A Century of Israeli Art presents the story of modern Israel's visual culture, beginning with the pre-state years of Zionist art in the early 20th century and extending to the present day, as a new generation of Israeli artists rises to international prominence in the 21st century. Framing artistic developments in the context of successive periods, author Yigal Zalmona describes the many ways in which Israel's art has been influenced by its social and political history. This look at the wider picture goes hand-in-hand with detailed, enlightening analyses of seminal artworks from every period. Zalmona surveys the early days of the Bezalel School, founded in 1906 in the spirit of the Arts and Crafts movement; Land-of-Israel art during an era of nation-building; the pre-eminence of international modernism and Lyrical Abstraction after 1948; social-activist and conceptual art in the 1970s; and the recent embrace of photography and video. Throughout its evolution, Israeli art has reflected a complex cultural discourse revolving around questions of identity - Western versus Eastern, local versus universal, national and ethnic, collective and personal. Drawing on the author's decades of accumulated kwledge and activity in the field of Israeli art - as historian, critic, teacher, and curator - and aimed at a broad audience, this book will be fascinating reading for art-lovers and for all those with an interest in Israel's cultural history, offering a compelling example of the interaction between visual art and a dynamic, multifaceted society.
After serving as Curator of Israeli Art and then Chief Curator of the Arts, Yigal Zalmona recently retired from his position as Chief Curator at Large at The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.