Stephen Shore Gets At Israel’s Rocky Past

THE DAILY PIC: At the Brooklyn Museum, Shore captures history's burden.

Stephen Shore (American, born 1947). St. Sabas Monastery, Judean Desert, Israel, September 20, 2009. Chromogenic print, 36 x 45 in. (91.4 x 114.3 cm). Courtesy of the artist and 303 Gallery, New York. © Stephen Shore, all rights reserved

Stephen Shore (American, born 1947). St. Sabas Monastery, Judean Desert, Israel, September 20, 2009. Chromogenic print, 36 x 45 in. (91.4 x 114.3 cm). Courtesy of the artist and 303 Gallery, New York. © Stephen Shore, all rights reserved

THE DAILY PIC (#1538): Stephen Shore shot this wonderful photo of the thousand-year-old St. Sabas Monastery in the Judean desert on September 20, 2009, as part of “This Place,” a touring photography project now on view at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. Twelve photographers were invited to explore “the complexity of Israel and the West Bank, as place and metaphor,” and between them they turned out more than 600 powerful images of that vexed land and landscape.

I find that this particular photo by Shore gets at something that few of the others do: How the heavy hand of history weighs even heavier on this piece of the planet than elsewhere. Who got here first, decades or centuries or millennia ago? Who has it “really” belonged to over all those years? Who have the gods of the land truly intended it for? Who most “deserves” it now?

Shore’s image reveals how deeply those questions seem rooted in the stones of the region. What it doesn’t posit, quite, is that the best hope for peace and wellbeing for all the land’s inhabitants lies in uprooting themselves completely from that vexed past and looking relentlessly toward a different and better future. (Courtesy of the artist and 303 Gallery, New York. © Stephen Shore, all rights reserved)

For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.


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