What was it like to hear Mozart’s 19th String Quartet for the first time, in 1785? Or to be the among the first to see Peter Paul Rubens, “Judgment of Solomon” in 1614? That feeling of hearing or seeing something created by visionary artists, who are pushing the boundaries of their craft, is exciting. And this innovation happens thanks to sponsorship.
Joel Horwich, a retired American Airlines pilot, has put a lot of thought into the importance of patronizing the arts. In addition to his support for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Joel is an avid amateur art collector and violist. For the last 35 years, he’s been collecting optic-kinetic and political-historical art to appreciate the newest and most interesting ideas around.
Optic-kinetic art are visual works (optic) that move (kinetic) in interesting ways. This can take the form of projections moving across a building, sculptures that move with shifts in the air, or interactive displays. His collection, about half of which are “uniques,” includes works from artists that play with the use of color and broadening of boundaries within subject matter and movement, such as Yaacov Agam, Cruz-Diez, Chris DeRubeis, le Parc, Christiane Grimm, Patrick Hughes, Antonio Marra, Yoshiyuki Miura, and Jeun Nak.
“For someone with only about three days [to look for art] and limited funds (less than about $15,000 per work), “Art Basel” might be best enjoyed by spending more time at the side shows such as Art Miami, Context, NADA, Prizm and Pulse,” Joel says. “The price per work generally decreases substantially and some — like me —would argue, the personal creative factor increases.”
His political-historical collection, on the other hand, tells a story in his home. Guests can learn about parts of African-American and American-Indian history in the USA, the Holocaust, WWII from Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima, and the Vietnam War. As he puts it, “It was inexpensive, but sometimes difficult to acquire the pictures and paintings that would propel the stories forward in coherent, logical directions.”
All of this love for art and patronage done for a reason: artists build on each other’s works, and can only do so when they have financial backing.
“In this way, visual and performing arts are similar,” Joel says. “At the top of the food chain are organizations such as the IPO, perhaps Israel’s leading cultural ambassador, returning and, on occasion, introducing these composers to modern concert venues and to both established audiences and younger patrons.”
Joel has supported the IPO since his first trip to Israel in 1980, regularly attending performances at the Charles Bronfman Auditorium and Binyanei HaUuma in Israel, as well as seeing the Orchestra perform in cities around the world — including London, Paris, New York City, St. Petersburg and Yerevan, Armenia.
He says that now, during this time of pandemic, it is more important than ever to ensure that the IPO has a strong backing to draw from as it innovates and inspires further innovation in classical music.
“[The Orchestra’s] critical mission to promote classical music throughout Israel and the world, to serve as a vessel of cultural diplomacy, and to represent all that is consummately artistic, profound, and worldly in Israel and its people remains perspicuous and immutable,” Joel says. “I am proud of what the orchestra has accomplished and honored to be an extremely small part of that.”