1958 – <em>Might</em>, Yosef Zaritsky

This massive painting by Yosef Zaritsky (1891-1985) was given primacy of place at the First Decade Exhibit held at Binyanei HaUma, now known as Jerusualem’s International Convention Center. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion was heard to say of this work, based on the landscape of Kibbutz Yehiam, “One can live with modern art, or without.” Teddy Kollek, who was the head of the Prime Minister’s Office and later Jerusalem’s mayor, understood Ben-Gurion’s displeasure and moved the work to a less prominent location. Zaritsky, greatly insulted, later destroyed the work. The debate in Israel about politicians’ role vis-a-vis artistic expression continues today. (Image by Yair Talmor, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)