Nevet Yitzhak began her residency in the fall of 2015. For two weeks, she explored the galleries, and researched objects in the collection and the archives. Yitzhak uses found imagery and archival materials to create large-scale animated videos. Once she is interested in a subject, she gathers as much information about it as she can find: images, video, audio recordings, records, and texts. These resources then inform and are incorporated into the work. Her videos challenge perceptions of the past, raise questions about history, conflict, and collective memory, as well as highlight the distinctions between East and West.
Archivist Shana McKenna brought Yitzhak to the galleries to look at the many cases Isabella Stewart Gardner used to house her archives. Over multiple visits to the Reading Room, she looked through materials related to the Gardners’ travels in Egypt, Syria, and the Holy Land, including, ephemera, travel diaries, travel albums, travel guides, and language guides. She visited the Museum’s state-of-the-art conservation facilities, where objects and textiles from the Raphael Room were being studied and worked on. Yitzhak was also interested in administrative history - how the Museum has been explained over the years. She listened to a 1936 recorded broadcast of Morris Carter’s, Fenway Court as a Human Document, produced for The Museum of Fine Arts’ Thursday Radio Series, and a 1978 documentary film tribute to Isabella Stewart Gardner by Richard Leacock.
The artist’s second visit came as roof repairs took the second floor galleries off view. Due to the closure, the Museum was able to present a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition, Off the Wall: Gardner and Her Masterpieces, which allowed viewers to get up close to 25 remarkable paintings from the second floor. The works were presented in the Hostetter Gallery with enhanced lighting and additional background information. Yitzhak continued her research in the archives and gave a presentation on her work and experience as an Artist-in-Residence to staff.
Nevet Yitzhak (b. 1975, Israel) creates large-scale video installations with appropriated images that re-contextualize current social and political conditions. She has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach, VA; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH; and the Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv. Her work has been included in the sixth Asian Art Biennial, Taiwan (2017), and in group shows at Mayer Museum for Islamic Art, Jerusalem; Koffler Gallery, Toronto; Shpilman Institute for Photograph, Tel Aviv; Andrea Meislin Gallery, New York; Martin Gropius Bau Museum, Berlin; and Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam. Yitzhak is the recipient of many awards, including the Artist Book Grant from the Israel National Lottery Council for the Arts in 2014; the Landau Fund Prize for Arts and Sciences in 2014; The Beatrice S. Kolliner Award for a Young Israeli Artist, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem in 2014; the Shmuel Givon Prize for New Art from the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in 2013; and the Creative Encouragement Award from the Israel Ministry of Culture and Sport in 2012.