IMJ Insider
September 2019
We enjoyed a full and exciting summer season at the Israel Museum, with the opening of several new exhibitions, and a rich program of events and activities that attracted tens of thousands of locals and tourist of every age and from every all walk of society. Attendance is at an all-time record high.

We were honored to host New Zealand artist Lisa Reihana for the installation and opening of her renowned monumental work, In Pursuit of Venus (infected). Internationally acclaimed Israeli artist Gilad Efrat was also present at the opening of his large-scale solo exhibition at the Museum, Inside Painting. The exhibition A Modern Love: Remarkable Photographs from the Israel Museum presented iconic 19th and 20th-century masterpieces by leading pioneers of photography; while Peter and Pan: From Ancient Greece to Neverland provided a unique juxtaposition of ancient artifacts, fine art, literature, and cinematography. All four exhibitions opened on the evening of July 16 to a capacity audience in our Springer Auditorium. Earlier in the month, we inaugurated the interactive exhibition, BAUHAUS: our work, our play, our party, the annual theme exhibition of the Ruth Youth Wing for Art Education.
Other critically acclaimed exhibitions included Julian Rosefeldt: Manifesto; Veiled Women of the Holy Land; and Through Time and Space. Among the many special displays this summer was the display of two exceptional Roman coins from the collection of Abraham D. Sofaer and Marian Scheuer Sofaer, which uniquely depict the biblical story of the binding of Isaac.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our friends and supporters from around the world for their support that allows us to offer a vibrant and varied program of the highest quality that is a hallmark of the Israel Museum.
Michael Fisher
Director of International Relations and Development
Building Neverland
An exciting interactive summer event for the whole family

Building Neverland  |  Summer activities for families

In conjunction with the exhibition Peter and Pan: From Ancient Greece to Neverland, visitors were invited during August to participate in Building Neverland, an interactive, multi-disciplinary activity for the whole family. With our magnificent Anish Kapoor sculpture Turning the World Upside Down, Jerusalem at its center, the Museum’s Henry Crown Plaza was recast as the wonderful world of Neverland, complete with trees, wooden bridges, and riverbanks, all waiting to be decorated and transformed into a unique and magical fairy world. Adding to the fun, the Springer Auditorium was turned into a sophisticated video studio with green screen technology, allowing each family or group to be transported to beloved scenes from Peter Pan or on a journey through the stars. Almost 10,000 children and adults participated in this enjoyable activity during the summer.
Summer Family Activities

Family guided tours in BAUHAUS: our play, our party, our work

Throughout the summer, we offered special tours and workshops focused on current exhibitions, specially tailored for children and families. The Ruth Youth Wing exhibition, BAUHAUS: our work, our play, our party, offers a unique interactive exhibition celebrating 100 years since the inception of the Bauhaus School. The exhibition provides visitors of all ages with the opportunity to discover the educational elements and practical principles of the Bauhaus School, taking them on a journey into the avant-garde and experimental approach of the Bauhaus. Visitors are invited to consider new conceptions of color, shape, material, and space; explore the process behind the creation of a complete work of art, and become active participants in the Bauhaus School by engaging with a selection of Bauhaus objects.  Through Space and Time, which presents the restored diary of Israel’s first astronaut, the late Ilan Ramon; Peter and Pan; and Paul Kor: Caspion and other Animals also offered much scope for experiential activities for families.
Wine Festival

16th Wine Festival at the Israel Museum

Our 16th annual Wine Festival opened on Monday, July 8, offering four enjoyable and wine-filled evenings. Ten thousand visitors to the festival were treated to unlimited tastings of hundreds of wines from Israel’s finest boutique vineyards, live music, and stalls selling artisanal chocolates, olive oil, and more. 
Upcoming Exhibitions
Fateful Choices
Art from the Gurlitt Trove

