The Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography at the Israel Museum
The Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography was established and announced in 2009 at the initiative of Mr. Shalom Shpilman and the Shpilman Art and Culture Foundation its aim being to catalyze groundbreaking research and work in Photography.
The biennial prize was endowed thanks to a gift of $ 1 million from the Shpilman Art and Culture Foundation, which expanded the core activities of the Museum’s Noel and Harriette Levine Department of Photography.
“This prize is the first of its kind in Israel to be awarded to encourage and support the creative enterprise of photographers from around the world,” said Shalom Shpilman, founder and chair of the Shpilman Art and Culture Foundation. “As one of the world’s preeminent resources in the field of photography, the Israel Museum is the perfect institution to partner with us in the creation and implementation of this new award.” Mr. Shpilman has also recently created the Shpilman Institute for Photography (SIP) which offer a wide range of programs related to the field.
The biennial prize in the amount of US $ 45,000.- intends to support the realization of new research work in photography, which will subsequently be published by the Museum. Its main purpose is to provide photographers and scholars with the support needed to pursue new ideas and work in the medium. The first of its kind, the prize is awarded for the creation of new and innovative research rather than as recognition of previously completed work. It will be awarded every two years to an artist and/or scholar who plan to conduct an inquiry aiming to expand the boundaries and the understanding of the medium.
Recipients of the prize are selected by an international jury of leading photography experts.
“We are deeply grateful to the Shpilman family for its broad vision and generous support of this new prize, which is unique in that it will encourage artists to expand the boundaries of photography as a creative medium,” said James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum. “This gift is unprecedented for our Photography Department, and it extends the Museum’s over 40-year commitment to the medium in an important way.”
The first recipient, Israeli artist Michal Heimann was selected in August 2010.
The members of the inaugural jury in 2010 were:
- Nissan N. Perez (chair), Horace and Grace Goldsmith Senior Curator of the Noel and Harriette Levine Department of Photography at the Israel Museum.
- Ms. Marta Gili, Director, Jeu de Paume Museum, Paris.
- Mr. Peter Galassi, Chief Curator, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
- Prof. Hanan Laskin, Founder, Photography Department, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design; academic advisor to art schools and other cultural institutions in Israel, Tel Aviv.
- Dr. Shlomo Lee Abrahmov, Photographer and teacher, Holon Institute of Technology, and Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, representing the Shpilman family, Yakum.
Inquiries concerning the Shpilman Prize can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shalom Shpilman and the Shpilman Foundation for Art and Culture
Shalom Shpilman is a philanthropist and businessman based in Tel Aviv with a long-standing interest in the promotion of photographic scholarship and discovery. He is currently in the midst of establishing an international photography institute which will aim to promote photographic literacy, encourage research, provide academic education for scholars, and develop an exhibition space for contemporary photography. Mr. Shpilman has established a scholarship program for excellence in photography in Israeli academic institutions and lectures on the medium at high schools and college campuses across Israel.
Mr. Shpilman is Chairman and Co-Founder of the global real estate group REDSTONE and was previously Founder and Chairman of KFC Financial Services Group NV from its inception in 1998 until 2006. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Management Engineering and a Master of Science degree in Operations Research from the Technion, the Israeli Institute of Technology.
Photography at the Israel Museum
Since its opening in 1965, the Israel Museum has maintained a strong focus on the exploration and exhibition of photography and is among the first encyclopedic institutions to have established a dedicated department for photography in the 1970s. In 2005, the Department became the Noel and Harriette Levine Department of Photography, recognizing a major endowment gift from New York photography collectors and benefactors Noel and Harriette Levine.
Today the department’s collection includes over 55,000 works from the earliest days of photography through the present, with special concentrations of important examples by the medium’s pioneering 19th-century practitioners and of photography of the Dada and Surrealist movements. The collection also features in-depth representations of such historically significant artists as Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Andre Kertész, and Man Ray. As part of its commitment to collecting and preserving Israel’s photographic heritage, the Museum has also acquired comprehensive bodies of work by some of the region’s most important practitioners.
In addition to the Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography, the Museum’s Photography Department also awards the Gérard Lévy Prize for a Young Photographer and the Kavlin Photography Prize for outstanding or life achievement.
The Department also promotes contemporary Israeli photography through an active acquisition program, as well as through individual and group exhibitions dedicated to the work of Israeli photographers.