Abby Schwartz

Abby Schwartz


In conjunction with its current exhibition Israel at 70: A History in Art and Artifacts, the Skirball Museum offers a three-part lecture series celebrating art in Israel from its beginnings to the here and now. 

The series takes place in Mayerson Hall on the historic Clifton campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion on three consecutive Wednesday evenings in April and includes illustrated lectures and discussions as well as conversation around works of art in the exhibition gallery. 

The topics are:

• Art in Israel before World War II

Wednesday, April 11, at 7 p.m.

Explore the arts and crafts movement and the development of the Bezalel School and pioneer artists attracted to the land.

• Art in Israel after World War II

Wednesday, April 18, at 7 p.m.

Consider the impact of World War II and the founding of the State of Israel on artists including Mordechai Ardon and Marcel Janco and the formation of the New Horizons group by Joseph Zaritsky, Avigdor Stematsky, and Moshe Castel, who brought modernism and abstraction to the forefront of Israeli art. 

• Contemporary Israeli Art

Wednesday, April 25, at 7 p.m.

Skirball Museum Director Abby Schwartz will be joined by artist and educator Rabbi Ofer Sabath Beit-Halachmi for engaging dialogue about the dynamic and provocative modern and contemporary art scene in Israel.

The history of Israeli visual art really began with the founding of the Bezalel School, founded in 1906 to train Israeli artists and craftsmen. By the 1950s, after World War II and the founding of the state of Israel, two major groups formed in Israel – the New Horizons group, which moved toward abstraction, and the social realists, who addressed national and political issues. Today’s Israeli artists are part of a larger global scene that embraces site-specific installations, conceptual art, and film, as well as more traditional media including photography and painting.

“I am looking forward to engaging with participants in discussing the vibrant and colorful history of art in Israel. From pioneer artists to modern masters, there’s something for everyone in this armchair journey,” said museum director Schwartz, who has lectured widely on Jewish art, notably at the Melton School and the University of Cincinnati’s OLLI program. “I am particularly delighted that my colleague Rabbi Ofer Sabath Beit-Halachmi will be joining me for our third installment on contemporary art in Israel. His perspective as an artist and teacher will bring a different dimension to the conversation that is sure to be enlightening for us all.” 

Reservations are recommended. Skirball Museum members are free; non-members are charged a fee.

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