This Land Is Whose Land?
Wed, 09/11/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
Yael Bartana’s 16mm film “Mary Koszmary” (Nightmares), 2007. Photo courtesy Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv
Yael Bartana’s 16mm film “Mary Koszmary” (Nightmares), 2007. Photo courtesy Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv

‘The land, of course, is a fundamental issue in Israel, as a homeland and a contested site,” wrote Helaine Posner, senior curator of contemporary art at SUNY Purchase’s Neuberger Museum, in an e-mail interview with The Jewish Week. The land, and more specifically settlers, the Arab-Israeli conflict, coexistence, history and memory are the central themes of the artwork in the Neuberger’s new exhibit, “The Compromised Land: Recent Photography and Video from Israel.”

In 2010, Artis, an Israeli visual arts nonprofit, invited Posner on a research trip to Israel. It was there that she began to plot this exhibit with her colleague Lilly Wei, an independent critic and curator.

The exhibit focuses on photo and video art, and the artists’ techniques range from documentary to narrative. As a comprehensive survey, “Land” is an opportunity to see well-known contemporary Israeli art such as Adi Nes’ “Soldier” series, Barry Frydlender’s  End of Occupation? series and videos by Yael Bartana alongside less established artists.

Gilad Ratman, Israel’s representative at this year’s Venice Biennale, contributes the video “The Boggy Man” to the exhibition; he is an artist-in-residence at Purchase College, where he will be teaching and critiquing.

With Israel and its land as the main thrust, the exhibit’s work can be political at times. According to Posner, “The artists included in this exhibition are sensitive to the political and social dimensions of life in Israel. They provide a window into life in their country from both a personal and political perspective.”

“The Compromised Land: Recent Photography and Video From Israel”  is on view through Dec. 1 at the Neuberger Museum of Art, 735 Anderson Hill Rd., Purchase, N.Y. (914) 251-6100, Neuberger.org.