web analytics
August 29, 2015 / 14 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Home » Sections » Arts »

Equus Opportunity

Moshe Givati

Moshe Givati

Now, only months after the artist’s death, is no time to be coy. Moshe Givati’s work is a revelation: dynamic, throbbing with life, pulsating with meaning. The exhibition “Equus Ambiguity – The Emergence of Maturity,” is up for only a few more days but I urge you to hurry to the Jadite Gallery and familiarize yourself with this under-recognized artist.

Givati was born in 1934 in Hadera to Romanian speaking parents months after his father’s death—a traumatic event that his mother never talked to him about and about which he died knowing almost nothing. Although Givati was associated with several Israeli, European and American artistic movements such as New Horizons and its successor, Tazpit, in Israel and associated with Lyrical Abstract painters in France, Givati resisted such categorization and was even hostile to names and labels. To that end, he did not title his works or publicly interpret them, claiming in an interview, “If art lovers find ideas in the paintings, they are experiencing their own discovery. My touch on the canvas is my story.” Promotional material, as well as the exhibition catalogue from his 2006 retrospective in Tel Aviv note Givati’s insecurity and desire for acceptance. I suspect, however, that Givati, a lifetime manic-depressive, craved recognition more than acceptance and by this I mean recognition in the true sense—instead of accolades, Givati wanted people to recognize and validate the journey laid bare on his diptychs.

Givati provided clues. His final exhibit is named for the 1974 play in which a psychotic boy blinds six horses in a work that explores themes of religion, sacrifice and mental illness—themes Givati was intimately acquainted with. He was not, however, that boy. In the second half of the exhibition’s title, Givati claimed a banner, an “emergence” of maturity. A term that often evokes equanimity and serenity, maturity is just as much a meditation on loss. Growing into an identity involves peeling and discarding other identities. Only once you reach maturity do you realize that you cannot be a fireman, a world leader and an artist.

Givati’s career was long and uneven. While at times Givati associated with collectives—he spent many of his early years on a Kibbutz—he never felt fully integrated into collectives, whether an artistic, religious or a nationalistic movement. Givati was both celebrated as an up and coming artist and fell into homelessness. He associated for a time with the Lubavitch community in Crown Heights and even met with the Lubavitcher Rebbe a few times. Givati spent years living outside of Israel, feeling at home nowhere but always with a drive to create, to search, to explore. His was a journey, an odyssey even, and despite reaching maturity, Givati was not able to shake off the pathos of Equus, the torture of ambiguity. Givati was like the man who longs for the security of belonging to a group but is unable to cling to a group to which he feels anything less than complete solidarity for. Givati was a journeyman and, while still at the kibbutz in name, left for long periods of time to travel in Europe—Rome, Toledo and especially Paris. In 1974, Givati moved to New York City, lived in the Chelsea Hotel—famous for its artist residents at the time, and operated a screen-printing workshop.

In the beautifully displayed exhibition, Givati’s history is all but transcribed on the walls. As the title informs, the theme is Equus—based on the 1973 play by Peter Schaffer, and almost every work in the exhibit features horses, usually lightly rendered on a deeply saturated and colored canvas. Givati’s background in screen-printing, for example, is apparent in a delicately rendered textile of the image of a horse, or more precisely, a model of a horse. In the painting, the horse seems more like a mannequin, there to hold a textile of some sort that reads like a Native American blanket. Underneath the blanket is another black and white covering on the horse. It could be a tallit. Or it could be a shroud.

We the viewers, the reviewers, the curators and the collectors are left to sort through the material remains of that process. We are left to draw comparisons between Givati and New York artists, especially Givati’s fellow residents at the Chelsea Hotel of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s: Larry Rivers, whose influence was acknowledged by Givati and other artists who played with the role of narrative in art such as Jean Michel Basquiat, Donald Baechler and even Francis Bacon who used triptychs the way Givati uses diptychs, investigating the fragmentations, the dichotomies of the soul while referencing religious imagery. Givati recalls in his memoirs that when he visited in the early sixties, he “found London inundated with Francis Bacon’s works. Nouvelle figuration had already infiltrated the world of abstract, and later influenced my work as well, which in essence was not lyrical abstract at all, as it was often described.”1  It wouldn’t be the only time that Givati borrowed imagery from a religion that was not his own.

