A 15-foot statue of Culture Minister Miri Regev standing in front of a giant mirror was posted Thursday morning at Tel Aviv’s Culture Square, in front of the Habima national theater, with the inscription “In the heart of the nation.”
— איתי בלומנטל (@ItayBlumental) November 8, 2018
The artist chose to remain anonymous, do far.
In recent months, Minister Regev has provoked outrage in the culture community in Israel with her so-called “Law of Loyalty in Culture,” which would allow her to eliminate or reduce government endowments to cultural institutions based on a series of criteria, including ideological, with emphasis on starving out “subversive” works of art.
The Knesset this week approved the loyalty bill in a preliminary reading after it had passed through the ministerial committee on legislation.
When she first presented the bill, Minister Regev wrote on her Facebook page: “How detached from reality can an artist be? Israel is a democracy, with individual rights, civil rights, moral sensitivity, an activist court, free media and in short, one of the super-free nations. This is a detached art [community], whose only golden calf is hatred of Netanyahu.”
That last line is a bit incoherent, containing a vague reference to a gold statue of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu which had been placed two years ago in Rabin Square.
The artist behind the Netanyahu work, Itai Zlayet, said that placing the statue was only the beginning of a series of artistic actions:
“The goal is to examine the limits of freedom of expression in 2016 Israel – what happens when I display such a statue? Do sanctions, such as my arrest, follow, or will they just remove it?”
They just removed it.