About the Artists
Offering Reconciliation showcases the work of 135 world-renowned Palestinian and Israeli sculptures, photographers, painters, designers and architects. The curators gathered a unique group of artists, whose life works gained ample recognition and prestigious awards. Paintings, photographs, furniture, sculptures, buildings, monuments and memorials created by these artists are scattered throughout Europe, the United States, the Far East and the Middle East and are displayed in museums and galleries worldwide, including the Whitney Museum of Art in New York, the Los Angeles State Museum, the Venice Biennale, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem, Tate Gallery in London, Tel Aviv Museum, Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Singapore Art Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University.
Each artist contributed his or her own style to Israeli and Palestinian cultures and influenced both local and global discourse of art. Many explored the concepts of conflict and reconciliation in their previous works and used their specific mediums to send a message of peace and interdependency.
Following are brief biographies of some of the artists whose works are exhibited in the show:
Ron Arad is an Israeli industrial designer, artist and architect. He was born in Tel Aviv in 1951 and studied at the Jerusalem Academy of Art (1971-73) and the Architectural Association in London (1974-79). In 1989, he and Caroline Thorman founded Ron Arad Associates, an architecture and design practice. He was a professor of design at the Hochschule in Vienna from 1994 to 1997 and head of design products department at the Royal College of Art until 2006. His work has been widely featured in books, magazine articles and professional journals worldwide. He has produced furniture and lighting design for many companies, including Alessi, Vitra, Flos, Artemide and Kartell. Many of his works are in the collections of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Victoria and Albert Museum London and the Vitra Design Museum in Germany. His most notable architectural projects include the Maserati Headquarters Showroom in Italy, the living room and family dining room for Sheikh Saud Al-Thani’s Villa in Qatar, the Selfridges Technology Hall in London, the Tel Aviv Opera Foyer in Israel and the Belgo Noord and Belgo Centraal restaurants in London.
Ilana Goor is an Israeli designer and sculptor. She was born in Israel, where she attended the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. Goor began sculpting in Los Angeles in the late 1960s; in 1972 the Los Angeles State Museum presented a one-woman show of her works. She later exhibited in Italy, France, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and other parts of the United States. Her statues were installed in the Yad Vashem Memorial Museum in Jerusalem and in many outdoor settings in Tel Aviv, Haifa and other cities throughout Israel. In 1988 she won the Roscoe Award for the best design in residential seating. Since the early 1980s, she has designed buckles and sold belts to most major department and brand-name fashion and designer stores in the United States. She has also introduced a collection of iron furniture and accessories to the American market as signed limited editions, and continues to design and produce her own collection of leather coats, jackets and pants for men and women. Goor and her family lived in Los Angeles for 20 years before moving to New York City. They also maintain a home in Old Jaffa, Israel. In 1994 the cornerstone to the Ilana Goor Museum in Old Jaffa was set. The opening of the museum, founded in Goor's private residence in Old Jaffa, was in September 1995. The museum includes an extensive variety of Goor's works from different periods and themes as well as an international collection of etchings, drawings and paintings by various artists.
Menashe Kadishman is an Israeli sculptor and painter. He was born in Tel Aviv in 1932. From 1947 to 1950, he studied with the Israeli sculptor Moshe Sternschuss at the Avni Institute in Tel Aviv, and in 1954 he studied with the Israeli sculptor Rudi Lehmann in Jerusalem. In 1959 Kadishman moved to London, where he remained until 1972; he had his first one-man show there in 1965 at the Grosvenor Gallery. His sculptures of the 1960s were Minimalist in style and so designed as to appear to defy gravity. This was achieved either through careful balance and construction or by using glass and metal so that the metal appeared unsupported. In his youth, between 1950 and 1953, Kadishman worked as a shepherd on a kibbutz. This experience with nature, sheep and shepherding had a significant impact on his later artistic work and career. The first major appearance of sheep in his work was in the 1978 Venice Biennale, where Kadishman presented a flock of colored live sheep as living art. In 1995, he began painting portraits of sheep, by the hundreds, and even thousands, each one different from the next. These instantly recognizable sheep portraits soon became his artistic trademark. His works can be found in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., and in London’s Tate Gallery. His works have been exhibited from Japan to Uruguay and throughout Western Europe. He has won numerous prizes and honors, including the Israel Prize, in 1995.
