The artworks of Israeli and international Jewish artists are showcased every two years for the Jerusalem Biennale, hung in some two dozen venues throughout the city each November.
This year, however, the 6th Jerusalem Biennale was postponed to the spring due to the war that broke out after the October 7 Hamas assault on Israel in which 1,200 people were killed and more than 240 taken hostage from the Gaza border communities and towns and the Supernova desert rave.
In a show of support, many artists and curators mounted some of the scheduled Biennale exhibitions in their own cities.
Exhibitions opened this month in New York, Buenos Aires and Italy, with further exhibitions scheduled to open shortly in other locations.
“Even now, after the unspeakable pain of October 7, we have witnessed a huge outpouring of solidarity from around the world,” said Rami Ozeri, Jerusalem Biennale founder and creative director. “We will continue to nurture the ties of art and culture between Jerusalem and the world today more than ever. This heart will always keep beating.”
The central theme of the 2023 Biennale is Iron Flock, a translation of the Hebrew phrase Tzon Barzel.
It’s a theme that allows artists to explore the foundations of contemporary culture and to identify the movements, ideas, people, and moments that have become Israel and the Jewish nation’s cultural assets.
The satellite Jerusalem Biennale exhibitions include Israeli curator Udi Urman’s exhibit “Hallelujah” that showcases Israeli artists who work and live in New York and seek to explore their cultural heritage, mounted at the Laurie M. Tisch Gallery at the Marlene Meyerson JCC in Manhattan through December 17.
The Jerusalem Biennale exhibit in Italy, “Behind the Mask,” at the Jewish Museum of Casale Monferrato, is on through December 3, and is curated by Ermanno Tedeschi and Vera Pilpoul.
“Behind the Mask” was originally scheduled to open at the Umberto Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art in Jerusalem on November 9, with selected works that interpret the story of Esther, its meaning and symbolism, bringing feminist, sociological and historical perspectives to life.
In Buenos Aires, the AMIA Art Space is hosting “These Are the Names,” paying tribute to the victims of the October 7 massacre committed by Hamas.
The installation is on black walls, with the names of the 1,200 victims spray-painted to look like the plaques on the AMIA building facade that commemorate the 85 people killed in a July 18, 1994, terrorist attack there.
More than 400 people participated in the AMIA exhibit, including family members of AMIA attack victims, survivors and family members of the Israeli Embassy attack in Argentina and representatives of community organizations.