An art exhibition in Pittsburgh featuring the work of Israeli, Palestinian and American artists was canceled after the Palestinian artists withdrew from the show.
“Sites of Passage: Borders, Walls & Citizenship,” scheduled to run at Pittsburgh’s Mattress Factory museum from June 1 to July 27, was the culmination of a joint multimedia project begun a year ago by the artists, the Jewish Chronicle reported. The Palestinian artists pulled out of the show on May 29, a day after the Israeli artists had canceled their participation in order to allow the Palestinians to continue participating and to protect them from threats and criticism on an Arabic-language Facebook page, Tavia La Follette, the independent curator of the exhibit, told the newspaper.
La Follette said the use of the words “collaboration” and “dialogue” as part of the descriptions of the exhibit were the triggers of the criticism, since the words mean different things in the realms of the art world and politics.
“The Palestinian artists said, ‘We can’t be in this show,’ so the Israelis withdrew,” La Follette told the newspaper. “The whole idea behind the project was to move it beyond political rhetoric. But we need to protect the Palestinian artists. It shows the integrity of the Israeli artists that they pulled out of the show.”
The artists traveled together last year in the West Bank.