Art Buzz September 15, 2013: Reassured about Syria, Italy loans Israel Botticelli’s The Annunciation of San Martino alla Scala

ART & ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY NEWS

MUSEUM NEWS

Reassured about Syria, Italy loans Israel a Botticelli work

Botticelli's 'Annunciation'

Botticelli’s ‘Annunciation.’ Photo by Bloomberg

Italy’s culture ministry had declined to send the 15th-century “The Annunciation of San Martino alla Scala” to the Israel Museum due to geopolitical and logistical considerations….READ MORE

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Art Buzz February 21, 2012: Alan Pizer: Time abroad adds spice to art history professor’s lectures

ART & ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY NEWS

ART HISTORIANS’ NEWS

Time abroad adds spice to art history professor’s lectures

Source: The University Star, 2-21-12

A globetrotting Texas State professor regales students with stories of past less-than-legal antics.

Alan Pizer, art history professor, was an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin when he studied abroad in Israel. While overseas, he traveled the world and took photographs, some of which were illegal.

Alan Pizer, senior art lecturer, reviews a photo from his office Feb. 20 taken inside an Egyptian tomb, where photography is prohibited.

Pizer studied in Israel at the University of Haifa. During his free time, he traveled to different parts of the Middle East taking photographs along the way.

In the 1980s, Pizer traveled to Egypt. He visited Tel el-Amarna, an Egyptian archaeological site that was once a powerful city ruled by Pharaoh Akhenaten.

Pizer said he went to the ancient tombs in Tel el-Amarna after he’d studied them in school.

His girlfriend, who was traveling with him, was sick with a stomach virus the day they planned on visiting the city. Later he discovered there was a travel warning issued to U.S. citizens in regards to an Islamist group known as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Pizer said as soon as he entered the city, an Egyptian police officer started to follow him. Pizer took this as a good sign, believing he would have protection if needed.

At the site, Pizer found a tomb that hadn’t been destroyed. He said an Egyptian police officer tricked him into taking a picture of the tomb, knowing it was against the law.

After taking the picture, the officer threatened to arrest Pizer unless he paid a bribe of $25. In response, Pizer said he would report the officer to the tourist police.

Pizer said the officer agreed to let him go, but the forbidden photograph has never been put on display.

While a student in Israel, Pizer traveled to Syria as well. He said he lied about his religion to acquire a visa.

“Looking back, I must’ve had a death wish,” he said. “In Syria, I pretended to take pictures of my then girlfriend. Instead, I took pictures of the Syrian army.”

Pizer said he met an Israeli journalist when he returned. When she asked him why he went to Syria, he said it was because “you can’t.”

Pizer said his students and colleagues tend to embellish the stories he tells.

Cody Marshall, photography senior, said he took Pizer’s class two years ago. Marshall said he vaguely remembers Pizer telling the class about his time in Tel el-Amarna.

“I really enjoyed having him as a professor,” Marshall said. “He’s like the Indiana Jones of Art History.”

Pizer received a master’s in art history at the University of Texas and is currently working on his dissertation. Alison Ricketson, art history senior, has seen the effects Pizer’s stories have on his students.

Ricketson is currently Pizer’s student assistant. She said his stories make him more personable as a professor.

“He has a lot of amazing photos to teach from that are not in the book,” she said. “What he’s seen has inspired me to travel.”

Pizer said he hasn’t had time to travel alone in recent years. He is currently the study abroad program director for Art and Design students and leads a trip to Florence every summer.

“As a student, I had a certain kind of rush,” he said. “I’ve seen things people will never see and experienced things people will never experience. I miss that freedom.”

Art Buzz February 2, 2012: David Resnick: The Amir Center — a mixed modernist message — known as Jerusalem’s ugliest building now might be torn down

ART & ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY NEWS

ARCHITECTURE NEWS

A mixed modernist message

The Amir Center was known as Jerusalem’s ugliest building, but the publicity won its architect a raft of projects. It now might be torn down.

Source: Haaretz, 2-2-12

In 1958, shortly after going out on his own, Architect David Resnick was asked to design a new residential building at the intersection of King George and Agron streets in the heart of Jerusalem. The plot chosen was surrounded by several buildings of historical and architectural value such as the Terra Sancta building and the American consulate.

But in the spirit of the times, Resnick decided to build a daring modernist response across from those structures: a square high-rise sitting on a commercial space and flashing its innovation in every detail.

Amir Center -  From the book 'David Resnick, Retrospective' The Amir Center in the 1960s. Its unusual facade won fans.
Photo by: From the book ‘David Resnick, Retrospective’

The residential building known as the Amir Center (sometimes referred to as Beit Agron or the Supersol Building ) recently marked its 50th anniversary. Over the years, it has become one of Jerusalem’s best-known residential buildings thanks to its location, unusual facade and design innovations.

Veteran Jerusalemites still remember the steel crane brought over from Sweden specifically for this project; it hoisted up the prefab parts. Yet the Amir Center is now threatened by an evacuation-construction plan promoted by a group of residents and welcomed by the municipality. Given the renewal marathon underway in downtown Jerusalem, there’s a chance the building will be razed to make way for a luxury high-rise.

“For me, it was very important to have modern construction in Jerusalem, but most of the people opposed my building and said it wasn’t in the Jerusalem tradition,” Resnick said this week.

The Amir Center indeed sparked an intense dispute, and in a series of street interviews earned the dubious honor of “Jerusalem’s ugliest building.” In hindsight, this too is a form of public relations. In the week of the dispute, Resnick was commissioned for a variety of projects all over the city. “When you do something that’s disputed, it sometimes yields good results,” he adds….READ MORE