Ai Wei Wei, Psalms and More!

Ai Wei Wei Psalms And More 1

Ai Wei Wei, Psalms and More!

Ai Wei Wei. The name conjures up contemporary art, political dissidence, and….the latest exhibit at the Israel Museum!

In addition to his famous sunflower installation and his renowned carpet, the exhibit also features themed rooms with special wallpaper that complements the small objects on display. Wei Wei’s work melds contemporary Western art with traditional Chinese craftsmanship, producing works that critique both the Chinese government and Western society. It’s nearly impossible to view his grand works without being moved, or not to marvel at his smaller pieces, which re-appropriate ancient Chinese objects for a modern political context.

Wei Wei’s oeuvre was inspired by Dadaism, which is also on display at the Museum’s “No Place Like Home” exhibit, a Dadaist take on modern home decor, laid out like an Ikea show-room. If home decor isn’t your thing, there’s also “In Full Color” a homage to Dan Reisinger, one of the founders of the Israeli graphic design aesthetic.

Ai Wei Wei Psalms And More 2

If you prefer smaller galleries, Beita, located on Yaffo Street, only steps away from Mahane Yehuda market, is having a shoe design exhibit featuring works by students of Bezalel Academy. The eclectic collection includes everything from black boots to rainbow sandals, from shoes that look as comfortable as bare feet to shoes that look like they’d ruin your toes in half a minute. It’s lots of fun and I definitely recommend a visit!

But life isn’t just about visuals, of course. That’s why it was so great to attend the Psalms concert, which brought together the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and the University of Music Franz List for a spectacular performance as part of the Israel Festival. The highlight, for me, was Leonard Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms.” The minute the orchestra started playing, you felt the Bernstein magic: dissonance, heavy string sections interspersed with solos from tympanies and xylophones, big booms that came out of nowhere, taking your breath away, with an eerie grandiosity that was utterly mesmerizing. The finale, which combined traditional Ashkenazi Carlebach music with oud and a touch of the Sephardi soul, was brilliant. I went into the evening with high expectations, and the concert exceeded them in every way.

Tonight, I’m off to Musrara Mix, and then, I hope I’ll have time to see Wonder Woman on Saturday night!

As for my weekend recommendations?

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the beautiful festivals that Jerusalem has to offer.