From the exhibition, Fateful Choices: Art from the Gurlitt Trove

Fateful Choices: Art from the Gurlitt Trove
On the morning of November 3, 2013, a Munich magazine, Focus, reported the discovery of "Nazi treasure" in the apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt, a relatively anonymous old man investigated for potential tax evasion. The magazine’s headline boasted: "1,500 stolen artworks, including Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, and Durer - worth more than a billion euros?" Building the drama, editors chose to decorate the front page with a black and white photograph of Adolf Hitler striking a dominant pose, with a pile of paintings behind him. To make matters even worse for Gurlitt, not only did Focus publish his full name, they included photographs of his Munich home and the doorbell bearing the old man’s name. However, the Focus article is only one scandalous chapter in a dramatic and complex legal-political-historical narrative. When the Gurlitt trove was discovered in 2012, in the course of an investigation into possible tax evasion, the District Prosecutor of Augsburg confiscated artworks found at the two apartments in Schwabing, Munich. The apartments, and later a house in Salzburg containing additional works of art, belonged to the 80-year-old Cornelius Gurlitt, whom, it transpired, was the son of the Modern Art Museum director, collector, gallerist, and art agent for the Third Reich, Dr. Hildebrand Gurlitt. He was also the grandson of the painter Louis Gurlitt and his Jewish wife, Elizabeth (Elise) Lewald. It was assumed that the majority of the works found at the residences of Cornelius Gurlitt were acquired by Hildebrand Gurlitt during the years 1929 to 1944 and the provenance of many of them was called into question.
Between January 2014 and January 2016, a team of fourteen international experts – including our exhibition curator Ms. Shlomit Steinberg – researched the provenance of the works, and restituted several of them (by Matisse, Liebermann, Menzel). After the task-force's tenure was completed, the research was continued by other provenance experts in Magdeburg, Germany.
As well as presenting a selection of these works, the Israel Museum exhibition will shed light on the life and times of Hildebrand Gurlitt, a practical man who adjusted his actions to the tune of the time, taking advantage of the passion for art by the leaders of the Third Reich. Gurlitt exhibited a Faustian character that went beyond his private or public persona. Starting out as a young art student from a highly assimilated and well-known family of leading cultural figures in Dresden and Berlin, Gurlitt went on to adapt himself chameleon-like to the prevailing political milieu. After the War, he was declared unmarred by Nazi affiliation and invited to be the Director of the Kunsthalle in Düsseldorf from 1948 until his untimely death in a car accident on November 1956.
The exhibition is held in cooperation with the Art Museum, Bern, Switzerland and the Space for Art and Exhibitions of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bonn, and is supported in part by the David Berg Foundation, New York.
A Glimpse of Paradise 
100 Years of Jerusalem Armenian Ceramics 

A Glimpse of Paradise: 100 Years of Jerusalem Armenian Ceramics, Rockefeller Archaeological Museum

Armenian ceramics, as well as Jerusalem stone, are considered to be unique architectural and design elements of the city of Jerusalem. Vivid splashes of color against a bright stone background have become a hallmark of the Jerusalem landscape, both on the city streets and inside private homes. All of the city’s ethnic and religious populations, whether Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, regard ceramics as defining symbols of the local Jerusalem style.  Armenian ceramics have become part and parcel of the city’s culture and many erroneously believe that they have been part of the ornamentation and building materials of Jerusalem since ancient times. The origins of the ceramics actually lie in Turkey in the ceramics of 16th century Iznik and in 18th century Kutahya. Ceramic ornamentation only appeared in Jerusalem in 1919 due to a combination of historical factors, including British rule, which brought with it the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement, and the arrival in Jerusalem of Armenian refugees in the wake of the First World War.

This exhibition will be presented at the Rockefeller Museum, and will relate the story of one hundred years of Armenian ceramics in Jerusalem (1919–2019). This unique local school of ceramics is especially noteworthy since, although Jerusalem has always been a major religious center, the city has never developed a significant art form of its own. The buildings and courtyards of Jerusalem and its environs are a veritable outdoor museum of this unique local school of art, now celebrating its centenary.
The Rockefeller Museum is the ideal location for the first-ever retrospective of this art form, since the central motif of its inner courtyard is an exquisite fountain niche covered with blue Armenian tiles, the work of David Ohannessian, the founder of the Armenian ceramics school in Jerusalem. The fountain niche and its decoration represents a microcosm of this art, symbolizing a wellspring of the three central religions of the Holy Land. The Rockefeller Museum’s permanent display includes early Christian art, findings from the excavations at Hisham’s Palace in Jericho, and tiles and monumental decorations from the Dome of the Rock, all of which influenced and inspired images found on the ceramics of Armenian artists in the 20th century.

