Timeline of Pioneering Events and Exhibitions
David Perlov creates what might be the first work of experimental moving image art: the 33-minute experimental documentary “In Jerusalem,” which features random scenes from city life. From 1973-1983 he filmed “Diary,” his best-known work for which he used a 16mm camera to document his daily life. In 1983, “Diary” was screened on Channel 4 in the UK.
10+, an interdisciplinary art group of roughly 20 artists and occasional guests congregates around the figure of Raffi Lavie. The group was formed as an alternative art platform and gave opportunities to young artists by presenting work in visual art, poetry, film, music, and fashion in ten self-organized, thematic exhibitions and happenings between 1965-1970.
The Israeli Educational Television, a state-owned public terrestrial television network focused on producing and broadcasting programs for schoolchildren, began intermittent broadcasting.
Channel 1, a state-owned television channel, begins regular broadcasting
Late 1960s – 1973
The Third Eye was an interdisciplinary art group based in Tel Aviv and lead by Jacques Katmor . The group staged provocative exhibitions, art events, and publications, sometimes involving blunt sexual content. Their foray into feature film culminated with “A Woman’s Case” (1969), an experimental though narrative film about bohemian lifestyle and art that was heavily influenced by European modernist filmmaking and new wave cinema.
Amos Gitai begins to create experimental short 8mm films such as “Textures” (1972) that documents the view from a moving car and the “Pictures of War” trilogy (1972-1973) that was filmed during the Yom Kippur War from a rescue helicopter while Gitai was on duty. These were screened at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art by invitation of curator Edna Moshenson.
12 Hours of Conceptual Cinema, Cinematheque Tel Aviv
Organized by Raffi Lavie, this was one of the first organized screenings of video works in Israel. The printed brochure for the program had an illustrated page on each of the 16 artists, who included Avraham Eilat, Yair Garbuz, Tamar Getter ת Raffi Lavie, Michal Na’aman, Yossi Mar Haim, Ran Shechori , and Ariyeh Prosper.
Bezelel School of Art founds a video-editing studio.
Uri Bar-Zemer, a technician who worked at the Israeli television station, ran the studio and imparted technical knowledge in the field. He was followed by Micha Ullman and Motti Mizrachi. The studio included two stationary and one mobile VCRs and two cameras. There was a Sony Reel-to-Reel video tape recorder and a black-and-white ½ inch magnetic tape recorder. Editing was done manually until the school later purchased a color U-matic video cassette recording device.
In a solo show at Debel Gallery in Jerusalem, Yocheved Weinfeld made a performance inspired by mystical Jewish texts and rituals. Considered one of the first feminist works in Israel, the performance was videotaped, and the documentation was presented in Gideon Ofrat’s seminal performance exhibition, Perforamnce 76 , at the Artist’s House in Tel Aviv.
Hamidrasha School of Art at Beit Berl College, Kfar Saba opened a course on video.
Raffi Lavie was the first teacher of the course. They used Sony U-matic 3/4 inch color videotape.
At the opening to his solo show at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Raffi Lavie screened his work along with other videos by Yair Garbuz, Yehudit Levin, and Henry Shelesnyak.
In conjunction with Yair Garbuz’s solo show at the Kibbutz Gallery in Tel Aviv he premiered his film, titled like the exhibition, “If Not a Giant, Then At Least In His Garden” (1978). However, it was shown separately, not as part of the exhibition.
Art and Video, A Marathon of Video Works by Graduates of the Midrasha Art College, Beit Berel at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art included work by Miri Nishri, Yigal Shem Tov, and Philip Rantzer.
“Film as Art” in Art in the Technological Era Volume 6 (Hebrew) (Tel Aviv: Open University Press, 1981) Art in the Technological Era was a multivolume series on the history of 20 th century art used in art history courses in Israel. A small section was devoted to film.
Here and Now: Israeli Art/ Painting and Sculpture Drawing Photography Video, Israel Museum
An exhibition and catalogue of contemporary work in painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and video curated by Yigal Zalmona and Nissan Perez. The video section of this exhibition included work by Yigal Shem Tov, Miri Nishri, Buky Schwartz, and Motti Mizrahi.
Yair Garbuz Presents a Jew, a Frenchman, and an Arab: New Works at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art
At his solo exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Garbuz presented his video, “Forced to be a Painting” (1986), as part of his standing exhibition.
Meta-Sex 94: Identity, Body and Sexuality, Museum of Art, Ein Harod and Museum of Bat Yam Meta-Sex 94 was co-curated by Tami Katz-Friedman and Tamar Elor, and was one of the first exhibitions in Israel that dealt with gender. Anat Zahor and Hila Lulu Lin presented video works (and were part of the 15 participating artists in the show: Tiranit Barzilay, Anat Betzer-Shapira, Miriam Cabessa, Galit Eilat, Max Friedmann, Ayelet Hashahar Cohen, Nir Hod, Merilou Levin, Ariane Littman-Cohen, Tamara Masel, Ganit Mayslits-Kassif, Michal Shamir, and Meira Shemesh).
