Entries tagged with “Tel Aviv Museum of Art”.


source www.icr.ro

source www.icr.ro


We spent a nice late morning and early afternoon in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art with two documentaries in the program of the 5th edition of the EPOS International Art Film Festival and a few exhibitions, one at least worth mentioning here. All three are related to artists who lived and created in the 20th century, and whose biographies were related – in different ways – to the wars of the 20th century and and the Holocaust.


(video source GeorgeSoltiAccademia)


The first one was also the best. The documentary ‘Maestro or Mephisto – The Real Georg Solti’ directed by Andy Kings-Dabbs and co-produced by the BBC covers the biography, the career, the life and personality of the Jewish Hungarian conductor who was a pupil and disciple of Bartok and Toscanini, dared involve himself in the reconstruction of the Opera houses in Munich and Frankfurt immediately after WWII, brought to fame and close to musical perfection the Covent Garden Opera and the Chicago Philharmonic. He was a perfectionist and not an easy person to work with, some disliked his style or his involvement in Germany after the Holocaust, but he left a legacy of wonderful music, he built orchestras and opera houses which remain until today among the finest in the world, and he also encouraged young talents (I did not know about his role in the career of Angela Gheorghiu). It’s a wonderful documentary film for music lovers, I found it on youTube – enjoy!


(video source ARTIS4YOU)


Otto Dix is one of my preferred artists in the 20th century art. The Canadian documentary ‘Ten Times Dix’ directed by Jennifer Alleyn did not throw too much new light on his life and work, but at least gave us the occasion to see again some of his best works gathered in the North American exhibition which I also have seen three years ago in New York, at the Neue Gallerie.


(video source GroupeLocomotion)


Unfortunately this film does not seem to be available on youTube. See above the trailer.


source www.hauserwirth.com

source www.hauserwirth.com


Before and in the break between the movies we could visit some of the exhibitions currently open in the museum. One which is worth a visit is of the Polish-Jewish sculptor Alina Szapocznikow. Born in 1926 her life and biography was marked by the Holocaust which she survived but which left her with a frail health. To some extent her biography and her art reminds the one of Frida Kahlo sharing the same focus on the suffering, human body, physical pain, and sexuality – all blended in the case of Szapocznikow with the influences of surrealism. There are many poignant works in this exhibition, I avoid using the word ‘beautiful’ as some of them shout in a manner that does not fit with the norms of nice aesthetics, but the pain seems they radiate feels authentic.


An encounter between jazz and opera is an intriguing proposal. Jazz of course takes inspiration from all places, but opera and jazz are considered two quite distinct disciplines, with apparently few people enjoying both genres and even fewer musicians knowing, understanding, loving both and bringing them together. The opportunity of meeting one of these musicians is thus a rare event, and thanks to the Hot Jazz series at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art for creating this opportunity last night.



Mike Del Ferro has a classical formation, but switched to jazz quite early and built upon it all his career. His father was an opera singer, but for quite a while his jazz inspiration was taken from the music he met during his extensive travel around the world – Asia, Africa, South America. It’s only recently that he returned to the music that must have impregnated his childhood, and the fusion he is created is both expressive, reverent to the sources, and full of the freedom of imagination and creation that jazz allows. His style is quite original, he seems to be playing permanently with the piano, fighting and challenging the instrument, and the result is energetic in many moments, melancholic in other, catching the audience inside permanently.


(video source edovansanten)


The evening and Del Ferro were blessed by the presence of an experienced and talented group of Israeli accompanying musicians. Saxophonist Amikam Kimelman has an impressive stature on stage and good technique.  Bassist Simon Starr (who made alyah from Australia three years ago) had only two solos the whole evening, and I would like to listen to him more. The drummer last night was Eitan Itzkowitz who was skilled and expressive during his solos, discrete and supportive of the other musicians during the whole evening. The program included jazz versions of arias and orchestral preludes of several very popular operas as well as of Neapolitan canzonettas so close to the tradition of the Italian bel canto.

The last concert with this program is scheduled for tonight in Haifa and is worth attending for these who have the opportunity. Mike Del Ferro’s Web site can be seen at http://www.mikedelferro.com/.

Evan Christopher was back last week in Tel Aviv, three years after his tour here, and it was a great opportunity to see and listen to him again in the 3rd concert of the Hot Jazz season at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.


source http://www.facebook.com/pages/%D7%92%D7%90%D7%96-%D7%97%D7%9D/173951125964161?ref=ts&fref=ts


California-born Christopher set base in New Orleans, which is one of the principal sources of inspiration for his style and repertory. The second one is the French manouche style which he became familiar with during his residency in France, after hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.


(video source klikonojazz)


The evening was dedicated to the New Orleans music and to saxophonist and clarinetist Sidney Bechet. Born in New Orleans in a Creole family Bechet’s carrier had up to a point similarities to Christopher. He also had the occasion to know European music and especially French jazz, the first time in the 1920s as a member of the Revue Nègre band, that included Josephine Baker, and later in the 1950s, when he settled in France, where he died in 1959. He knew Django Reinhardt and the hot jazz guitar (manouche) style. Here is one of the pieces from Bechet’s repertory played last Friday by Christopher, Petite Fleur, as recorded by Bechet in concert at Olympia in 1954.


