LETTER FROM CINDI STRAUSS, MFA HOUSTON
December 6, 2012
Association of Israel's Decorative Arts
100 Worth Avenue, Suite 713
Palm Beach, Florida 33480
Dear AIDA Trustees,
It is hard to believe that it has been one month since the Artis/AIDA trip to Israel. The experience was so incredible that I am still "unpacking" it both through my own memories and photos as well as through the connections made with Israeli artists and curators during my visit.
Let me begin by thanking you for choosing me to participate in this trip. It was intense, exhilarating, emotional, revelatory, and intellectually stimulating all at once. I came home exhausted but in the best possible way - that deep exhaustion one gets from a truly meaningful experience. Rivka and her Artis staff organized a truly amazing trip and Aviva outdid herself setting up three days of appointments with a range of designers, craft artists, museum colleagues, art school professors, and anyone else that she could think of who might be useful to us. You have an incredible resource in Aviva. She is so knowledgeable, great company, and a terrific ambassador for AIDA. She really made everything come alive.
In the end, I can really say that I received a terrific overview of the Israeli contemporary art scene with in-depth exposure to the decorative arts. As a decorative arts and design curator who works at an encyclopedic museum whose permanent collection installations are increasingly inter-departmental, I could not ask for anything better than to be simultaneously exposed to Israeli art across all media. The conversations with contemporary art colleagues on the trip provided great context and alternative points of view to my own impressions. Spending a week with such distinguished (and fun) curators was a treat and while the trip was so immersive it was a bit like boot camp, having people with shared interests to bond with made the experience all that much richer. And it was especially gratifying to have another decorative arts curator - in this case the wonderful Matilda McQuaid - with me during the focused decorative arts days. Her insights were terrific and it was great to bounce ideas off each other in regard to what we were seeing. If at all possible, I would highly recommend that this always happen.
In the weeks that I have been home, a steady stream of emails, images, and printed materials have been arriving from people that I met throughout Israel. The dialogue continues unabated and I know that it will result in future opportunities for acquisitions, projects, and research. I will certainly endeavor to keep you posted as anything develops.
In closing, thank you again for sending me on this once-in-a-lifetime experience. I benefitted tremendously from it both professionally and personally. And I certainly can now count myself as an enlightened fan of Israeli decorative arts and design!
Curator, Modern and Contemporary Decorative Arts and Design
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston