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Israel Museum Receives $1 Million to Support New Photography Prize
Paul Outerbridge, "Self-portrait", c. 1930. Gelatin silver print. The Levine Photography Collection. Image ©Anthony Troncale.

JERUSALEM.- The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, today announced that it has established the Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography, which provides photographers and scholars with the support needed to pursue new ideas and work in the medium. The first of its kind, the prize is awarded for the creation of new rather than the recognition of previously completed work. It will be presented every two years to an artist or scholar who aims to expand the boundaries of the medium. Recipients will receive a cash prize of €30,000 ($45,000) to support the realization of new work, which will subsequently be published or exhibited by the Museum. The first Shpilman Prize recipient will be selected in August 2010.

The prize is created and supported with an endowment gift of $1 million from the Shpilman Art and Culture Foundation, which will expand the core activities of the Museum’s Noel and Harriette Levine Department of Photography, while also contributing to the Museum’s ongoing endowment campaign in memory of founder Teddy Kollek. The Shpilman gift also matches a challenge grant from the Schusterman Foundation, which sought to encourage Israeli support by pledging $1 million toward the endowment campaign if matched by a donor in Israel. The Schusterman Foundation is also supporting the Museum’s concurrent Campus Renewal Project with a gift of $5 million, also offered on condition that it be matched by donors in Israel.

“We are deeply grateful to the Shpilman family for its broad vision and generous support of this new prize, which is unique in that it will encourage artists to expand the boundaries of photography as a creative medium,” said James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum. “This gift is unprecedented for our Photography Department, and it extends the Museum’s over 40-year commitment to the medium in an important way.”

“This prize is the first of its kind in Israel to be awarded to encourage and support the creative enterprise of photographers from around the world,” said Shalom Shpilman, chair of the Shpilman Art and Culture Foundation. “As one of the world’s preeminent resources in the field of photography, the Israel Museum is the perfect institution to partner with us in the creation and implementation of this new award.”

Recipients of the prize will be selected by a jury of leading international photography experts, chaired by Nissan N. Perez, Horace and Grace Goldsmith Senior Curator of the Israel Museum’s Noel and Harriette Levine Department of Photography. Inaugural jury members will include:

• Dr. Shlomo Lee Abramov (Yakum) – Photographer and teacher, Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, representing the Shpilman family

• Mr. Peter Galassi (New York) – Chief Curator, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art

• Ms. Marta Gili (Paris) – Director, Jeu de Paume Museum

• Prof. Hanan Laskin (Tel Aviv) – Founder, Photography Department, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design; academic advisor to art schools and other cultural institutions in Israel.

Prospective candidates may include artists and scholars in photography with an established record of past achievements who intend to create new work or undertake new research in the field. Proposals must include a statement on the nature of the work that applicants would want to develop in the future. Candidates must be nominated by a peer in the field. Applications must be received by April 2010.

The Israel Museum | Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography | Mr. Peter Galassi | Nissan N. Perez | Horace and Grace Goldsmith |

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