t love menorahs or Torah scrolls,” he says, referring to the kinds of images that, along with pomegranates, dancing Hasids and the walls of Jerusalem, often come to mind – and with good reason – when the words “Jewish” and “art” combine.

“But this is something different.”

Take the work of Kansas City, Missouri-born Andi Arnovitz, 54, a firecracker of a former graphic designer, who moved to Israel with her high-tech wunderkind of a husband and five children – becoming religious along the way – 14 years ago.

Her two works, created specially for the biennale, challenge assumptions of what Jewish art is and can be – but do so by focusing on that quintessential of all Jewish themes: worrying.

“What do I worry about? Oh, everything,” she says simply.


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Jerusalem Prepares for First-Ever Biennale

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