Dani Karavan is an Israeli sculpture. He was born in Tel Aviv in 1930. Karavan is best known for his memorials and monuments that merge into the environment, though he has made important installations as well as other significant contributions to art and architecture. At the age of 14, Karavan began studying painting. In 1943 he studied with Marcel Janco in Tel Aviv, and from 1943 to 1949, he studied at the Bezalal School of Arts in Jerusalem. From 1956 to 1957, he studied fresco technique at the Academia delle Belle Arti in Florence and drawing at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris. Karavan made permanent installations in the form of wall reliefs in Israeli courts and research institutions. Examples of his artwork for different institutions are the 1966 "Jerusalem City of Peace" wall relief, in the Knesset assembly hall, and the environmental sculptures comprising 35 wall reliefs and iron sculpture made between 1962 and 1967, at the Court of Justice in Tel Aviv. Karavan's advocacy of Tel Aviv's modern international style buildings encouraged their restoration and the inscription of The White City as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1977, Karavan was awarded the Israel Prize, and in 1998 he was one of five recipients of the Japanese annual Praemium Imperiale art prize.
Alex Levac is an Israeli photographer. He was born in Tel Aviv in 1944. After graduating in philosophy and psychology from Tel Aviv University and in photography from the London College of Printing, he began his career as a freelance photographer in Brazil (1971-74), moving on to London (1974-79) and Los Angeles (1979-81) and finally setting in Jerusalem. He has exhibited his work in the United States, Great Britain and Israel (1978-2001). In 1983 he became staff photographer for the daily newspaper Hadashoth, and his pictures of the Intifada evoked tremendous public interest. In 1993 he joined the staff of the daily newspaper Ha'aretz. His work has appeared in several publications, including "Eyes upon Zion" (1994), "Tel Aviv Serenade" (1999) and "Our Country" (2000). Levac has participated in a number of exhibitions, among them Amazon Indians, held at the University of California, Berkeley; the Ein Harod Israeli Biennale of Photography; and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. In 1993 he received the Rita Poretzky Award of Photography from the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
Aliza Olmert is an Israeli plastics artist and a writer of novels and theater plays. Born in Eschwege, Germany, in 1946, she is the wife of Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. Olmert has presented her works in solo and group exhibitions in museums in Israel and overseas. Her plays and scripts include “Jerusalem between Heaven and Earth,” “Fantasy for a Piano,” “Pre-Matriculation Exam," "Panama,” “A Slice of Sea” and “Unwilling Epicurean.” In 1967, she started her studies in social work at Hebrew University. Between 1970 and 1974, she worked as a family counselor in the welfare department of the Regional Council of the Yehuda region. From 1974 to 1980, she served as a child-placement supervisor at Emunah. In 1985 Olmert began her studies at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem.
Michal Rovner is an Israeli video artist and photographer. She was born in Tel Aviv in 1957. Rovner studied at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design and at Tel Aviv University. She has exhibited widely, including shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, where she also participated in their 2000 Biennial exhibit, the Art Institute of Chicago, Tate Gallery in London and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Rovner was recently invited by the Holocaust Museum, Memorial and Education Center in Jerusalem to create a video about Jewish life in Europe before World War II. Rovner has divided her time between Israel and New York since 1988. Many of her multimedia works reference the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Her haunting images often depict faceless individuals lost against abstract backgrounds that bring to mind swirling water or desert sands. These shrouded figures suggest the uncertain future and troubled past of itinerant populations in the Middle East. Rovner, however, takes a meditative approach to the intellectual and political components of her work; by eliminating the individuality of her subjects, she creates a mood of mystery and loneliness that lingers alongside the political content of her works.
Ronny Someck is an Israeli poet. He was born in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1951, and immigrated with his family to Israel as a child. He studied Hebrew literature and philosophy at Tel Aviv University and drawing at the Avni Academy of Art. In addition to working as a counselor with street gangs, he teaches literature and holds writing workshops. Someck is considered one of Israel’s most popular poets. For his eight collections of poetry he has twice received the Prime Minister’s Prize, in 1989 and in 2000; in 1999 he won both the Efrat Prize and the Ahi prize (the Association for the Promotion of Research, Literature and Art, founded in Israel by Jews from Iraq). In 1987, Someck received the Jubilee Prize awarded by the Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers in Israel for special achievement. Someck participates in many festivals and other poetry events, and he often cooperates with musicians and other artists. His poetry has been translated into 22 languages and has been widely published both in Israel and abroad.