"Hide and Seek" by Oded Balilty, part of the "Spaces in Turmoil" exhibit. (Photo/Courtesy of the artist and Zemack Contemporary Art Gallery, Tel Aviv)
"Hide and Seek" by Oded Balilty, part of the "Spaces in Turmoil" exhibit. (Photo/Courtesy of the artist and Zemack Contemporary Art Gallery, Tel Aviv)

Rare chance to ‘tour’ two art exhibits in Haifa, SF’s sister city

San Francisco and Haifa make for obvious sister cities for a number of reasons — and their mutual affinity for art is one of them. They’ve officially been linked as such since 1973.

But what do San Franciscans know of the work of Haifa artists?

On Jan. 17, there will be an opportunity to take a peek, thanks to an online program from the S.F.-Haifa Sister City Committee and the S.F.-based Israeli Consulate serving the Pacific Northwest.

“San Francisco and Haifa Connect Through Art” will offer free virtual tours of two museum exhibitions in Haifa, as well as the current Levi Strauss exhibit at our own, temporarily shuttered Contemporary Jewish Museum.

The Haifa Museum of Art will present “Spaces in Turmoil,” an exhibit that explores artists’ responses to the global pandemic. It opened in September.

“The coronavirus crisis and its widespread effects have revealed the fragility of our existence in our most private spaces, as well as in the general social order,” writes curator Svetlana Reingold. “This is a period of fear and insecurity, yet also one of potential insight. It allows us to see through the cracks in the foundations of our existence and reexamine them, though the encounter may be distressful and shocking.”

"LGBT Haifa" by Ofek Applebaum, from the exhibit "What Will the Neighbours Say?" at the Haifa City Museum.
“LGBT Haifa” by Ofek Applebaum, from the exhibit “What Will the Neighbours Say?” at the Haifa City Museum.

One theme that emerges is the weakening of boundaries between man and nature, with animals invading the spaces vacated by humans under quarantine.

As is typical for this 70-year-old museum, the show combines new works by contemporary Israelis with selected earlier pieces from the museum’s collection of more than 7,500 artworks by Israeli and international artists.

In the same program, the Haifa City Museum will offer a virtual tour of its groundbreaking new show “What Will the Neighbours Say?” Curated by the museum along with the Haifa Queer History Project, the show offers the first comprehensive display of gay history in any Israeli museum, according to a museum description. It tells the story of the LGBTQ community in Haifa, which has long been active (be it covertly or overtly), and explores this community in the context of Haifa’s history and social fabric.

The CJM’s contribution will be a tour of “Levi Strauss: A History of American Style,” an exhibit that went virtual shortly after its delayed opening in mid-October, when the CJM reopened at reduced capacity (only to be forced to shut back down in late November). The exhibit is scheduled to run through Jan. 31.

The program, which will occur on Zoom on the opening day of the Haifa LGBTQ exhibit, will take place at 10 a.m. PST Jan. 17. Israeli Consul General Shlomi Kofman will participate, as well as the artistic directors of the museums.

Register or get more information here.

Laura Pall
Laura Paull

Laura Paull is J.'s Culture Editor, and was a longtime J. freelance writer before that.