The exhibition will reveal, for the first time, surprising aspects and discoveries along the pathways of this inspiring and colorful art form, set against the backdrop of the changing realities of Jerusalem in the twentieth century. On display will be ceramic works from Israel and around the world that tell the fascinating story of the Holy City. Visitors will be able to experience stories, artifacts, and images from the past, as well as those from the 20th century, and beyond.

The exhibition also features the commissioned works of contemporary Armenian artists inspired by ancient mosaics in homage to their forbears. Such mosaics – especially the 6th-century Armenian birds mosaic that was discovered near the Damascus Gate – were a source of inspiration for the earliest Armenian ceramicists. In addition, current students of ceramics from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design will participate in the exhibition, presenting contemporary ceramic works that will be integrated into the exhibition spaces within the Rockefeller Museum. It is anticipated that the exhibition will also allow greater exposure for the Rockefeller Museum – an architectural gem on the Jerusalem landscape and a landmark in the history of modern architecture in Israel from the time of the British Mandate.
Use of X-Ray Technology
in the Museum for Research and Restoration

Annibale Carracci, Self- Portrait, ca 1580, oil on canvas

The Conservation laboratories of the Israel Museum employ some twenty conservators dedicated to preserving the Museum's collections, which include nearly 500,000 artifacts from prehistoric times to the present day. The skilled and highly trained team of conservationists and restorers work daily to ensure that our collections are maintained according to the strictest museum standards. Our laboratory staff offer curators the opportunity to research artifacts and art works, utilizing a wide spectrum of technologies and expertise.

The use of X-ray to examine museum collections is a well-established process that dates back to the early 1930s. The technique exposes secrets hidden within the artifacts that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. X-ray radiation, such as infrared and ultraviolet technology, is imperceptible and can provide information on the materials from which an item was created, the techniques used, the date of creation, changes and additions made during and after creation, and information about the item's condition with direct implications for conservation.

A fascinating recent use of X-ray technology was recently performed on Annibale Caracci’s Self Portrait of from 1580, revealing showed intriguing results.

Is there a toothy grin hidden beneath the surface of the painting?

Recently, a theory arose in which a researcher of Carracci’s work suggested this to be the very first painting in which the artist rendered himself with a tooth-revealing smile. The claim proposed that the artist later changed his mind and painted over the original grin. Since there is no way to peel back the layers of paint without damaging the work itself, only X-ray technology can shed light on this controversial question. Due to the use of white lead in the paint pigment, X-ray technology has the ability to pick up the bright white of the teeth supposedly hidden beneath the figure’s mustached lip. If the artist did choose to paint teeth, then white lead would have been the natural choice.

In a fascinating experiment, the X-rays found the largest concentrations of white lead to be in the figure’s ruffled collar, forehead, and glossy lower lip. Because the X-ray imagery failed to reveal any evidence that such an alteration was made, this theory has, at least for the moment, been disproved due to lack of any scientific proof.
July 2019 saw an increase of visitors to the museum as compared to July 2018 and August attendance was equally impressive. To date, 622,972 people visited the museum, since the start of the year.
Recent Acquisitions

Sari Srulovitch, Israeli, born 1964
Memorial plaque: Ayeka (“Where are you”), Israel, 2018
Concrete, stamped, and brass, sawn 
Purchased through the gift of the André and Nicole Bollag Foundation, Zurich, and Philippe J. Weil, Tel Aviv, in memory of Philippe Bollag
Photo: Elie Posner

”The Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)
In Ayeka Sari Srulovitch strives to capture the essence of that which is absent. She carved the word ayeka from a brass ball; using this ball, she imprinted the word in reverse on the concrete. The gradually disappearing letters – like footsteps fading in the sand –echo God’s question to Adam after he eats from the Tree of Knowledge: “Where are you?” As God surely knows Adam’s physical location, this question is often interpreted as a call to each of us to examine our innermost thoughts and motivations – where we are.  For Srulovitch the question’s repetition increases the sense of absence, calling to mind the fragility of life and the constant search for moral, spiritual, and human meaning.
The plaque is currently on view in the Rhythm of Life Gallery in the Jewish Art and Life permanent display.

