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The nine photographs included in this exhibition are contemporary re-presentations of subjects, characters, and stories from the Old Testament. In his large-scale, elaborately staged photographs, which often reference well-known works from the history of art, Israeli artist Adi Nes uses themes from Biblical narratives to explore present-day issues of social justice.
In Nes’ work, hired actors portray Biblical figures as the dispossessed—homeless, poverty-stricken, or outcast people—on the streets of Tel Aviv, an interpretation that foregrounds the plight of marginalized people everywhere. Nes intentionally humanizes Biblical heroes, depicting them in moments of hardship, suffering, and turmoil in order to draw parallels between these foundational religious texts and real-life, contemporary experience. The artist drew inspiration from his own background, layered identity, and experience as an outsider – Nes is the son of Iranian immigrant parents from the development town of Kiryat Gat in the south of Israel, a gay man, an artist, a Jew, an Israeli – to infuse his Biblical Stories with new meaning and power.
Lead support for this exhibition and accompanying programs is provided by the Sheldon & Marianne Lubar Charitable Fund of the Lubar Family Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Martha and Ray Smith, Jr. Endowment Fund, the Milwaukee Jewish Federation's Israel Center, the Richard P. Herzfeld Endowment Fund, and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Thursday, November 5
Adi Nes, Artist
Stories: Biblical and Otherwise
6 p.m. Haggerty Museum of Art
All programs take place at the Haggerty unless otherwise noted.