Personal letter to Barbara Kruger, Martha Rosler and Tania Bruguera

טלי תמיר, אוצרת בכירה וחוקרת, במכתב פתוח לאמניות ברברה קלוגר, מרתה רוסלר וטניה בורגרה. בעקבות פרסום המכתב השערורייתי שעלה במגזין "ארטפורום" והתעלם באופן מופגן מהטבח של השבעה באוקטובר, עליו הן חתמו
Martha Rosler, Beautiful Home: Bring War Home, 1967 – 1972

I chose only three names out of a long list of signatures that approved the "Open Letter from the art community to cultural organizations" and want to address you – Barbara Kruger, Martha Rosler and Tania Bruguera – the great heroes of the tradition of protest-art, of Feminism, of government resistance, of opposition to dictatorship and cruelty – did you read the petition you have signed? Did you pay attention to every line, to every word you gave your name for? Didn't you notice the absence of one essential word in this story – Hamas – the organization that violated any rule of human being and murdered in one day, during 12 hours, 1300 Israelis, among them babies, children, teenagers, women and grandmothers?

You – the three exemplary super-artists, that your works were admired by us all, that we considered you as moral, brave and worth following, and we were teaching your artistic oeuvre to our students; you, that knew so well to protest against the Vietnam war, against the Patriarchal systems and against all forms of tyranny – you now ignore and deny the activity of a total virile organization – which is cruel, patriarchal, militant and bloodthirsty – especially for Jewish blood.

The Petition you have signed, together with many other artists – the elite of the contemporary art world – stands automatically for the Palestinians people without even mention the October 7th massacre that was done in Israelis Kibbutzim and towns and preceded the violent attack on Gaza by the IDF. This denial, which ignore completely the sequence of events, neglects real facts and simply cut out one day from the calendar is very difficult to understand. Is it possible to erase the 11/9/01 from the worldwide calendar? From now on it will be impossible to erase the 7.10.23 from the memory of every decent human being: Saturday. Black Saturday of murder and bloodshed.

The canonical Photomontages series of Martha Rosler from 1967 – 1972 – "Beautiful Home: Bring War Home" became a datum-point of art-making against the atrocities of war, being inspired by the traumatic Vietnam war. Rosler used the technique of photomontage in order to plant the war-scenes inside the domestic interior. The beautiful American Bourgeois home itself was perforated by soldiers and machine-guans and was desecrated by violence… but the Hamas terrorists did not need photomontage, since they physically and violently broke into the private houses of innocent civilians, invaded their bedrooms, their children's rooms, their kitchens and living rooms – murdered whoever was there, beheaded babies, burnt the houses, raped girls and looted everything.

Are all these horrible actions just disappeared from the eyes of Rosler? And Does Bruguera would be ready to stay even one day under the manly tyranny of the Hamas heroes? Doesn't Barbara Kruger want to save the Hamas warriors from themselves? From their own violence? As she herself wrote in one of her most famous slogans, and release them from the crazy, drugged outburst of criminal barbarity? Instead – they signed the petition against Israel.

I belong to the Israeli Left. The extreme right government that rules now over Israel is a colossal catastrophe in my eyes and I believe that the mass-bombing of Gaza these days is a fatal mistake, being an instinctive thoughtless drive of revenge. My heart is also with the Gaza good people who are unable to free themselves from the Hamas ambitions to destroy Israel and kill Jews. They deserve more than that. But I cannot stay indifferent to a cut-throat baby and in front of 5 coffins of a whole family in one funeral. All this has happened and it is horrified! Everybody who chooses to close his eyes and ignore it – is cooperating with the worst terrorism – I feel deeply betrayed by the artists who were exemplary and trustworthy and now I hear only silence and indifference.

Tali Tamir
Art historian and curator of Israeli and contemporary art


Kibbutz Be'eri, October 7th, 2023
Martha Rosler, Beautiful Home: Bring War Home, 1967 – 1972

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