MembersA Different Kind of Death and Resurrection

Moshe Gershuni (1936-2017), the enfant terrible of the Israeli art scene, was awarded the 2003 Israel Prize, but refused to attend the ceremony in protest of then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s right-wing policies.

By Tsvi Sadan |
Photo: Tsvi Sadan

As result, then-Culture Minister Limor Livnat revoked the award.


Gershuni’s first exhibition was held at the Israel Museum in 1969. In 1977, he was fired from the Bezalel School of Art after asking his students to flood the streets of Jerusalem with notes reading “The painting problem is the Palestinian problem.” Gershuni was considered by sculptor Micha Ullman to be “the soul of Israeli art, with his art coming from his soul rather than his head.” In the 1980s, Gershuni begun to develop a unique technique of painting with his fingers while crouching on the floor.


His piece entitled Sham (There) was chosen by Amit Mendelson for the cover of his book, Behold the Man: Jesus in Israeli Art. Considering Gershuni’s expressed homosexuality and political views, this choice calls attention to the possibility that Christian motifs in contemporary Israeli art is in some part an effort to advance radical left-wing political agendas.

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