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News and Events

Happy Chanukah, LA Times Ad

from MegilLA/Jewish Community News, December 2017

Swinging into Chanukah?

This week, the Michael Hittleman Gallery came up with a provocative way of wishing Los Angeles a “Happy Chanukah.” In the December 8 edition of the Los Angeles Times, Hittleman, the gallery’s owner, placed a quarter page ad featuring a large photo of an art piece by Israeli contemporary artist Maya Attoun. In the past, Hittleman has placed many ads displaying art, but this one showed what appeared to be a chimpanzee held between the grip of a human thumb and forefinger. Beneath the photo was a simple, straightforward greeting: Happy Chanukah.

“Someone had just called to tell me that the ad was insulting,” said Hittleman, who minutes before I interviewed him, had taken the call from the irate woman. However, Hittleman, who has been selling art for much of his adult life, seemed to take the call in stride. “After 42 years nothing ever bothers me much anymore,” he said. And besides, Attoun’s work was selling. Hittleman’s gallery on West Third Street, specializes in synagogue and Jewish center art sales, and he was able to report that he had sold other pieces by the artist involving the chimpanzees. “Especially since the piece is called “Devolution,” it makes you think about how we treat animals,” he said. Attoun, “comments a lot on the vulnerability of our environment,” expressing “the idea that in our arrogance we control everything. But we don’t and that’s very much on her radar.”

As it turned out, in a twist of life stranger than art, Hittleman has some familial connection with chimpanzees. His father, Carl Hittleman, in the 1950’s, directed 10 episodes of the “Sheena, Queen of the Jungle” TV show, which featured a chimp. “He filmed in Mexico with an actress named Irish McCalla, who, herself, later became an artist, recalled Hittleman. “Chimpanzees are super strong and Irish was terrified of working with them.”

As for the ad, when Hittleman first saw the design, he noticed that the designer had set “Happy Chanukah” in “a non-festive typeface. “I thought that should probably be in a lighter italic, but then I looked at the image and saw it created this surreal ad, I thought ‘Why not’.”

Academy of Tal R

Sommer Contemporary Art is proud to announce

Tal R

Academy of Tal R

at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Opening May 20th, 2017
Gl Strandvej 13, 3050 Humlebæk, Denmark

Over the past decade Louisiana Museum of Modern Art has established a distinctive collection of works – especially paintings – by the Danish artist Tal R (b. 1967). The museum therefore thinks it is natural with him to round off the Louisiana trilogy of exhibitions of contemporary artists with painting as their focus: Peter Doig in 2015, Daniel Richter in 2016 and now Tal R in 2017. At the same time it is twenty years since Tal R made his debut in the museum world with his participation in The Louisiana Exhibition 1997. New art from Denmark and Scania.

is a wide-ranging exhibition which for the first time offers an overview of the past 20 years’ active career. Since the 1990s Tal R, as one of the most striking artists of his generation, has exhibited around the world, especially in Europe, and his art is included in many central collections. He is an artist who with apparent ease and considerable visual impact expresses himself freely across painting, drawing, collage, artist books and sculpture.

The works in the exhibition offers Louisiana’s guide to making sense of the essentials in Tal R’s production: 55 paintings from the period from 1996 until now; collage pictures from 1997 to 2008; around 30 artist’s books from 1996 until now; 32 sculptures from 2005 on; 25 drawings from 1997 until 2015; and a number of new works that have not been exhibited earlier.

Tal R’s art may be tied to the material and content, but as a storyteller too he has had a keen eye from the outset for the neglected, hidden and marginalized spaces and for human beings in modern life. All that runs contrary to uniformity holds his interest as resources for his thinking and imagination. According to Tal R there is no straightforward path through life in terms of artistic awareness and personal expression. “The Academy of Life” leaves its traces, and we find them at the exhibition in the drawings from the 1990s from “The Back Garden” and onward to the empty shop fronts in the brand new works.

