Mordechai (Moti) Omer

The Jewish Chronicle - - Obituaries -

THE DI­REC­TOR and chief cu­ra­tor of the Tel Aviv Mu­seum of Art, Pro­fes­sor Moti Omer was a unique char­ac­ter who con­trib­uted a life of ser­vice to mu­seum and cul­tural life in Is­rael. He has been de­scribed by the Ben Uri Art So­ci­ety, of which he was an in­ter­na­tional ad­vi­sory board mem­ber, as a scholar of great dis­tinc­tion, an imag­i­na­tive cu­ra­tor, a highly efficient chief ex­ec­u­tive and a suc­cess­ful am­bas­sador, not just for his mu­seum but for the rep­u­ta­tion of Is­raeli art and artists.

His schol­ar­ship was renowned in aca­demic cir­cles, but his mod­esty lim­ited the range of his ex­per­tise be­ing cel­e­brated out­side Is­raeli art. How­ever, his books on the Bri­tish artist Turner, and his cu­ra­tor­ship of the ex­hi­bi­tion “J.M.W. Turner and the Ro­man­tic Vi­sion of the Holy Land and the Bi­ble” in Bos­ton in 1996, plus his ar­ti­cles pub­lished in the Burling­ton Mag­a­zine, Stu­dio In­ter­na­tional and Cam­bridge Crit­i­cisms tes­tify to his breadth of in­ter­est and knowl­edge.

Moti’s cu­ra­to­rial ca­reer was ex­tra­or­di­nary in its in­ter­na­tional reach. It in­cluded some of world’s lead­ing museums, from New York’s Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art, Lon­don’s Vic­to­ria and Al­bert Mu­seum, Ox­ford’s Ash­molean, to the Bavar­ian State Paint­ing Col­lec­tions in Mu­nich. In Is­rael, his cu­ra­tor- ship spanned the Haim At­tar Mu­seum of Art in Ein Hod, The Haifa Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art, The Mu­seum of Is­raeli Art and the Is­rael Mu­seum through­out the 1980s. He was ap­pointed Is­rael’s Com­mis­sioner at the Bi­en­nial of Young Artists in 1983 in Paris and again at São Paulo in 1987 and 1989.

In 1974 he founded the Tel Aviv Univer­sity Art Gallery and in 1995 he was ap­pointed Di­rec­tor of the Tel Aviv Mu­seum of Art, known as the city’s cul­tural hub. Un­der his watch the art mu­seum is said to have es­tab­lished an in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion for ex­cel­lence and di­ver­sity of pro­gram­ming. Through his vi­sion and with a decade of plan­ning, a new wing for Is­raeli Art is sched­uled to open in a few months.

In 2003 Moti joined Ben Uri’s fledg­ing In­ter­na­tional ad­vi­sory board where he was de­scribed as “a source of con­stant ad­vice and en­gage­ment”. In a tribute to him, the Ben Uri says: “It was a priv­i­lege to work so closely with him and cu­ra­tor Dr Bat­sheva Gold­man Ida on their 2009 ex­hi­bi­tion ‘Frag­mented Mir­ror: Re­con­struct­ing the Ex­hi­bi­tion of Jewish Artists, Ber­lin 1907’.”

The Ben Uri said that the Tel Aviv Mu­seum of Art’s ex­tra­or­di­nary col­lec­tion of Is­raeli and In­ter­na­tional art, its blend of ex­hi­bi­tions, its ded­i­ca­tion to schol­ar­ship and its abil­ity to en­gage with the younger gen­er­a­tion of artists, cu­ra­tors and stu­dents.

Moti Omer: cu­ra­tor of dis­tinc­tion

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