The Tel Aviv Museum of Art has quite a good collection. I cannot say I was stunned by it though. No. Most art museums of any big European city have better collections. In fact, one would expect much more from the primary art hub of Israel. Couldn’t the diaspora contribute more to the museum? Couldn’t the State of Israel, far from being the poorest country in the world, buy more?
The museum does have Edouard Manet, Eugene Delacroix and a lot of Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso. But what it has of those great artists is mediocre and probably constitute the sorry remains, unwanted by the world’s great museums and shrewd private collectors. The quality of Manet’s piece is particularly horrifying (was the artist drunk at the moment of creating it? unconscious? dead?).
I understand though how difficult it must be to build up a good collection by a museum of a town, which is 100 years old, in a country, which is 60 years old. This museum is in no position to compete with art galleries of Europe or the States. What it does now is focusing on modern art, collaborating with Western museums, and promoting talented Israeli artists. This is a good strategy.
The exhibition, which I liked very much, is a photography exhibition by Lena Liv, a native of St Petersburg, entitled ‘Cathedrals for the Masses’. She took pictures of Moscow’s metro stations. Liv’s pictures are amazing. I am afraid that only one collage is available online. I am putting it into the post. Imagine that she had more than a dozen of such collages, all taken using different photography techniques and featuring Muscovites of various social classes and in the most bizarre poses.