January 7, 2014 - MASS MoCA - Izhar Patkin
January 7, 2014

Izhar Patkin

Izhar Patkin: The Wandering Veil, MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA, 2013.
 Photo: Gregory Cherin.

Izhar Patkin: The Wandering Veil
December 7, 2013–September 1, 2014

Artist talk: Saturday, January 18, 2pm
Izhar Patkin with David Ross

Opening: Saturday, January 18, 3pm

Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art
1040 MASS MoCA Way
North Adams, MA 01247


Grand in scale, rich with metaphor and narrative invention, Izhar Patkin: The Wandering Veil is a long-awaited survey of works by the provocative, Israeli-born, New York–based artist Izhar Patkin—now on view in MASS MoCA’s largest gallery. The exhibition focuses on Patkin’s veil paintings of the last decade.

Izhar Patkin: The Wandering Veil also includes keystone works from throughout his 30-year career, highlighting the artist’s formal and technical innovations. The exhibition includes the flamboyantly baroque Don Quijote Segunda Parte, a sculpture in the polychromatic anodized aluminum technique pioneered by the artist; his colorful Maids of Honor, a groundbreaking painting on rubber curtains; and his early encaustic wire mesh paintings.

Organized thematically rather than chronologically, The Wandering Veil presents numerous narratives that evoke love, loss, and exile. “Veiled Threats” (1999–2010)—a spectacular series of new mural-size paintings on gossamer tulle—the centerpiece of the exhibition, is inspired by the writing of the late Kashmiri-American poet Agha Shahid Ali (1949–2001), with whom Patkin collaborated during the two years before Ali’s death. These diaphanous canvases are draped from stage set-like flats, creating a cinematic effect through a maze of discrete rooms and dramatic views within MASS MoCA’s football field-sized gallery. 

The “Veils’” ghostly imagery takes viewers on a journey that draws from Patkin’s life, which intersects with significant social and geopolitical events, including the AIDS crisis and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As an expatriate navigating various changing cultural realities, Patkin is as wary of globalism as he is of nationalism. His works encapsulate the fleeting nature of our existence. For Patkin, we are, like his paintings, veils in a landscape, alternately hiding and revealing.

The Wandering Veil is on view at MASS MoCA through Monday, September 1, 2014.A reception with the artist on Saturday, January 18, fromto 5pm follows a conversation between Patkin and David Ross from to 3pm

The exhibition, co-organized by MASS MoCA, travels from the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and the Tefen Open Museum, where it premiered last year. Izhar Patkin: The Wandering Veil is supported by Lynn Holstein and Artis with additional funding provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and by the Agha Shahid Ali Literary Trust.

Izhar Patkin: The Wandering Veil is accompanied by a 300-page illustrated hardcover book, distributed by D.A.P. It includes essays by Herbert Muschamp, Sefi Rachlevsky, Shimon Adaf, Shlomzion Kenan, David Ross, Ellen Ginton, Ruthi Ofek, and Itamar Levy. The book includes poems by Agha Shahid Ali, Mahmoud Darwish, and Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

MASS MoCA is one of the world’s liveliest (and largest!) centers for making and enjoying the best new art of our time, across all media: music, art, dance, theater, film, and video. Hundreds of works of visual and performing art have been created on its factory campus during fabrication and rehearsal residencies in North Adams, making MASS MoCA among the most productive sites in the country for the creation and presentation of new art. More platform than box, MASS MoCA strives to bring to its audiences art and shared learning experiences that are fresh, engaging, and transformative. For additional information, call +1 413 662 2111 x1 or visit massmoca.org.


Izhar Patkin at MASS MoCA
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