Thelma Yelin High School for the Arts purchases video editing suite
Perspectives on Israeli Art of the Seventies, Tel Aviv Museum of Art
This three-part exhibition included a screening at the opening of works by Benni Efrat, Ruth Eshel, Gideon Gechtman, Motti Mizrahi, Henry Shelesnyak, and Micha Ullman.
One part of the exhibition, titled The Eyes of the Nation: Visual Art in a Country Without Boundaries, curated by Ellen Ginton, included the recreation of Michael Druk’s 1977 work, Territory, Living Space (first presented at Sammlung Ludwig, Aachen, Germany).
Another part of the exhibition, titled The Boundaries of Language, curated by Moti Omer, included a video installation by Buky Schwartz as well as a television monitor with works by Tammy Getter, Benni Efrat, and Motti Mizrahi.
Uri Katzenstein at the Israeli Pavilion, Venice Biennale
In Home, Katzenstein presented 12 sculptures of figures who look like him and screened videos on the walls of actors, also made to look like Katzenstein.
Video One: Body-Screen-Digitalia at the Haifa Museum
Ilana Tenenbaum curated several exhibitions that focused on contemporary video works made by both Israeli and international artists from the 1970s to the 1900s. The shows included work made from Artattack, an experimental television station, as well works by Guy Ben Ner, Adam Berg, Michal Ben Tovim, Michael Druks, Tirtza Even, Valie EXPORT, Alona Freidberg and Limor Orenstein, Dan Graham, Sharon Horodi, Sefi Itiel, Ron Israel Kazir, Sigalit Landau, Itzik Lish, Hila Lulu Lin, Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, Gil Nadar, Bruce Nauman, Tony Oursler, Karen Russo, Doron Solomons, Ran Slavin, Bill Viola, and Dana (Nana) and Boaz Zonshine.
Yael Bartana’s Trembling Time exhibited at the Gwangju Biennale and Manifesta
Michal Rovner’s solo exhibition, The Space Between, held at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York
This large-scale exhibition included several rooms of video installations in Rovner’s signature style, featuring rows upon rows of human figures walking or moving in tandem, silently. The exhibition was the first of its kind for an Israeli artist working with video installation on such a large scale.
The following year, Rovner represented Israel at the Venice Biennial, again with her signature large-scale video installations.
Videostoria: The First Generation of Projected Images
The three-part seminal “Videostroia” exhibition series at the Haifa Museum of Art curated by Ilana Tenenbaum (catalogues with key texts available for each exhibition)
Video Zero: Communication Interferences (Chapter 1)
Included work by Vito Acconci, William Anastasi, Ant Farm, John Baldessari, Dara Birnbaum, Chris Burden, Michael Druks, Benni Efrat, Avraham Eilat, Terry Fox, Uri Katzenstein, Miri Nishri, Yoko Ono, Dov Or-Ner, Nam June Paik, Philip Rantzer, Michael Rorberger, Richard Serra, Ira Schneider, Buky Schwartz, Ran Shechori, Henry Shelesnyak, TVTV, T.R. Uthco, Steina and Woody Vasulka, William Wegman, and Jud Yalkut.
Video Zero: Towards Cinema – The First Generation of Projected Images (Chapter 2)
Stan Brakhage, Rene Claire, Maya Deren, Marcel Duchamp, Benni Efrat, Avraham Eilat, Yair Garbuz, Jacques Katmor and Amnon Salomon, Joan Jonas, Raffi Lavie, Fernand Leger, Yehudit Levin, Marie Lucier, Jonas Mekas, Michal Na’aman, Man Ray, Hans Richter, Michael Rorberger, Paul Sharits, Ran Shechori, Henry Shelesnyak, Yigal Shem Tov, Michael Snow, and Stan VanDerbeek.
Artists Without Walls used closed-circuit video projected on both sides of the separation wall in Jerusalem (precursor to Israeli Center for Digital Art’s Liminal Spaces)
The Jerusalem Cinematheque screens Paul Cronin’s Film as a Subversive Art: Amos Vogel and Cinema 16 (2004), a film profile of Amos Vogel, founder of the New York Film Festival and one of America’s most important experimental film society, Cinema 16.
Live Acts – Performing the Body (Chapter 3)
Marina Abramovic and Ulay, Vito Acconci, Adina Bar On, Joseph Beuys, Chris Burden, Michael Druks, Avraham Eilat, Valie EXPORT, Yair Garbuz, Gideon Gechtman, Gilbert & George, Moshe Gershuni, Tamar Getter, Dan Graham, Gary Hill, Joan Jonas, Kurt Kren, Gordon Matta Clark, Haim Maor, Paul McCarthy, Motti Mizrachi, Efrat Natan, Michal Na’aman, Bruce Nauman, Joshua Neustein, Dov Or-Ner, Nam June Paik, Martha Rosler, Carolee Schneemann, Buky Schwartz, Richard Serra, Micha Ullman, and Yocheved Weinfeld.