(video source Desdemona2002)


The only clip I could find on youTube with the image of Sidney Bechet playing live was a version of St. Louis Blues.


(video source Gypsy Jazz School)


One of the interesting aspects of the Hot Jazz series is the meeting of the foreign guests with the local musicians. it’s always interesting to see the dialog between cultures and styles taking place in the language of jazz. Christopher’s partners last Friday were the Israeli group Swing de Gitanes composed of Yaakov Hoter and Alon Sagi on guitar and the excellent contra-bass player Oren Sagi. The three young musicians make gypsy jazz, here they are playing Tchavolo Swing.


(video source Dave Kelbie)


Much of the music that Christopher does today is also manouche. Here is one of the best examples I could find on the Internet, with one of the bands with one of the groups he created in France Django a la Creole (the name says it all about the fusion of New Orleans and French jazz traditions) doing the Farewell Blues. Do I hear echoes from Hora Staccato in the introduction?


(video source MarioMaccaferriRules)


Last, you can listen to another played by Evan Christopher on Friday in the concert in Tel Aviv – Songe d’automne - here is the version played together with The Rosenberg Trio.

Twenty years ago Liliana and me visited Paris for the first time in our lives. It was a memorable trip from many respects, and one of the major highlights of that first encounter with the magic city was the exhibition Munch et la France at Musee d’Orsay, one of the most comprehensive exhibitions of Munch’s art ever, focused on the personal relation and artistic synchronicity between Munch and the major artistic movements of his time which were mostly coming from or inspired by Paris.


(video source The Munch Museum)


Without the need to compare with that exclusive show, the currently open ‘Encounters in Edvard Munch’s Space’ exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art contains a remarkable set of prints which echo many of the major paintings and themes created by Munch during his life. The show is also enriched with works by three Israeli artists (Orit Hofshi, Michal Heiman, Shai Zurim) in dialog with Munch, as well as a few films made by Munch in the late 20s in Germany, while he was experimenting with a camera.


source http://fillingspaces.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/edvard-munchs-vampire/


Vampire from 1895 focuses on the relation between the two characters hinted by shapes and the striking color of red on the (mostly) black and (some) white surface of the rest of the print.


source http://www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=75905


Jealousy dated 1896 is one in a series which combine the psychology and the social commentary which reminds us that Munch and Ibsen belong to the same space and times.


source http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/edvard-munch/the-sick-child-ii-1896


The malady and death of his sister was an event that influenced strongly Munch emotionally and inspired him into creating a long series of work dealing with loss, absence, death – here is The Sick Child from 1896.


source http://twi-ny.com/twiny.04.12.06.html


Anxiety (also from 1896) is poignant with the direct and blank stares, reflecting the deepness of the feelings of angst of the humans.


source http://www.culch.ie/2009/09/21/edvard-munch-prints-exhibition/


There is nothing that needs to be said about this print version of one of the most famous works in the history of art.


source http://theibtaurisblog.com/2012/08/06/the-graphic-works-and-prints-of-edvard-munch/


Dated 1930 Self-Portrait with a Wine Bottle seems like a glaze back to a life of creation and artistic success built on some of the most troubled feelings, events, relations that the human soul can encounter. It is also a good closing for the exhibition and my short review.


The Tel Aviv Museum of Art hosts during these months one of the most interesting exhibition of classical masters paintings that I have seen lately. All His Sons: The Bruegel Dynasty gathers works of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, of his sons Jan Bruegel the Elder and Pieter Bruegel the Younger, and of several of his grand-sons and grand-grand-sons created during a century spreading from the last decades of the 16th century and most of the 17th century. The show is put together with Villa Olmo in Como, Italy and is based on paintings from museums in Viena and Tel Aviv as well as from private collections.


source http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/bruegel_the_elder_pieter.html


Before entering the first of the three halls of the exhibition I recommend studying the genealogy of the artists in the family displayed at the entry. The founder of the dynasty was Pieter Bruegel the Elder whose famous The Babel Tower is reproduced above is present with only a few paintings in the exhibition, and a few more works from his studio or worked in cooperation with other artists. It looks like cooperative work was quite popular in the Low Countries of these times, with different painters taking responsibility of various areas of the painting according to their specific skills and interests.


source http://www.livinghistory.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=20809


The Peasant Bruegel as he was sometimes called, Pieter Bruegel the Elder specialized in genre paintings that represented the life, habits, daily dealings of commoners of his time – here is one of the best known works in this area – Children’s Games


source http://www.midnighteast.com/mag/?p=21967


Pieter Breughel the Younger was the inheritor of the style and many of the themes of his father – up to copying works of his father. This is the case of the wonderful The Birdtrap, 1605, whose lovely composition and frozen palette was originally designed by The Elder.


source http://www.midnighteast.com/mag/?p=21967


Also inspired by a work of his father Pieter Breughel the Younger’s The Outdoor Wedding Dance ca. 1610, is a more free treatment of the same theme, with a diversity of colorful characters that prove that the son was a fine master on his own, deserving all the respect.




