Staring Back at the Sun: Video Art from Israel, 1970-2012, a video exhibition and public program, traces the development of contemporary video practice in Israel and highlights work by artists who take an incisive, critical perspective towards the cultural and political landscape in Israel and beyond. Staring Back at the Sun showcases the work of 35 artists, including early performances, films and videos never before presented outside of Israel. Divided into four historic and thematic sections, Staring Back at the Sun focuses on the activist impulse in video art-making in Israel over the last four decades. Informed by the international history of video art, the program traces the development of the medium in Israel and explores how artists have employed technology and material to examine the socio-political status quo, through themes such as the prominence of political conflict in mass media; the liberalization of the economy; and the impact of free market politics on Israeli culture.
Everything Artis does – from research trips to grants to public programs – is about supporting artists in innovative, meaningful, and essential ways.
It was with that spirit in mind that on one of our semi-annual research trips to Israel in October 2013, a conversation started sparked by the questions: why is video art from Israel so strong today, and who were the forebears to the artists who are actively working today? What were they up to beginning in the 70s and leading to today? How did film and video from Israel correspond to contemporary international developments?
As we discussed what we did and did not know about these interrelated questions, the idea formed that Artis should seek to uncover the answers and share them with the public. We found a remarkable lack of research about the early history of video art from Israel, with the exception of work by Ilana Tenenbaum. We also discovered that no one had comprehensively surveyed or contextualized the history of video art from Israel from the 70s onward in one program.
So, it had to happen..and with a wonderful grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and in early partnership with Director Chris Bedford from the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, we invited curators Ilana Tenenbaum, Sergio Edelsztein, Avi Feldman and artist Yael Bartana to curate four one-hour long chronological sections of Staring Back at the Sun suited to their areas of expertise. All works had to be single channel so that the program could easily travel and screen as a program if desired.
We’re excited by the potential of these 35 works by 39 artists to reach people all over the world and to stimulate important conversations about the role art can play in political and social developments. Staring Back will tour internationally for two years in the format of a screening program or exhibition – see below for the evolving schedule. This mini-site will have video interviews with artists, many of them from the older generation whose work you will see in today’s program. We will have essays posted about each of the sections of this program.
I want to thank all of the participating artists and their estates, our tireless staff, our outstanding supporters The Andy Warhol Foundation, The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, The Russell Berrie Foundation, Donald Sussman, Rivka Saker and Uzi Zucker, and to our very supportive Board of Directors.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
Exhibition and Program Tour
New Museum, New York
February 20-21, 2016, program
Towson University, Baltimore
February 4 – April 3, 2016, exhibition
Casa do Povo, São Paulo
August 2016, program
Rose Art Museum/Rosebud, Waltham, MA
Fall 2016, exhibition
International House, Philadelphia
November 2016, program
Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland
September – November 2016, program
Koffler Center of the Arts, Toronto, Toronto
Fall 2017, exhibition
Organizing Curator: Chen Tamir
Contributing Curators: Yael Bartana, Avi Feldman, Sergio Edelsztein, and Ilana Tenenbaum.
Artists: Boaz Arad, Maayan Amir & Ruti Sela, Yossi Atia & Itamar Rose, Yael Bartana, Irit Batsry, Guy Ben Ner, Hila Lulu Lin Farah Kufr Birim, Michael Druks, Buky Schwartz, Benni Efrat, Avraham Eilat, Nir Evron, Yair Garbuz, Gideon Gechtman, Moshe Gershuni, Tamar Getter, Dor Guez, Sigalit Landau, Raffi Lavie, Motti Mizrachi, Avi Mograbi, Michal Naaman, Joshua Neustein, Miri Nishri, Nira Pereg, Dov Or-Ner, Gilad Ratman, Roee Rosen, Henry Shelesnyak, Ran Slavin, Doron Solomons, Micha Ullman, Rona Yefman [& Tanja Schlander], Dan Zakhem, Nana & Boaz Zonshine
Video Editing for this program was done by Yaron Attar.
1970–80: Early Experiments in Time-Based Art, curated by Ilana Tenenbaum
Total running time: approximately 64 minutes
1980–97: An Art Form Coming Into Its Own, curated by Ilana Tenenbaum
Total running time: approximately 30 minutes
1997–2005: The Rise of the Medium, curated by Sergio Edelsztein
Total running time: approximately 62 minutes
2005–2012: State of Amnesia: Recent Video from Israel, curated by Yael Bartana and Avi Feldman
Total running time: approximately 61 minutes
Lead support provided by Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Major funders include: The Russell Berrie Foundation, The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, Rivka Saker & Uzi Zucker, and Donald Sussman.