Art Academy Names Expert on Israeli, Palestinian Art to Senior Position

Dr. Tal Ben Zvi was appointed on Monday to replace Prof. Yaara Bar-On. She will begin her position in October.

A cultural researcher and curator who currently heads the School of Arts at Seminar Hakibbutzim Teachers College in Tel Aviv has been named the new vice president of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design.

Dr. Tal Ben Zvi was appointed on Monday to replace Prof. Yaara Bar-On. She will begin her position in October.

"It is important to me to say that [Bezalel] is not a closed system," Ben Zvi told Haaretz. "It is a complex institution, but many changes are made because of its openness, and I have the sense that I have something with which to work."

Ben Zvi said she would like to lead the college to academic excellence, and primarily, "to understand the changes that the various fields taught at Bezalel are undergoing [and] to understand the meaning of these changes. This is not the Bezalel of 100 years ago, and I feel that I belong to it."

The new vice president's current field of research is contemporary art in the multicultural Israeli port cities of Haifa and Acre, a continuation of her post-doctoral work on contemporary art in Jaffa, which she did at Hebrew University's Truman Institute of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

A winner of the Ministry of Culture and Sports' Curator's Prize, she is, the judges noted in their decision, "known for the past decade as an outstanding curator and researcher of Israeli and Palestinian art. The disciplines with which she is engaged are anchored in those strata of society or populations that have not taken a central place in hegemonic Israeli art."

Ben Zvi has worked as an independent curator, organizing many group and individual shows, including that of local Palestinian art, such as the Men in the Sun exhibit produced in cooperation with Hanna Farah at the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art in 2009, and the Abed Abdi retrospective held in the Umm al-Fahm Art Gallery. She has also managed the Heinrich Boll Foundation Gallery in Tel Aviv and the Hagar Art Gallery in Jaffa.

Ben Zvi holds a B.A. in Art History and Fine Arts from Haifa University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Tel Aviv University School of the Arts. She completed the Criticism and Curatorship program at the Camera Obscura School of Art in Tel Aviv, and participates in research groups at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem.

Dr. Tal Ben Zvi