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On entering the Janco Dada Museum in Ein Hod one is confronted by several dilapidated and peeling doors of varying sizes, painted white to disguise their origins. The eight gritty panels, together with several others on the mezzanine gallery, were extracted from kitchen cabinets by Rakefet Viner Omer who uses them as fields for a collection of scribbled contour drawings and paintings of an anorexic nude.
Viner Omer is a feminist who advocates both in art and her printed manifesto that womankind should not succumb to a male partner's demands free of charge. Her time should be spent accumulating power, not in going to work but staying at home and creating art. Filled with psychological innuendo, her catalog incorporates photographs and photo-montages, treated with smears and drips of red and pink pigment, of gay men performing explicit pornographic acts. These blunt images contrast pointless, insensitive, black and white photos culled from Viner Omer's past installations and performances.
If getting up and going out to do meaningful work is a dreadful thought, Viner Omer should reconsider her options. She would probably be a more productive, and possibly more content, citizen if she abandoned the indifferent stuff she spends her waking hours producing. Like so many of her peers, artists who have completed the Bezalel Academy's MFA program, Viner Omer's work is banal and focused on social dogma..
IN THE museum's lower level three exhibitions of varying interest include video art by Tami Ben Tor, photographs by Joseph Dadoune and small prints by the late Hungarian artist Lajos Kassak (1887-1967).
Ben Tor dons wigs, dresses up and adopts the personality of several different women who look straight into the camera and deliver monologues that are comical, bizarre and at times frantic, most notably when she relates a story about the ills of a contractor remodeling her apartment; a refined Eastern European librarian talking about male cultural dominance; and a spiffy blonde warning daughters against entering into relationships with Arab men.
Of particular interest is her sketch entitled Artist in Residence in which she talks for several minutes without saying anything of consequence, just like the art works she attempts to get off the ground but unfortunately never gets past the verbiage.
Kassak was a Hungarian self-taught artist, poet, editor and publisher who admired the Constructivists and created a number of paintings and graphic works infused with the geometric hard edge style that provided the movement with its emblems. In 1965, two years before his death, he was approached by an art collector, Karl Lazlo, to publish a book of small linoleum prints. The Panderma Mappa edition on view comprises perfectly balanced designs of rectangular and circular motifs that create a series of unruffled black and white patterns. Installed in the archives of the Janco Dada Museum, this work and others by Kassak are being researched by curator Galit Ben-Ami.
Extreme photographs, a readymade and a single chair-instrument by Dadoune, all composed in shades of black, seethe with erotic overtones born of a damaged, decadent society. Photographs of a diabolical fencing mask, oozing tar creates a barrier beyond which the viewer is not permitted to penetrate, is accompanied by a self-portrait in which Dadoune is wrapped in a cocoon of a draped black leather coat and a black-knit ski-cum-terrorist mask, invisible except for a drooping tongue licking sadistically at the leather.
But it is the chair, or enlarged dog-muzzle as described in the exhibition's accompanying text, that sets the tone. Hanging from the ceiling and produced in a padded black material enclosed in a metal frame, the object telegraphs a message of pain and perversity.
Thousands of thumb tacks are employed by Revital Lasik to create a set of quasi-Pop art relief images: shoes, women's lingerie, a belt, a hat and more. They shimmer and shine on two walls of the museum but go no further. Artists like Lasik skim the surface of magic, seeking an audience that can't tell the difference between skill and sleight-of-hand. (Janco Dada Museum, Ein Hod). All above exhibitions till September 25.
THE OCTOGENARIAN Israeli painter, Zvi Tadmor (b. 1923, Poland) is showing a representative collection of oils, acrylics and watercolors in a retrospective that spans more than 50 years.
A product of the Stematsky and Streichman Studio School of the late 1940s, Tadmor became a member of New Horizons, only to be disillusioned early on by Zaritsky's insistence on maintaining a lyrical style based on international abstraction. In 1950, together with New Horizons rejectionist painters (Eliyahu Gat, Claire Yaniv, Ephraim Lifshitz and Dan Kedar), Tadmor became a founding member of the Group of Ten, an enthusiastic assembly of painters dedicated to figurative subject matter nurtured in the Israeli landscape and its people.
Tadmor's painterly signature is enhanced by his extraordinary brushing. At times ferocious, at others quite melancholy, he imbues each work with singular focus, from the cacophonous arrangement of multi-color junkyard scenes and the ephemeral washes of still-life watercolors to the romantic vignettes of the Jaffa port under a threatening violet sky. He does not deal in metaphors, allegories or narrative historical subjects, but in solid easel painting comprised of good drawing, shuffled planes and a plethora of linear over-painting.
Tadmor has carried the banner for figurative art throughout his career, but, nevertheless, will often insert non-objective passages within the structural design of his compositions. Although Tadmor's paintings are frequently reduced to illustrative distortions, they still project a feeling for place and humankind, often speckled with an emotional measure spanning sadness to joyfulness. (Meirov Mishkan L'Omanut, 32 Hartsfeld, Holon). Till September 25.