Dateline: Israel (New Photography and Video Art) at the Jewish Museum, New York and the Jewish Museum, Berlin
Organized by the Jewish Museum in New York, this exhibition comprised of 48 works by 23 artists, who present reportage, landscapes, formal portraits, snapshots, and video. Sixteen of the artists were Israeli and seven – including Rineke Dijkstra, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Wim Wenders – come from elsewhere. (For a full list of artists, see here)
Art of the State at the Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam
This exhibition featured video and photography by 16 Israeli artists: Larry Abramson, Boaz Arad, Yael Bartana, Dana Levy, Barry Frydlender, Amit Goren, Nir Hod, Gaston Zvi Ickowicz, Erez Israeli, Miki Kratsman, Sigalit Landau, Adi Nes, Guy Raz, Michal Rovner, Doron Solomons, and Pavel Wolberg.
Trembling Time: Recent Video From Israel curated by Sergio Edelsztein at the Tate Modern, London
This program included in-depth screenings of works by Yael Bartana, Guy Ben-Ner, and Roee Rosen, who also spoke about their work, as well as two group screenings of several leading artists from Israel.
The Compromised Land: Recent Photography and Video from Israel curated by Helaine Posner and Lilly Wei at the Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College, SUNY
The Compromised Land revolved around the notion of land and featured 21 artists from Israel: Boaz Arad, Yael Bartana, Joseph Dadoune, Nir Evron, Barry Frydlender, Dani Gal, Ori Gersht, Dor Guez, Oded Hirsch, Miki Kratsman, Sigalit Landau, Dana Levy, Shahar Marcus, Adi Nes, Nira Pereg, Gilad Ratman, Michael Rovner, Lior Shvil, Sharon Ya’Ari, and Rona Yefman with Tanja Schlander.
The Haifa Museum of Art
In 1995, the Haifa Museum of Art opened a video department led by curator Ilana Tenenbaum, whose tenure at the museum lasted until 2013. Tenenbaum’s seminal exhibition series, Videostoria , was shown in three parts between 2003 and 2006, and outlined a detailed history of video practices in Israel in relation to early and parallel developments abroad. Showcasing experimental works from the 1970s and 1980s, the resulting exhibition presented early video works that had long been ignored and neglected.
The Center for Contemporary Art
The Center for Contemporary Art was founded in 1998 by Sergio Edelsztein along with a handful of board members to promote time-based contemporary artistic practices in Israel. Operating from a small room at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, the CCA focused on experimental local and international video and film work. In addition to a series of video and experimental cinema screened from 1998 to 2005 at the Cinematheques throughout the country (Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Rosh Pina, and Sderot), the CCA initiated and curated VideoZone – International Video Art Biennial (2002-2008); established the Fund for Video-Art and Experimental Cinema to fund Israeli video art and experimental film; produced Artattack, a television program dedicated entirely to video artworks, broadcast from 2001 to 2004 on community television channels throughout the country; and founded the Video Archive that contains over five thousands video works from the 1960s to the present by Israeli and international artists.
The VideoZone Biennial ran biannually from 2000-2010 and was organized by the Center for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv, often in collaboration with the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, the Israeli Digital Art Lab Center in Holon, and the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. The week-long event included exhibitions, screenings, workshops, and lectures organized by local and international curators. About 150 artists from around the world would participate in each biennial, with roughly 15 international artists, curators or scholars invited to Israel.
Websites and catalogues accompanied each VideoZone biennial.
Fund for Video Art and Experimental Cinema
The Israeli Fund for Video Art and Experimental Cinema was established in 2002 with the assistance of the Ministry of Culture and Sports and managed by the Center for Contemporary Art. Until 2013, when the fund was closed by the ministry, it was the only fund in Israel dedicated to video artworks and helped produce an average of nine works annually, including some seminal pieces by Yael Bartana, Guy Ben Ner, Nir Evron, Dor Guez, Nira Pereg, Gilad Ratman, Roee Rosen, and Ruti Sela.
The Israeli Center for Digital Art, Holon
The Israeli Center for Digital Art was established by Galit Eilat in 2001 in a former school building in the suburb of Holon. The organization brought to the fore political and social issues. The center often partnered or collaborated with contemporary artists, theorists, writers, curators, and other institutions in the Middle East and the Balkan region to explore how creative communities from different peripheries of the world can connect, learn from one another, and break down nationalistic or regional barriers. To this end, video was featured extensively in the center’s exhibitions and catalogues and the center built a video archive to further develop the medium. The video archive focuses on media art from the Middle East, Europe, and the Balkans and a mobile version of the archive traveled extensively from 2007 to 2013 with guest curators at each host venue augmenting the Mobile Archive.
Seminal Books on Israeli Video Art History
Video One: Body-Screen-Digitalia, Ilana Tenenbaum
The Haifa Museum of Art, 2001
This book catalogues several exhibitions that focused on contemporary video works made by both Israeli and international artists, with a focus on linking work made in the 1990s to work made in the 1970s via the common thread of the body as a central element.
Video Zero: Communication Interferences (Volume 1), Ilana Tenenbaum
The Haifa Museum of Art, 2003
Video Zero: Towards Cinema – The First Generation of Projected Images (Volume 2), Ilana Tenenbaum
The Haifa Museum of Art, 2004
Live Acts – Performing the Body (Volume 3), Ilana Tenenbaum
The Haifa Museum of Art, 2006