Curator: Reut Ferster
The exhibition “Outstanding Employees” at the Collection Gallery of Petach Tikva Museum of Art opens concurrent with the 2011 Ministry of Culture and Sport’s Prizes in Art and Design winners’ exhibition, featured in the Museum’s main space. It explores how notions of success and fame have become an integral part of contemporary popular culture, infiltrating the art world as well. The participating artists are members of the Petach Tikva Museum’s Education Department guide staff. From this position—of artists who operate behind-the-scenes, as part of the museum’s operational apparatus, and are responsible for mediating the art on view to visitors—they delve into the concepts of stardom and success.
The exhibition challenges these elusive notions, inquiring: Who is an “outstanding artist”? Is this title an incentive for good art? Is the artist a good worker? In whose service? And more generally, what is outstanding artistic practice in the eyes of the establishment? How is it defined? To what extent is it arbitrary? Is there no better way to support artists’ work without creating divisional mechanisms. Moreover, the exhibition strives to draw attention to the hidden facet of artistic practice taking place behind-the-scenes and to present the dual vantage point of artists/guides, whose role involves guiding audience in the prize winners and other exhibitions, for which purpose they are ostensibly asked to suspend their identity as artists and assume the guide persona.
The featured works span diverse media: painting, video, installation, drawing, and sculpture. They address artists’ complex emotional and professional ambivalence toward the politics of the art world, touching upon questions of belonging and rejection, while employing self-deprecating humor, irony, and a critical approach. At the same time, some of the works discuss the yearning for success and recognition, the anxiety and disillusionment, the confrontation of exposure and criticism, and the sense of hurt accompanying them.
Presentation of “Outstanding Employees” alongside the Winners’ exhibition continues Petach Tikva Museum of Art’s persistent curatorial policy, which regards the museum as a platform prompting dynamic hermeneutic discourse and a critical approach to the latent strata in the local cultural and artistic sphere, including the art establishment (which was previously explored in such exhibitions as “The Space Between,” “Natural History Museum,” “Curators & Co.,” etc.). Featured in the Collection Gallery, the exhibition expands the “collection” concept from artworks held by the museum to the sum total of human resources and assets which form a significant part of it.
Galia Babayoff-Caduri, Dvir Cohen-Kedar, Reut Ferster, Yfat Giladi, Sivan Grosz, Aluma Raz, Michal Rubens, Lior Schur, Avshalom Suliman