Earlier this month, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem launched four exhibitions that spotlight a roster of internationally acclaimed and emerging artists from Israel.
Collecting Dust in Contemporary Israeli Art examines the work of 15 artists active in the fields of painting, photography, installation and video, who transform dust into contemporary works of art exploring temporality, memory and Israel’s environmental landscape. (This show somehow seems appropriate coming from the land that gave the world that memorable phrase “from dust to dust.”)
A retrospective of the works of Israeli artist Gideon Gechtman (1942-2008) explores how art can act as a posthumous memorial. After undergoing open-heart surgery at 31, Gechtman began an intense exploration of issues relating to illness, mortality, bereavement and memory; his artistic output stands as a personal mausoleum, designed to preserve his work and self after his death.
A solo exhibition by Mika Rottenberg consists of six video works that examine the role of women in society and the repercussions of an increasingly digital world. Rottenberg creates strange assembly lines in which actresses become part of an absurd manufacturing process that produces a variety of nameless products using substances such as sweat, hair and cosmetic powder.
The Israel Museum is also presenting Out of Body: Fragmentation in Art, an exhibition that focuses on works that were created as distinct parts of the human body, from ancient Egyptian amulets to contemporary works by Israeli artists. All four exhibitions remain on view until April 5, 2014.
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Films of Steven Spielberg: Film critic Shlomo Shwartzberg presents Defining Greatness: Director Steven Spielberg. This is a close-up examination of the powerful legacy of arguably the most famous filmmaker in the world, from Close Encounters of the Third Kind to E.T. The Extraterrestrial, Jaws to Lincoln. Series of eight lectures. Miles Nadal JCC, Mondays Jan. 20 to March 17, 7 to 9 p.m. $90 for series, $11.25 drop-in, $6 for students and Toronto Jewish Film Society members. Please call 416-924-6211, ext. 0, to register.
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Yiddish Cinema: Friends of Yiddish presents a screening of The Yiddish Cinema, a documentary narrated by David Mamet about the flourishing Yiddish film industry in eastern Europe between the two world wars. The film traces the decline of Yiddish films and Yiddish itself. It also discusses the Holocaust’s decimation of European Jewry, Stalinist suppression of Jewish culture and the New World’s demands for assimilation. Introduced by film maven Shlomo Schwartzberg.
Free admission. Beth Tikvah Synagogue, 3080 Bayview Ave. between Sheppard and Finch. Sunday, Jan. 12, 2 p.m. Please RSVP by Jan. 8 to Sandy at 416-458-1440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Shanghai Story: Playwright-director Brenley Charkow has written and directed On The Other Side of The World, a play about the Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai, China, to escape the Nazi stranglehold of Europe. The play focuses on Ursula Blomberg, a young Jewish girl whose family sought shelter in the large Chinese coastal city. On stage at Factory Theatre Main Stage, 125 Bathurst St., from Thursday, Jan. 9, to Sunday, Jan. 19. Tickets $15. www.fringetoronto.com, 416-966-1062.