Main Events

Charles Bronfman, left, and
Martin Indyk.

Motti Warms Up
And Gets Calder

By Nina Boxer

ON HULDAI, the mayor of Tel Aviv, likes to tell the tale about the harried motorist who circled the city square a couple of times, searching desperately for a place to park.

He looked up and said, “God, if you give me a parking space, I’ll go to shul twice a day and be an observant Jew.”

Just then he pulled into a parking spot.

“God, forget it. I don’t need it anymore.”

The mayor’s story amused Stanley Batkin, chairman of the American Friends of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and his elegant guests gathered at the elegant Rainbow Room in New York to celebrate the museum’s 70th birthday.

Ron Huldai, Stanley Batkin and
Motti Omer.

Honorary dinner chairpersons Arne and Milly Glimcher presented a citation to Alexander S.C. Rower, grandson of the late great sculptor Alexander Calder. Martin Indyk, the former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, also received an award.

Rower, who founded the Calder Foundation to manage the artist’s distinctive three-dimensional sculptures, told how one piece of art got to Tel Aviv Museum.

When museum director and chief curator Mordechai Omer sought to acquire a Calder piece, Rower said that everything was on loan.

Omer wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Finally Rower said there was a tall sculpture in the garden of the family house in Connecticut that had never been seen in public.

“We’ll take it,” Omer said, sight unseen.

Alan Slifka, Arne Glimcher and
Ann Solomon of Pace Gallery.

Beginning next year, this “stabile” will be on permanent loan to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Collector/historian Arturo Schwartz, head of the Italian Friends of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, told about a Chinese philosopher who was asked why he lived in such poor circumstances.

“When I have money,” he answered, “I buy bread, and if there is anything left I buy a flower.”

The Tel Aviv Museum, Schwartz concluded, is “the bread and flower of the Jewish people.”

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