Past Public Program

The Nation’s Groves

Artis Presents

September 18, 2019, 6-8pm


New York City

Links: The 8th Floor

Artis and The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation Present
The Nation’s Groves
Artist Talk with Dor Guez, in Conversation with Curator Sara Reisman

Wednesday, September 18, 6-8pm
The 8th Floor, 17 West 17th Street, NYC
RSVP required, as space is limited. 

Artis, in collaboration with The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, presents The Nation’s Groves, an artist talk with Jerusalem-born artist Dor Guez at The 8th Floor in New York. The discussion will focus on two of his projects that combine traditional photographic processes with research of landscape and flora to reveal less visible aspects of the region’s history. Guez will address the larger concerns of his practice withSara Reisman, Executive and Artistic Director of The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation and Artis Curatorial Seminar Alum.

Guez’s project, and the title of the talk, The Nation’s Groves (2010), refers to forestation efforts led by the Israeli government, which began in the 1950s. The state managed and maintained groves, vineyards, and lands that were nationalized following the establishment of Israel, and served as a branch of the Zionist enterprise. The artist will present a collection of photographs, videos, and scans from different archives, reflecting on the work of The Nation’s Groves company to adopt and rapidly redefine the land as part of Israel’s nation-building process. Combining historical ethos with individual tales, the project reveals a structural and formal tension between the artificial and the natural, imitation and origin. Guez will also speak about his latest photographic series Lilies of the Field (2019), which examines the link between nature and culture, based on pressed flower albums that were common souvenirs for tourists and pilgrims visiting the “Holy Land” in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As with some of his previous projects focused on local landscape and vegetation, Lilies of the Field tackles the ways in which representations of the landscape, explicitly or implicitly, is subjugated to Orientalist precepts.

Dor Guez was born into a family of Palestinian and Jewish Tunisian lineage. Guez’s photography, video, mixed media, and essays explore the relationship between art, narrative, and memory. Interrogating personal and official accounts of the past, his artwork raises questions about contemporary art’s role in narrating unwritten histories and re-contextualizing visual and written documents. Since 2006, Guez’s ongoing research focuses on archival materials of the Middle East. His work has been displayed in over thirty solo exhibitions worldwide. To date, eight catalogues have been published internationally about his practice. Publishers include Distanz, New England Press, and A.M Qattan Foundation.

The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation believes in art as a cornerstone of cohesive, resilient communities and greater participation in civic life. In its mission to make art available to the broader public, in particular to underserved communities, the Foundation provides direct support to, and facilitates partnerships between, cultural organizations and advocates of social justice across the public and private sectors. Through grantmaking, the Foundation supports cross-disciplinary work connecting art with social justice via experimental collaborations, as well as extending cultural resources to organizations and areas of New York City in need.

The 8th Floor is an independent exhibition and event space established in 2010 by Shelley and Donald Rubin to promote artistic and cultural initiatives. Inspired by The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, the gallery is committed to broadening the access and availability of art to New York audiences. Seeking further cultural exchange, The 8th Floor explores the potential of art as an instrument for social change in the 21st century, through an annual program of innovative contemporary art exhibitions and an events program comprised of performances, salon-style discussions, and those organized by external partners.

Artis is an independent nonprofit organization that supports contemporary artists from Israel whose work addresses aesthetic, social and political questions to inspire reflection and debate. Artis’ programs facilitate opportunities for arts professionals to connect with artists from Israel; foster artist engagement with the art world outside of Israel; and contextualize art from Israel within international contemporary art discourse.