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Contemporary ArtFilm & VideoPhotography

Dateline 09—Adi Nes: Biblical Stories and Yael Bartana: Short Memory

Jan 30, 2009–Mar 17, 2009

Dateline 09 inaugurates a new series of exhibitions that provide a forum for The Museum to respond to the latest developments in today's rapidly changing world, featuring presentations of work by two of today's leading artists—photographer Adi Nes and video artist Yael Bartana.

about the exhibition

Dateline 09 encompasses a range of projects that reflect trends and directions in art that are relevant to The Museum's mission of providing new perspectives on Jewish culture, history, art, and ideas. Audiences will be able to examine, in depth, the work of two significant international artists: Yael Bartana, who works in film and video, and Adi Nes, who works in photography. While each of the artists has created a distinct and unique body of work, both Bartana's videos and Nes's photographs are rich with multilayered narratives that can be interpreted, understood, and appreciated in different ways. In exploring Dateline 09, we encourage you to participate in the dialogue that these works inspire.

Adi Nes: Biblical Stories

Adi Nes's Biblical Stories is a modern-day retelling of familiar stories from the Hebrew Bible. Using cinematic techniques and referencing iconic works in the history of painting and photography, Nes re-imagines biblical scenes in contemporary settings. He chooses to tell the less familiar tales in the lives of biblical heroes, showing them in moments of despair—specifically, when they have all found themselves without a home. Nes's cast of biblical characters appear in the guise of the urban homeless, and their burdens weigh heavily on them. Surrounded as they are by decaying city streets, there is sadness in their eyes and loneliness in their body language. Reflecting on marginalization, racism, and homelessness, Nes's rigorously staged photographs add new layers of complex social commentary to our understanding of these stories.

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Yael Bartana: Short Memory

Yael Bartana is particularly interested in national identity and how social rituals forge that identity. Often, these rituals stand in for deeper and more complicated issues in Israeli culture-militarization and resistance, nationalism and individual identity, deconstruction and reconstruction. In A Declaration, Wild Seeds, and Summer Camp, Bartana questions notions of Israeli nationalism, cleverly using Zionist-inspired cultural symbolism to do so. Mary Koszmary, her most recent film on view, examines Poland's complicated relationship with its Jews. Whether filming staged events or documenting real ones, Bartana constructs concise narratives with emotional intensity.

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About ADI Nes

Adi Nes (b. 1966) was born and raised in Kiryat Gat, Israel, to Jewish parents of Kurdish and Iranian descent, and studied photography at Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. He currently lives and works in Tel Aviv. Drawing from the layers of his personal identity-male, Israeli, gay, Sephardic, Jewish-Nes's photographic series explore contemporary issues in Israeli society. He has participated in numerous group and one-person exhibitions since 1993, and his work is in the collections of the Israel Museum, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Jewish Museum (New York), the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

about Yael Bartana

Yael Bartana (b. 1970, Afula, Israel) lives and works in Amsterdam and Tel Aviv. Over the past decade, Bartana has created an impressive body of work in video and film investigating society and politics. Her films, many of them linear narratives, rely on footage of both real events and dramatizations that she initiates. Bartana's work often reflects on contemporary Israel and the role of Zionism in the 21st century. She has had numerous solo exhibitions and has participated in group exhibitions throughout Europe and Israel, including Documenta 12 Kassel, Germany, Bienal de Sao Paulo, Brasil, and the 9th Istanbul Biennial, Turkey. She is a graduate of Bezalel Academy of Art and Design and the School of the Visual Arts in New York. Her work is in the collections of the Tate Modern, London, and the Jewish Museum, New York. 


Dateline 09 is organized by the Contemporary Jewish Museum.Yael Bartana was organized by P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, A Museum of Modern Art Affiliate.

Dateline 09 has been generously supported by the Israel Center of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties; Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest; and The Consulate General of the Netherlands.

Image Credit

Header image: Yael Bartana, Kings of the Hill, 2003, 7:30 minutes. Courtesy of Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam and Sommer Gallery, Tel Aviv.