Israeli Artist Shuts Venice Biennale Exhibit, Calls for Cease-Fire in Gaza

Since February thousands of pro-Palestinian activists have tried in vain to get the Venice Biennale, one of the world’s most prestigious international art exhibitions, to ban Israel over its conduct of the war in Gaza.

But on Tuesday, when the Biennale’s international pavilions open for a media preview, the doors to the Israel pavilion will nonetheless remain locked, at the behest of the artist and curators representing Israel.

“The artist and curators of the Israeli pavilion will open the exhibition when a cease-fire and hostage release agreement is reached,” reads a sign the Israeli team said it planned to tape to the door of the pavilion.

“I hate it,” Ruth Patir, the artist chosen to represent Israel, said in an interview about her decision not to open the exhibit she has been working on, “but I think it’s important.”

She said that while the Biennale, which opens to the public on Saturday, is a huge opportunity for a young artist like herself, that the situation in Gaza was “so much bigger than me,” and she felt that closing the pavilion was the only action she could take.

Patir’s work is installed inside the pavilion, but visitors will not be able to enter.Credit…Matteo de Mayda for The New York Times
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