Asta Gröting (Born Germany, 1961)
Mausoleum, from the series Berlin Façade, 2016
Silikon, Jute
373 x 373 x 10 cm
Purchase, Contemporary Art Acquisitions Committee of American Friends of the Israel Museum, New York

 To create her recent series Berlin Fassaden (2016–2018), Gröting cast the facades of public buildings damaged by the Second World War in silicone. Like faces, buildings also have pimples, scars, and injuries. Gröting’s casts not only reveal impressions of the facades’ architectural structure, but also pull the depth of its bullet holes out onto its surface— forming bulbous protuberances that also include bits of sandstone particles, dirt, and dust that have collected in the holes over the decades. As such structures are rapidly being renovated as part of urban renewal—as well as post-war Germany’s ongoing attempt to rid its urban surfaces from remnants of the war—Gröting’s forensic approach to Berlin’s damaged facades can be understood in this context as a protest against forgetting. The Fassaden act as a sculptural slow-exposures, “pushing through the 20th century into the 21st in one simultaneous moment.”
International Friends Events: What's on Next

South African Friends hosts a trip for international friends to South Africa

September 12-15 – Italian Friends Venice Trip to the Contemporary Art Biennale

September 22 Israeli Friends Gala Jerusalem. Should you be in Israel, please consider attending for a night of art, culture, good food and wine and lots of surprises. For more information, please contact Lea Rotstein

September 23– Opening of Fateful Choices: Art from the Gurlitt Trove at the Israel Museum

September 24 – Opening of A Glimpse of Paradise:100 Years of Jerusalem Armenian Ceramics at the Rockefeller Museum

October 23 – French Friends annual Gala Dinner, Paris. For more information, please contact Caroline Davidovici

October 23-28 Italian Friends planned a trip to Israel. For more information, please contact Daniela Stefanelli.

October 29 - AFIM  annual Gala, New York. For more information, please contact Natalie Hernandez.

November 5 – South African Friends annual Gala Dinner, Cape Town. For more information, please contact Sarin Goott.

November 3-9 – South African Friends are hosting a trip for international friends to South Africa. For more information, please contact Marco van Embden. Last few places available.

November 18-21- British Friends Art Trip to Israel. For more information, please contact Gili Yuval.

November 19 – Swiss Friends annual Gala Dinner in Zurich. For more information, please contact Lori Spector

December 4-6 – Jazz Festival at the Israel Museum

December 10 - Opening of iGlyph: Hieroglyphs from the Pyramids to Cyberspace at the Israel Museum



January 11-12
German Friends event in Hamburg. For more information, please contact Magdalena Backhaus.

January 24 – AFIM Palm Beach Event. For more information, please contact Natalie Hernandez.

End of January – BFAMI annual Gala. For more information, please contact Michelle Hyman.

February 10 – AFIM annual West Coast Gala. For more information, please contact Natalie Hernandez.

International Council

International Council Events 2019
More than 120 members from twelve countries participated in this year’s International Council. The diverse program focused on the themes of "From Thought to Form" and featured new and upcoming exhibitions in the museum and a glimpse of the Museum’s daily work behind-the-scenes.
Council events provide an excellent opportunity to meet old acquaintances and make new connections. 

We are pleased to announce that the 2020 International Council will be held from June 7-10, also marking the 55th anniversary of the founding of the Israel Museum. We hope that you will consider joining us for what promises to be a most memorable Council.

Watch for the next IMJ magazine, which will be published in January with in-depth details of exhibitions, new acquisitions, events, and more!
Copyright © 2019 The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, All rights reserved.

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