Tel Aviv Museum of Art's Chief Curator Unexpectedly Resigns

Doron Rabina abruptly ends four-year term, citing a desire to return to the studio; possible replacements include Mira Lapidot or Hadas Maor

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Tel Aviv Museum of Art Chief Curator Doron Rabina.
Tel Aviv Museum of Art Chief Curator Doron Rabina.Credit: Daniel Tchetchik

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art announced Monday that its chief curator, Doron Rabina, is resigning after a four-year tenure.

Rabina was chosen in early 2017 after then-Director Suzanne Landau decided to separate the positions of director and chief curator. Rabina’s unexpected decision was apparently finalized in recent days and confirmed by the museum Monday. Rabina told the staff he’s interested in returning to his studio and working as an artist once again.

In a statement, the museum wrote: “Rabina informed us of his desire to leave his position as chief curator of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art after four years on the job, and after completing the planning of the 2021 exhibition program. He will continue to cooperate with the museum and will curate large-scale exhibitions planned for the coming years, on which he is working at present.”

During his time in charge, Rabina curated the following exhibitions at the museum: “Current Affairs,” in the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art (2017); “Recovery Plan: Join or Die” (2018), in the Agnes and Beny Steinmetz Wing for Architecture and Design; and “Jeff Koons, Absolute Value / From the Collection of Marie and Jose Mugrabi” from earlier this year, which was badly hit by coronavirus restrictions.

Rabina explained in the statement that “the chief curator of the Tel Aviv Museum, as a position separate from the director, is a new, four-year-old position, which is subject to changing interpretations and constant evolution. Throughout my years as curator, I have worked from the logic of artistic activity and a commitment to its values.

“I came to the museum not as someone who looks only at art from the outside, but also as someone who is planted within artistic activity itself. In the public arena, there’s often the tendency to favor long tenures – sometimes for decades. I believe the correct pace is quicker than that. That’s what I’ve always done in my previous jobs: focused sorties outside my studio, for which the proper amount of time is measured by a feeling of significance and the ability to improve and influence.”

Visitors attending the Jeff Koons exhibition curated by Doron Rabina, after the Tel Aviv Museum of Art belatedly reopened, December 1, 2020.Credit: Moti Milrod

Museum Director Tania Coen-Uzzielli said she “accepted Doron’s decision with regret, and I would like to thank him for his professional cooperation and his significant contribution to the museum’s success in recent years.

“Rabina brought with him a unique, contemporary and original voice,” she added, “and I hope he will continue to contribute with his many talents to the museum in the coming years.”

The museum announced that it will be appointing a committee soon to commence its search for a new chief curator. Many in the art world believe Rabina’s successor may be Mira Lapidot, who until this year was chief curator of the fine arts wing at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Another possible contender is contemporary art curator Hadas Maor, who was also a candidate back in 2016.