With his role as a rather lone wolf in terms of academic learning and at the same time his opposition to the decidedly political course in the 1990s, Tal R felt compelled to define painting in his own vital and up-to-the-minute way. One could say that his artworks function as a kind of portals for experience and emotions that can only be given meaning and fullness by the individual.

Further information about the exhibition Academy of Tal R is available from Curator Anders Kold or Head of Press Susanne Hartz. Press photos are available at www.louisiana.dk. A log-in can be ordered at e-mail press@louisiana.dk or M +45 2858 5052.

Tziona Yahim, Woman with dog, food and bird. Clay Sculpture. Photo: Patricia Greenfield​

40th Anniversary Celebration

You're invited to the 40th anniversary celebration of the Michael Hittleman Gallery and a benefit exhibition for artists of The Ethiopian Jewish Arts Workshop in Be'er Sheva

Sunday, October 16, Noon-4 p.m.

Hors d'oeuvres, refreshments and complimentary valet parking

8403 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048

Exhibition To Benefit Artists of The Ethiopian Jewish Arts Workshop

October 16-29, in conjunction with a party for our gallery's 40th anniversary.

Read more

With Larry Abramson

at the Jerusalem Print Workshop, looking at Larry's exhibition of 30 years of his botanical prints, on our recent trip to Israel. July 2016.

Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue
Art Show and Sale

April 22-June 27, 2015
M-Th 9 -9, Fri 9-7, Sat 9-3, Sun 9-Noon

Featuring 43 works of Israeli art that are a history of Israeli art, plus a selection of contemporary Israeli art. The gallery and VBS are working together on it and the works are for sale. There will be an opening Wednesday night and further events will be scheduled.

First Floor exhibit - Contemporary Israeli Art

Second Floor exhibit - History of Israeli Art

Michael Hittleman Gallery Cited in Hadassah Magazine Article

"Not that long ago, exhibitions of Israeli art in the United States were mostly the purview of Jewish museums, synagogues, Jewish organizations—and Michael Hittleman’s eponymous and pioneering Los Angeles gallery, which opened in 1976."

Full article.

With Joshua Neustein at His Studio

Mar. 17 - We met with Joshua Neustein at his SoHo studio this past week. We looked over his famous Carbon Series works. These are works on old-fashioned carbon paper which has been folded, cut, abraded and layered.

Gallery Now Has All Four Aroch Prints

The Hittleman Gallery has acquired the Higgs Boson of Israeli art. We now have all four of Arie Aroch's super rare prints for the first time in the history of the galaxy, er, gallery.

The fourth and final work is titled Two Trees in Memory of Hametzayer. The print is in memory of Mordechai Tzvi Mane, who was one of the fascinating figures in the "Love of Zion" movement (Chibat Zion). The tradition of planting trees in memory of Diaspora Jewry reflects Aroch's role as an emissary for the J.N.F. since his time in Buenos Aires in the late 1940s.

Aharon Bezalel, 1926-2012

Aug. 22 - Aharon Bezalel passed away this morning in Ein Kerem, Israel. We have represented his works and his brother, Avigdor's works, for decades. Aharon is one of the best-known and most beloved Israeli sculptors with collectors all over the world.

We were fortunate to be able to see him last month on our trip to Israel. He was in poor health but we were hoping he would recover. We spent a wonderful afternoon in his studio looking at works from all phases of his long career. We also purchased a magnificent horse sculpture for the gallery. It is still in transit to the U.S.

Gallery Acquires Rare Aroch Lithograph

July 16 - The gallery has aquired the rare Aroch lithograph "Ratchik." It was a grocer's sign in his native Kharkov. It is his rarest graphic work - an edition of only 25. He may have signed only 16 of them. The gallery now has three of his four major prints.

Hittleman Gallery Acquires Aroch Lithographs

June 10 - The gallery has just acquired Arie Aroch's The Boat lithograph. This is the most famous of Aroch's images and the most famous image in Israeli art. With its iconic rowboat/infinity sign it speaks to rescue ships and the hope of a new land. Aroch created only a handful of prints in his life and they are the rarest works in Israeli art. The gallery will now have two of them.