Art exhibits should make patrons come in with questions and leave feeling like they discovered something. The USC Hillel Art Gallery’s Jerusalem Biennale has successfully done just that. The theme of the exhibit, “7,567 Miles,” is “what it means to be Jewish in L.A. in the 21st century,” according to the press release. Many of the art pieces exhibited, including works of mixed media, photography and paintings, subtly addresses oppression of marginalized groups.
According to USC Hillel’s press release, “7567 Miles” looks to explore “the physical, spiritual, and cultural connections between Los Angeles and Jerusalem.” The objective of the exhibition was to close the 7,567 miles of separation between the Jerusalem and the city, home to the United States’ second largest Jewish population. Rachel Keller, a first-year graduate student pursuing a master’s in curatorial studies and the Hillel Gallery director, said she was proud of the positive response that the artwork was receiving from patrons. According to Keller, USC Hillel is one of three hosts of the biennale. The purpose of the gallery was to create a conversation between L.A. and Jerusalem, as all artists are part of the Jewish Artists Initiative, an organization based in L.A.
When patrons walk into the exhibit, they are first confronted with one of the more fascinating contemporary culture pieces, “Facebook Series.” It’s a three-piece, colorful acrylic on mounted panel painting by Yaron Dotan. Each painting shows a phone-screen view of three different people’s Facebook profiles. Everything about each painting is different, from their varying battery lives, to their schools and their cover photos. Dotan’s “Facebook Series” has received popular reception from the public.
“I’m originally a portrait artist, but I decided to play around with a mixture of pop and contemporary art,” Dotan said. “Each painting tells a story about a person but in a modern way that this generation can easily respond to, just like how a simple painting from 200 years ago can tell a story. There is sense of identity to each painting, which is what I was aiming for.”
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