Tel Aviv Museum of Art to darken galleries in protest on Thursday

Declaring itself ‘a bastion of openness,’ the cultural institution will close exhibits and cancel tours to join countrywide demonstrations against judicial overhaul

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art will join nationwide protests against the judicial overhaul, by darkening its galleries on March 23, 2023 (Courtesy Amit Garon)
The Tel Aviv Museum of Art will join nationwide protests against the judicial overhaul, by darkening its galleries on March 23, 2023 (Courtesy Amit Garon)

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art is joining the countrywide judicial overhaul protests planned for Thursday, March 23, and will darken the halls and galleries of the museum, closing exhibits to the public and canceling planned tours and lectures.

The only exhibit that will be open to the public, for free, is the exhibit of Israeli art from the museum’s collection, “Material Imagination: Center of Gravity,” which has been open for a year.

Another 45 new works were recently added to the exhibit, with now more than 120 works by leading artists, telling the story of Israeli art.

Opening this one exhibit to the public is seen as an uncompromising stance of support for local creation, enabling discourse, even if critical, according to a statement from the museum.

“These are historic days for our country and Israeli society,” said Tania Coen-Uzzielli,, CEO of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. “I encourage everyone to take a stand, whatever it may be, and influence the future of this place. The Tel Aviv Museum of Art will continue to stand as a bastion of openness and discourse in the face of reality, however extreme it may be.”

The museum’s management issued a letter to its employees clarifying that employees who want to go out to protest on Thursday will be able to do so by taking a vacation day and employees who wish to come to work will be able to work as usual.

From the Tel Aviv Museum of Art exhibit, ‘Material Imagination: Center of Gravity,’ ‘Demonstration’ by Olga Kundina, 2020, Mixed media on canvas (Courtesy Tel Aviv Museum of Art)

The museum’s statement regarding the day of protest included defining itself as a public institution and art museum, that promotes freedom of thought and expression.

The museum also declared its unreserved commitment to the values ​​of the Declaration of Independence upon which Israeli society is founded, with equal rights for all citizens and freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture.

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