• Curator: Tali Kayam
  • Dates:19.3-1.5.22

Manners and Customs


David (Duchi) Cohen Dekel Seri Stav Tal Penina Simkovitz Karin Elmkies Ronel Pines Taïr Almor Tomer Fruchter

Shaking hands when meeting, eating with a fork and knife, getting up in respect of an elderly person, these customs are practiced and agreed upon by many of us, if not all. Rules of etiquette accompany us at every social event without having ever questioned their origin. Such traditions have been outlined in etiquette books since the Middle Ages, and have aided anthropologists and sociologists in their attempts to delineate the formation of human civilization. 

An exhibition is a social event held according to its own rules of etiquette. Some more explicit than others: no touching; no running; at times no photographing. The opening reception is similar to a cocktail party complete with its own rituals. A White Cube acts as a host of the encounter between objects and viewers. What courtesy is expected from these objects? Is there such a thing as an impolite work of art, or its showcasing perceived as rude? Who is the host? Who is the guest? And how can one feel at home?

Eight artists were invited to exhibit their works in the Edmond de Rothschild Center. Many of them, having completed their studies during a raging pandemic, were strewn into the local art scene at a time when key rules of etiquette suddenly became forbidden, interpersonal and social gatherings were thought dangerous, and countless exhibition openings were canceled. 

Sociologist Erving Goffman suggests that a person who follows a code of conduct becomes committed to a particular image of self, expecting others to act accordingly in return. Behavior is therefore a channel of communication providing affirmation to selves represented in some form of group affiliation including gender, ethnicity, other. When meeting in person, several such associations can take place at once. [1]

The exhibition Manners and Customs comprises works by artists who share a belonging to the collective art scene in Israel and at the same time, who are individually associated with different social groups committing them to an additional, separate image.

[1] Erving Goffman, Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-to-Face Behavior, New York: Anchor Books, 1967. 50. 

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