Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem, Israel

Posted on March 14, 2013 by

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Thank you to Jassie in Jerusalem for this interesting look round the Museum on the Seam, a socio-political contemporary art museum. 13 The Museum on the Seam is on the border between East and West Jerusalem. It was built in 1932 as a family home, but starting in 1948 it served as an army outpost on the border between Israel and Jordan. Until 1967, it was in the middle of the fighting and they’ve left the front of the building as it was during the wars. Huge pieces are blown off and the sniper windows inside (pic below right) are really creepy. For many years after the wars, the museum showed exhibits focused on tolerance, coexistence, and the reunification of Jerusalem.

Now the socio-political museum hosts all types of exhibits “in order to raise controversial social issues for public discussion.” The intense exhibit we saw, called “Flesh & Blood,” included artists from all over the world, even a few from the US. The focus was to scrutinize the relationship between mankind and animals. 21

9-better Haran Mendel’s collage (below left) definitely looked like something we could hang in our place. It explored society’s prevalent anthropomorphic attitude – particularly of people to their pets.

(Below right) Not sure who or what to attribute to this giant tongue, but I love this pic of it licking Ross. I don’t think he thought about it, but his Morrissey shirt was a good choice to wear to this exhibit as Moz is holding the first vegetarian Staples Center show soon. (He convinced the venue to close down McDonald’s for the concert and asked all the other vendors to refrain from selling any meat.) 41

6 Many of the pieces were really graphic and I’ve spared you those pictures. (You’re welcome, mom!) They even warned us to read the description before entering one of the video installations (where a woman disemboweled a dead cow and then crawled inside it. Gnarly! Of course we watched it.)

One of the more beautiful pieces is a ceramic bulls head covered in a red crochet knit. This picture doesn’t do it justice! Created by Joana Vasconcelos, an extremely talented Portuguese artist, it’s meant to get the observer to think about bull fighting and the beauty and spectacle of the event as well as the cruelty and death.

By far, the weirdest piece (definitely weirder than the tongue) was the fallen angel with de-feathered wings. Again, the picture doesn’t do the work justice – it is so incredibly life-like that I was sure it was a person that was going to get up and scare us. Ross and I were the only two people in the top floor of the museum – completely alone with it -and I was getting the heebie-jeebies! Created by two Chinese artists, Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, this hyperrealistic life-size sculpture suggests, I think, that the fall of man has to do with his treatment of animals (since his wings resemble chicken wings).51

8 I’m a big fan of contemporary art museums and even though I had some criticisms of this exhibit (particularly that it could have done more to examine the complexities of man/animal relationship and the dependency of man on animal), but overall, I thought it was a provocative exhibit. I was happy to have a minute on the roof of the museum to get some air and take in the view before we headed back to our neighborhood to battle everyone frantically preparing for Shabbat (and Purim)!
Location: L 4 Chel Handasa st, P.O.B. 1649, Jerusalem 91016
Entry Fee: Adult 30 NIS

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