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Israel Museum in Jerusalem appoints Dr. Noam Gal as new Curator of Photography
Gal received a doctorate with distinction from Yale University in 2012. Photo: Yoram Aschheim.

JERUSALEM.- The Israel Museum today announced the appointment of Dr. Noam Gal as its new Horace and Grace Goldsmith Curator of Photography. Gal begins his work at the Museum on September 1, 2013, and succeeds Nissan Perez, who retired on June 30, 2013, after serving as the Museum’s founding Curator of Photography for nearly thirty-eight years.

As a curator and a scholar, Gal has focused his academic research on the interpretation of modern visual culture, in particular photography, within the broader framework of critical cultural theory. He currently teaches visual culture and theory of photography at Ben Gurion University and at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, lectures and teaches literary theory and visual culture at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and leads the Photolexic Research Group at Tel Aviv University, which concentrates on questions of spectatorship in the field of photography. He has also worked to engage younger audiences in photography and, together with the Shpilman Institute of Photography in Tel Aviv, is developing new teaching platforms that incorporate photography in the language-skills curricula of Israeli secondary schools.

Gal received a doctorate with distinction from Yale University in 2012, from the Department of Comparative Literature, with a thesis exploring representations of human-animal relations in the literature and photography of the Second World War. While at Yale, he curated a series of exhibitions and colloquia, “Images of Displacement,” on war photography at the Joseph Slifka Center, and he organized the international academic conference and artist workshop “Capture 2012: Photography, Nature, Human Rights.” He earned his master’s degree in the Cultural Studies Program at The Hebrew University and his bachelor’s degree in Visual Communication at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design.

“Noam brings with him a cross-disciplinary expertise and an international perspective that is central to our institutional mission,” said James S. Snyder, the Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum. “His vision as a curator is deepened by a strong grounding in 19th- and 20th-century visual and aesthetic culture and by a passion for art education—and it was this that distinguished him in our international search for our new curator of photography. We are thrilled to welcome him as a part of our senior curatorial team.”

“The Israel Museum is celebrated worldwide for pioneering new research in the field of photography, for championing the work of both classic and contemporary photographers, and for cultivating a far-reaching photography collection and exhibition program,” said Gal. “I am honored to be given the opportunity to continue this tradition of excellence at the Museum and to broaden an appreciation of the enduring impact of photography on our understanding of ourselves, our neighbors, our histories, and our environments.”

Since opening in 1965, the Israel Museum has maintained a focus on the exploration and exhibition of photography. Its comprehensive collection marks the Museum as a leader among encyclopedic museums in holdings of this medium. Over the years, through selected acquisitions, as well as gifts from key donors such as Arnold Newman, Arturo Schwarz, and Noel and Harriette Levine, the department’s collection has grown to comprise more than 75,000 works from the earliest days of photography to contemporary times. Areas of expertise include pioneering 19th-century practitioners and photography of the Dada and Surrealist movements, as well as in-depth representations of such historically significant artists as Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Andre Kertész, and Man Ray. The department also promotes contemporary Israeli photography through an active program of acquisitions as well as through individual and group exhibitions dedicated to the work of Israeli photographers. In addition, the department awards three photography prizes, the Gérard Lévy Prize for a Young Photographer, the Kavlin Photography Prize for life achievement, and the Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography. Nissan Perez, the Museum’s first Curator of Photography, retired on June 30, 2013.

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