Artists over time in history have constantly needed to build strong communities. When I lived in the Old Tel Aviv, I was part of a group of artists who did not receive the attention of the Tel Aviv Museum, so in response we created our own gallery that had exhibitions, a group of artists, dealers, and collectors. By establishing our own artist community, we built strength and prestige as artists in our own right. As such, we founded an art magazine and built a school of art to help create a new generation of artists for the future. As artists, through these new ventures, we were able to take our destiny into our hands by presenting and discussing our own art. The art establishment then began to take notice of our concerted efforts and started supporting our work.
Shenkin, the area surrounding our new art gallery in Old Tel Aviv, then had an amazing renaissance of creation and energy within the three years following the opening of our gallery. Other artists came to rent studios, younger residents moved in, and our community grew even stronger. We were united together geographically and intellectually. Our work in Old Tel Aviv is an excellent example of how the unification of artists can spur new thriving communities.
Later, when I came to New York, I got involved in Exit Art as an artist and board member. Like the work in Old Tel Aviv, Exit Art was ahead of its time in terms of servicing artists and creating a community based on what the art world was missing in its established spaces. It was run by mostly artists who were there to create work and a community dedicated to showing the rest of the world art that was not legitimized with the goal of legitimizing artists from different cultures who are presenting different ideas that were mostly politically inclined. For example, I participated in the Let the Artists Live! exhibition in 1994, where a bunch of international artists were invited to create a living and working space at the gallery leading up to the exhibition. This was one of many ways artists were able to be a part of an artists-run community, and we kept bringing other artists, curators, collectors, and people we knew to show them what Exit Art was, which helped the space run for twenty years (from 1982–2012).
Yigal Ozeri is an Israeli artist based in New York City who is best known for his large-scale photorealistic paintings.