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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 knowledge 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.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'... handsomely produced and lavishly illustrated ... This highly informative volume should remain the standard work on the topic for the foreseeable future. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above; general readers.' Choice 'This boulder of a book, more than five hundred pages and loaded with illustrations, is nothing less than magisterial. As much as a survey, the book represents the sedimentation of knowledge accrued over three decades at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where Zalmona served as chief curator.' Literary Review 'This first ever survey of the first century of Israeli art is compelling, scholarly, well nuanced - some Palestinian artists are included - beautifully produced and, in Zalmona's far-reaching approach tracing how a nation's history is both echoed and challenged by its art, of broad political as well as aesthetic significance.' Financial Times 'Though one may enjoy simply leafing through the high-quality reproductions in A Century of Israeli Art by Yigal Zalmona, it is worth the challenge of reading the text, which offers an incisive look at Israel's visual arts and how they reflect a changing society.' Haaretz 'Mr Zalmona's new book does plenty to disabuse the myth that Israeli art has not progressed from patriotic posters depicting early Zionist settlers. Titled A Century of Israeli Art, the mammoth volume features images and analysis of the depiction of the Zionist journey in painting and sculpture - and how over recent decades Israeli art has become sought after by international collectors and exhibited in prestigious galleries the world over.' Jewish Chronicle