Page 34 - Studio International - August 1965
P. 34

The  Israel  National  Museum  a  Tabernacle  in  the  Wilderness

                               by  Charles  S.  Spencer

                               After  17  years  of  statehood  Israel  at  last  boasts  a   Palestine's  bloodstained  history  and  spiritual  vitality,
                               national museum. When one compares nearby countries.  modern Israel and her people are determined to be both
                               Greece  for  instance.  where  there  are  no  national  European and international. Despite nationhood. Israelis
                               museums  devoted  to  European  painting,  let  alone  have not cast off the cosmopolitan sophistication which
                               modern art.  it is no mean achievement.  In part this is  marked the Jewish Diaspora. and contributed so much
                               due to a genuine thirst for art.  Indeed.  Billy  Rose. the  to European civilisation. The minority status. and indeed
                               American  impresario  who  donated  the  nucleus  of an  persecution.  which  drove  Jews  to  an  introspective
                               impressive collection of 20th century sculpture. as well  curiosity and the need to prove themselves. is echoed in
                               as  commissioning  a  delightful  garden  setting  for  it,  the striving for viability by this tiny nation of 2½ millions.
                               gave this as the principal reason for his gift.   living on a narrow strip of mainly arid soil.
                                Just  as  great  sums  of  money  and  considerable   This psychological force has made the desert bloom.
                               ingenuity  and  energy  are  expended  on  exploring  the  has  seen  a  phenomenal  rise  in  population.  evoked  a
                               rich archaeological past of this historic land-a retro­  military superiority over numerically larger enemies.  So
                               spective  nationalism  common  to  new  nations-so  in the arts Israel seems determined to provide its popu­
                               similar  national  resources  are  freely  used  to  ensure  lation  with  amenities  which  richer.  older  countries
                               Israel's  place  as  a  modern.  progressive  country,  in  might  envy.  and  its  artists  with  outlets  and  oppor­
                               the  mainstream  of  contemporary  technological  and  tunities few contemporary societies rival. The fact that
                               artistic  achievement.                            for religious.  historical  and  social  reasons  Jews  were
                                Lying  in  the  dynamic  crossroads  between  Europe  late in emerging as significant visual artists. a fact often
                               and  Africa.  which  were  responsible  for  so  much  of  commented  upon  by  critics  and  historians.  has  also

       Plan for the new Israel National
       Museum, Jerusalem

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