The flowers composition is another genre which was approached by the descendents of Bruegel. Jan Brueghel the Elder and Jan Brueghel the Younger joined forces to create Still Life of Tulips and Roses in a Glass Vase Resting on a Table, dated 1620-21. Jan Brueghel the Elder collaborated also with other painters contributing with his floral compositions – among the artists he worked with the best known was Rubens.


source http://www.midnighteast.com/mag/?p=21967


Here is another collaboration of his in a different genre – the mythical allegories – Jan Brueghel the Younger and Hendrick van Balen, The Allegory of the Four Elements, ca. 1630-35


source http://www.midnighteast.com/mag/?p=21967


The latest section in the exhibition show the development of new genres. As the Netherlands became one of the world’s maritime powers illustrations of animals, plants, insects from all over the world became a popular genre. One of the remarkable exponents of the genre was Jan van Kessel the Elder, a grand-grandson of Pieter Bruegel the Elder whose A study of Butterflies and other Insects, 1671 is present in the exhibition.




I spent last night an evening with the Brubecks. The host was the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and the art film festival Epos now at its third edition. Unfortunately I knew too little about the event in the past years and this year I learned about it too late, but this is something to follow in the years to come. The evening program started with the excellent documentary In His Own Sweet Way directed by Bruce Ricker and produced by Clint Eastwood about and with Dave Brubeck and continued with a concert by Darius Brubeck, mostly dedicated to his father’s works.


(video source improvisedsolo)


The title of the film is inspired by one of the most famous pieces composed by Dave Brubeck (here is on a recording in 1964, with his quartet including preferred saxophonist partner and friend Paul Desmond). It is also a defining story line which is followed with off-voice commentaries in a rather conventional and chronological manner, but gets enriched at each stop by a rich and significant melt of interviews made by the musician during his long career with media figures like Walter Cronkite, and commentaries on the music of Brubeck by experts and artists like Yo-Yo Ma or Sting, and most than all the music itself.  Archived clips take us from the music of the debut years to the 2007 Newport festival concert, and then some music played specially for this film.



(video source sixsix)


This is the story of a fabulous life, which started in California, continued on the European second world war theaters where his talent is quickly discovered and put to the service on entertaining and raising the moral of the troops and the formal musical studies with Darius Milhaud. The 50s brought him the recognition, the formation of the famous Dave Brubeck Quartet which would accompany him for almost two decades and fame, as jazz was entering mainstream and Brubeck was the first musician in the genre who made the cover of TIME Magazine in 1954. He was also a breakthrough artist in what concerns the penetration of jazz in the popular music attention and hit parades. Take Five above (which also gave the name of the concert last night) was recorded in 1961 and made it to the top in many countries around the world.


(video source HAaatUPacific)


Brubeck was also part of the first generation of ‘Jazz Ambassadors’ program initiated in 1958 by the State Department, which took the best American jazz musicians in tours world-wide making them known one of the most original forms of art brought to the world by America. This was how American jazz music and some of its bigger musicians reached Romania in the late 60s and start of the 70s. These tours also were a great opportunity for the musicians to be exposed to the music played in other countries and continents. From that period he drew inspiration for pieces like Blue Rondo a la Turk recorded in 1962, this was fusion before the word was applied at all in the musical field.


(video source faridb2000)


Here he is at an award ceremony at the Kennedy Center in 2009, honored by some of the finest musicians that America has, including his sons. This comes by the end of one of the best music documentaries that I have seen lately, the portrait of an artist whose whole life is music, who loves music and makes people who see and listen to him love it.



The concert that followed had Darius Brubeck as main performer at piano, with the excellent British saxophonist Dave O’Higgins, and local drummer Shay Zalman and contra-bassist Tal Ronen in the band. Darius is an experimented and articulate pianist, whose luck was to be born in such a family of gifted musicians but this may also have been his handicap because of the comparison everyone immediately draws to his father. His own Web site can be accessed at http://dariusbrubeck.com/. O’Higgins is an excellent saxophonist who would deserve being invited here as separate guest in one of the international jazz series. Both played mostly from the repertoire of the Brubeck Plays Brubeck group they are part of (it is also the name of Dave’s first solo album recorded in 1956). The success and the enthusiastic response of the audience was immediate. A great jazz evening.

A Web site worth being visited is Brubeck Music dedicated to the music of Dave Brubeck and of the members of the whole clan.

As an interesting trivia for my Romanian friends, Darius spent some time in Romania in the last few years playing music and teaching, and his most record To and Fro’ was recorded in concert in May 2010 at the Hungarian Theatre, in Cluj-Napoca.