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Inaugural Exhibition Showcases New Acquisitions in Israel Museum Collection
Peter Coffin, Untitled (Free Jazz Mobile), 2007. Image: Courtesy The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

JERUSALEM.- The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, will inaugurate the contemporary galleries of its new Edmond and Lily Safra Fine Arts Wing with Still / Moving, an exhibition exploring the use of slow and meditative movement in a range of mediums, including installation, video, and photography. Featuring 26 works from the Museum’s contemporary collection by Carlos Amorales, Olafur Eliasson, Mona Hatoum, Ori Gersht, Aernout Mik, and Bill Viola, among others, Still / Moving showcases the international breadth, depth, and growth of the Israel Museum’s contemporary holdings—more than one-third of the works on view are new acquisitions or gifts, and half have never before been on view at the Museum. The exhibition is one of a series of collection-based projects that will be on view in the Museum’s renewed and reinstalled galleries beginning July 26, when the Museum opens its upgraded and expanded campus to the public.

“With the inauguration of our renewed campus this summer, we will be able both to showcase the richness of our encyclopedic holdings and to feature a number of exceptional new acquisitions and gifts that have recently entered our collections,” said James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Museum. “Since the beginning of our project in 2007, we have added substantially to our holdings in many collecting areas, with nearly 150 new acquisitions in modern and contemporary art alone. We are eager to share these new additions with our public, and we consider Still / Moving a highlight of our inaugural presentations.”

Each of the works in Still / Moving takes a different approach to motion as a medium for stimulating contemplation, exploring the power of slow movement to fascinate and even hypnotize, and the ways in which movement can modify our perception of space and our experience of individual works of art. The exhibition, on view through April 2011, is curated by Suzanne Landau, Yulla and Jacques Lipchitz Chief Curator of the Arts and Landeau Family Curator of Contemporary Art.

“Many artists have attempted to depict motion and to show movement over time—from Italian Futurist interpretations of a speeding automobile, through video artists’ transformation of the static image into a digital projection. Still / Moving explores how contemporary artists have approached the meditative aspect of slow movement and incorporated it into the experience of their works,” said Landau.

Still / Moving was inspired by two contemporary works in the collection that incorporate movement as a key element: Junya Ishigami’s newly acquired Table (2005) and Bill Viola’s An Instrument of Simple Sensation (1983), which has been in the Museum’s collection since 1995. Table, an ultra-thin, 9 meter (29.5 foot) long steel tabletop, supported only at its two ends and adorned with a still-life of everyday objects, captivates the viewer as it undulates in slow motion. Drawing connections with the tradition of still-life painting, Ishigami’s piece is a “moving-life” that appears simultaneously to fight and cheat gravity. Viola’s An Instrument of Simple Sensation places visitors inside a metaphorical human body, centered around a monitor showing video images of an exposed and vulnerable heart whose beat reverberates throughout the exhibition space. Incorporating the experience of the observer as a component of the installation, this early Viola work features the contemplative approach to time and movement that characterizes his video art.

Other highlights of Still / Moving include:

• Peter Coffin’s Untitled (Free Jazz Mobile), 2008, composed of ten musical instruments—the same selection played in Ornette Coleman’s seminal 1960 recording Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation—hovering just centimeters above the floor. Viewers walking around and through the mobile replace the musicians, causing random movements that echo the principle of chance that is so crucial to improvisational music.

• Carlos Amorales’ Black Cloud (latent studio), 2007, a monumental installation for which the artist selected 36 types of moths and replicated them in over 15,000 life-size black paper cutouts. The black mass composed of delicate silhouettes plays with notions of beauty, wonder, attraction, and threat, and evokes one of the world’s most spectacular natural phenomena—the yearly migration of millions of monarch butterflies between Mexico and the United States and Canada.

• Rivane Neuenschwander’s Look who is coming it’s me (alarm floor), 2005, an interactive floor-and-sound installation inspired by Japanese ―nightingale floors‖—security devices designed to make a chirping sound when they are traversed. As they step across the floor, visitors activate instruments beneath the floorboards, creating different sounds with every step and becoming aware of their own movements as a part of the work itself.

Inaugural Exhibitions
Still / Moving is one of a series of collection-based exhibitions reflecting the depth and breadth of the Museum’s encyclopedic holdings that will be unveiled in the Museum’s new collection galleries on July 26, 2010. Other inaugural exhibitions include the premiere presentation of the Noel and Harriett Levine Collection of modern and contemporary photography, as well as exhibitions of archaeology, contemporary art, and prints and drawings.

In addition, in celebration of the Museum’s newly renovated and expanded campus, Zvi Goldstein, Susan Hiller, and Yinka Shonibare will curate Artists’ Choices, three special exhibitions inaugurating the Museum’s Harry and Bella Wexner Gallery, its new centrally located temporary exhibition space. This three-part presentation will provide a fresh look at the Museum’s permanent holdings, juxtaposing works from its Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Jewish Art and Life Wings, and stimulate dialogue and resonance between the collections and the artists themselves. Four new works are also being created by Shonibare for his exhibition.

The Israel Museum | Contemporary Galleries | Carlos Amorales | Olafur Eliasson | Mona Hatoum |

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