About the Author: Shoshana Batya Greenwald recently received a master's degree in decorative arts, material culture and design history from Bard Graduate Center. She is the collections manager at Kleinman Family Holocaust Educational Center (KFHEC) and a freelance writer.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Equus Opportunity”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Swiss Amb. to Iran Giulo Haas presents his credentials to Iranian Pres. Rouhani
‘US and Iranian Cartoon Doves’ Shown Defecating on Bibi by Swiss Amb to Iran
Latest Sections Stories
book-Lord-Get-Me-High

Even when our prayers are ignored and troubles confront us, Rabbi Shoff teaches that it is the same God who sent the difficulties as who answered our prayers before.

Schonfeld-logo1

I’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions regarding bullies, friendship and learning disabilities.

book-Avi's-Choice

His parents make it clear that they feel the right thing is for Avi to visit his grandfather, but they leave it up to him.

There is a rich Jewish history in this part of the world. Now the hidden customs are being revealed, as many seek to reconnect with their roots.

There are times when a psychiatrist will over-medicate, which is why it’s important to find a psychiatrist whom you trust and feel comfortable with.

On November 22, 1963, Abraham Zapruder created one of the most famous, and valuable, pieces of film and became forever linked with one of the greatest American national tragedies when he stood with his camera on an elevated concrete abutment as President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Exhibited here is […]

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength – carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” – Corrie ten Boom I’ve been thinking a lot about worrying. Anxiety is an issue close to my heart – […]

Don’t be afraid to try something different.

Upon meeting the Zionist delegation, General Wu, a recent convert to Christianity, said, “You are my spiritual brothers.

With the assistance of Mr. Tress, Private Moskowitz tried tirelessly to become an army chaplain.

Dr. Yael Respler is taking a well-deserved vacation this week and asked Eilon Even-Esh to share some thoughts with her readers in her stead.

More Articles from Shoshana Batya Greenwald
A still from film "Memory After Belsen"

The most uplifting aspect of the film was the footage from the displaced persons camps.

Undated photo of Rabbi Avigdor, courtesy of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford.

People often ask me why do we need another Holocaust center? The story of Isaac Avigdor is the answer.

This time of year, there is little pleasure greater than cozying up with a good book. The problem is, of course, that there is a lot to do.

As professions go, an international children’s rights advocate is probably not listed anywhere as a low stress job. Fighting on behalf of children in places as far off as Sudan, Yvette Garfield took their plight to heart and came up with – a cookbook. Handstand Kids, Garfield’s company, was established in 2007 to connect children in a global community. In her words, “I had done a lot of traveling and wanted to introduce kids to the world and food seemed the best way to do it.”

On my third visit to the annual New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show, I did not take any pictures.

Work-life balance has been in the media a lot lately. Anne-Marie Slaughter, a Princeton professor who served as the first female Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department, wrote a groundbreaking article in The Atlantic entitled “Women Can’t Have It All.” Slaughter writes about her struggle with balance—parenting and working, and the importance of being present, as well as the importance of absolute boundaries between work and parenting. As evidence—both of the compartmentalizing men are capable of and as an example of the type of behavior women should engage in more, Slaughter writes about Orthodox men she has worked with: “Come Friday at sundown, they were unavailable because of the Jewish Shabbat.”

Now, only months after the artist’s death, is no time to be coy. Moshe Givati’s work is a revelation: dynamic, throbbing with life, pulsating with meaning. The exhibition “Equus Ambiguity – The Emergence of Maturity,” is up for only a few more days but I urge you to hurry to the Jadite Gallery and familiarize yourself with this under-recognized artist.

It’s time for the next chapter in the re-education of kosher cooks. First came correctly pronouncing quinoa, incorporating edamame into salads and soups, and who can forget the strawberry mango salad? Now, there is a mass of new recipes available with the introduction of Kolatin, a parve bovine-based, kosher gelatin. Espresso panna cotta, here we come.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/arts/equus-opportunity/2012/06/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: