Art and workers rights in Israel - Exhibition 2006
"Work Relations cannot work under a constant threat"
Eli Ohana, Israeli Soccer Superstar of the 1980s, resigns from coaching Beitar Jerusalem Soccer Club after Oligarch Arkady Gaidamak buys the team. Israeli TV Channel 1, Sep. 10th, 2005
"Who said ’When artists dream, they dream of money’?"
Louisa Kitteridge in Six Degrees of Separation
Fred Schepisi, after the play by John Guare. MGM, 1993
"If the people have no sugar, let them eat jam"
Israeli Parliament Member of Kadima party, Ruhama Avraham, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, speaking about the Palestinians during a visit to Erez Passage in Gaza, Feb. 20th 2006
The word Doron comes from ancient Greek, it means in Hebrew a Gift. Doron is also the first name of CEO & Chairperson of the board of directors of a big human resources contractor. This company provides health care, private care services and security services. The company won the tender for the provision of Vocational Guidance Services, operating in regional scale, the Israeli version of the US Wisconsin Plan. He is also one of Israel's most prominent art collectors, with an Israeli and International contemporary art collection.
The title Doron therefore refers not only to the object of art as a gift, with private and social import following Marcel Mauss' Essai sur le don, but more specifically to Mr. Doron’s main field of business – which is lowering the pay rate for labor in Israel. From the Borgas, the Medicis, Andrew Carnegie, Sir Henry Tate, Charles Saatchi and Friedrich Christian Flick to Israel’s own businessmen such as Sami Ofer, who made his fortune from the wave of privatization in the 1990s and after whom the Tel Aviv Museum of Art was supposed to be named, many of the most prominent art patrons throughout history purchased their good name with the fine art they acquired.
Due to prevailing corruption in today's Israeli politics, it is already common knowledge that a journalist covering the political arena should have a background in Law studies. Likewise, an artist should know his economics. Since the 1990s and with President Bush Senior’s New World Order, Shimon Peres’ New Middle East and the ongoing Peace Process, Israel has gone through a thorough process of privatization and outsourcing of labor. This process had a strong impact on working men and women. More and more Israeli workers are getting Nickel and Dimed, and are not getting by in Israel. The exhibition Doron moves to reinvigorate the debate on workers rights in Israel - fundamentally, this discourse strongly relies on concepts of charity.
While the Israeli economy has gone through a radical structural change, social struggles continued to center around occasional cutbacks, without creating an oppositional discourse. Doron applies the rhetoric of art history into the worker’s rights discourse. An artist working in her/his studio knows s/he has the right to imagine, exhibit, say, show, and think anything s/he wants. As an artist s/he inherited these rights from generations of artists before her/him – her/his predecessors were scorned, murdered, burnt alive, lost their sanity, and tortured, so that in the realm of art, an artist will be able to show anything s/he has on her/his mind. Therefore, being part of this history, an artist cannot allow her/himself to waive her/his right over the piece. The artist has the final authority over her/his work - that is her/his responsibility. This rhetoric register can be applied onto workers rights - saying that workers nowadays do not have the right to waive the accomplishments gained by thousands of protesters who were shot on the streets of Chicago, Dresden, San Petersburg or Turin in the 19th Century. These are not our rights to give away – women and men have died to get them, and we only have a lease on these rights. The rights that were fought for in Salvador in 1835, in Gettysburg in 1863, in Paris in 1871 and in Berlin in 1919 were given to us as custody – we inherited them. Our role is to guard them and elaborate them for future generations – pension, social security, medical insurance, free education, fair pay, accessibility, the right to organize, equality of opportunities and equality by the law, taxes and involvement in government, specially state own industries and services. We have no right to give them away.
Matan Daube, Gal Deren, David Ginton, Mijal Grinberg, Noa Gross, Keren Gueller, Rafet Hatab and Dani Ben Simhon, Nimrod Kamer, Ayelet Kestler, Ari Libsker & Roy Chicky Arad, Nir Nader and Sharon Horodi, Adi Nes, Doron Rabina, Barak Ravitz, Gil Shani, Maayan Strauss, Noa Yaari
Roy Chicky Arad Poet, Artist and Musician. Co-editor of Maayan –Journal of Poetry, Prose, Arts and Ideas.
Joshua Simon Poet and Filmmaker. Co-editor of Maayan – Journal of Poetry, Prose, Arts and Ideas. Editor-in-Chief of Maarvon – New Film Magazine
Maayan Strauss Artist. Her works are shown these days at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem
PR: Maayan Amir
Designer: Gili Barnea
Doron is an initiative of Maayan – Journal of Poetry, Prose, Arts and Ideas. Maayan copies cost 17 NIS (3.7 USD, 3 EU), the rate of minimum wage per one hour of work in Israel.
This exhibition is a continuation of Sharon (Curator: Joshua Simon, 2004. Website), which juxtaposed Israeli PM Ariel Sharon, and the Sharon region, the most affluent region in Israel, foreseeing and revealing the logic behind the formation of Kadima party, an a-political party of the financial elite, which won the 2006 elections in Israel.
Minshar Gallery, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, May-June 2006
Invitation (Noa Yaari)