The exhibition in the museum is part of the first Herzliya Biennial of Contemporary art, which opened on September 23rd. The biennial, entitled The Rear, presented works by some 75 contemporary Israeli artists who respond to the mental and physical space from which cultural production operates – the rear (Ha’Oref in Hebrew, which also denotes “home front,” “hinterland,” “backbone”). The Rear is a term that surfaced repeatedly in Israel during and after the recent Israel-Lebanon war in the summer of 2006. It is perceived in terms of charged dichotomies: the home front in relation to – and as part of – the front line, Israeli civilian society in relation to the army and aesthetic pleasure in relation to political harms. The Rear ties the distinction between society and the state to the tension between labor and capital.
In this historical moment, characterized by growing privatization and a strong militaristic grip, The Rear offers scrutiny of the public sphere and the citizens within it. The exhibition strives to generate a physical as well as a mental realm where ideas, people, opinions and interpretations converge.