JERUSALEM ARTISTS SELL for WAR LOAN / Meir Ronnen, 1973

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JERUSALEM ARTISTS SELL for WAR LOAN / Meir Ronnen

The Jerusalem Artists House is crammed to the gunwales with some 200 works, almost all by Jerusalem artists, in its first large group show since the war, with all the proceeds going to the voluntary war loan in a novel manner: the purchaser gets from half to two-thirds of the price back in loan certificates, while the artist gets the rest, also in loan certificates. Over IL50,000 was raised the opening evening in this manner; though most of the works (and, curiously enough, the best ones) remained unsold when I saw them earlier this week.

It is quite exciting to walk through such a crammed display, but one soon realizes that many of the works (in all mediums) have been shown before; some of them are by now suffering from overexposure. The quality runs the gamut from the thoroughly professional to the shoddy and banal, with many falling somewhere in between; and instyles that range from Ludwig Blum's post-impressionism to Ilona Aron's minimal hard-edge works on plywood (one of which, No. 200, is quite well brought off). Nevertheless there is not a single new original thought in the whole show. However the last few months have not been conducive to creative activity.

The is only one notably new piece of sculpture: a red free form culminating in a cruelly contrasted edge where smoothe surface melts into congealed amputation. Cast in polyester, it was made by a young Tel Avivian, Miriam Huri, originally from Tunis and a pupil of Sternschuss.

The most professional and attractive results are those of a diverse group of etchers and silkscreen artists, like 

Michal Hanrek, Arie Kilemnik, Hava Epstein, Tsivia Weinman-Ofek, Michael Gitlin and Pinhas Cohen-Gan.

But there are also good canvases by half a dozen of the Capital's leading painters. Would-be collectors ready to combine ambition with patriotism should also have a look at a fine Louise Schatz watercolour and woodcuts by Pins and Hoffman.

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