How Yaacov Agam Became a Warrior For Truth (With a Little Help From His Friends)

Yaacov Agam Park West

(Yaacov Agam; photo courtesy of The Algemeiner)

When “The Algemeiner,” one of the foremost Jewish newspapers in the world, announced they wanted to honor famed Israeli artist Yaacov Agam with their 2017 “Warrior for Truth” Award, Agam’s family and friends all knew the award ceremony would be a memorable night.

What they didn’t know was that getting Agam to the event would be the most dramatic part of the evening.

The award was scheduled to be presented to Agam on September 18 at the annual J100 Gala in New York, a celebration of the top 100 people in the world who are “positively influencing Jewish life.”

However, the adventure began the night before when Park West Gallery Founder and CEO Albert Scaglione discovered that Agam, now 89 years old, had been checked into a New York hospital. Agam’s pulse had dropped dangerously low following his flight to the U.S.

Scaglione—who has not only represented Agam’s artwork, but has also been a close friend of the artist for over 40 years—rushed to Lenox Hill Hospital, finding Agam in good spirits, but anxious to leave.

Albert Scaglione Yaacov Agam

Park West Gallery CEO Albert Scaglione with Chantal Thomas d’Hoste and Yaacov Agam sailing in the Upper New York Bay in 2016.

This left Scaglione and his wife Mitsie to figure out the logistics of getting Agam released in time for the J100 Gala. Papers were signed, bills were paid. They were on their way until they encountered the most New York City problem of them all—the impossibility of finding a taxi in the rain.

Undaunted, Scaglione got Agam into a wheelchair and pushed him three blocks through the rain towards the artist’s hotel.

But even this short journey wasn’t without its complications. Scaglione and Agam were briefly stopped by the U.S. Secret Service—President Trump was in town—but the agents eventually sent them on their way. Shortly thereafter, they finally reached Agam’s room at the Carlyle Hotel.

A few hours later, noted art world manager Gene Luntz arrived at the hotel to take the Scagliones, Agam, and his companion, classical harpist Chantal Thomas d’Hoste, to Cipriani’s 25 Broadway location, where the event was taking place.

At the J100 Gala, the group met up a number of luminaries from the worlds of art, politics, and culture. After rescuing Agam from the press line, Scaglione brought the artist back to his table, along with Agam’s son Ron, where they were joined by Paul and Dee Dee Sorvino. (In addition to being an award-winning actor, Sorvino is also an accomplished painter and sculptor.)

The long journey to the gala was now over and it was time for the award ceremony to begin.

Agam was one of only two recipients of the 2017 “Warrior for Truth” award—the other was Miloš Zeman, President of the Czech Republic.

Agam was introduced to the crowd of over 600 guests by his long-time friend, Abraham Foxman, President of the Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

In his introduction, Foxman noted how difficult it was to convey the impact of Agam’s work using only words.

“Words alone cannot do him justice,” Foxman said. “His creativity, his form of expression, is in the image. It is the eye rather than the ear that appreciates Yaacov’s genius.”

Following his comments, Foxman brought Agam onto the stage. After a long pause, Agam declared, “You don’t expect me to talk,” eliciting warm laughter from the crowd.

Agam’s subsequent comments stressed the importance of visual communication over verbal communication. He argued that, following the Great Flood in the Bible, God sent his blessing for a better future in the form of a rainbow—a visual symbol that could be understood across language and cultural barriers.

Agam then offered his own “visual blessing” to the J100 audience. He had provided a work of his kinetic art for every person in the crowd, similar to his “Rainbow Visual Prayer” series.

As he held up an example of the artwork, Agam told the crowd that the “blessing of the rainbow” was meant to convey a message of “tolerance and understanding” for all.

Yaacov Agam, Warrior for Truth Award, Algemeiner's J100 Gala

(Photo: YouTube)

Following the gala, Albert and Mitsie Scaglione hopped on a private jet, headed back to Michigan, where the new exhibit “Agam”—a retrospective of the some of the artist’s most significant museum exhibitions—was debuting to celebrate the re-opening of the newly revitalized Park West Museum.

Keeping in the spirit of Agam’s “Warrior for Truth” Award, Park West is honoring the launch of the “Agam” exhibit and their expanded museum space by making a $10,000 donation to the Gershon Jacobson Jewish Continuity Fund.

“There was no way I was going to let Agam miss receiving that award,” Scaglione said. “Even if it meant running through the streets of New York in the rain. His artwork is both universal and proudly Jewish, and I’m so grateful that people recognize what an unquestionably positive influence Agam has had on the world around him.”

 

For more information about Agam and his works, or to add an iconic work by Yaacov Agam to your collection, contact our gallery consultants at (800) 521-9654 ext. 4 during business hours, or email sales@parkwestgallery.com.

2 Responses to How Yaacov Agam Became a Warrior For Truth (With a Little Help From His Friends)

  1. Wai says:

    I recently purchased x2 Agam on Holland of America cruise in Iceland to add to one I already have at home ;totally amazing kinetics and a real visual blessing . Thank you MrAgam. Wishing you good health and a speedy recovery

  2. John and Denal Jurin says:

    What a fantastic piece on Yaacov Agam and his trials of getting to this impressive J100 gala event held for him and one other person. I do not presently own any of Yaacov art. However that being said doesn’t mean I do not understand what he was saying Visual over Verbal. I the Lord asked me what one sense would you not be able to live without, I would positively without hesitation say My Sight, I love the beauty of Art in many forms, Childrens and Adult expressions. I love looking at Clouds in the sky, Flowers, rain as it hits the windows and slides down the pane. Rainbows are my favorite for it has all the colors in them. Thank You for posting such and awesome article of Yaacov Agam. John and Denal Jurin

Leave a comment

Prove you\'re human. *

Latest News

  • Collect Original Graphic Works by Salvador Dali in Our New Fall Sale

    Salvador Dalí is one of the most famous artists of the 20th century. Now you have the opportunity to collect works from the internationally renowned Surrealist in our ...
    Read More
  • Meet the Artist: 10 Questions with Patrick Guyton

    Patrick Guyton has combined his passion for ancient art techniques with a tenacious work ethic to create a truly unique body of work.Guyton’s art is a sight to behold. ...
    Read More
  • Park West CEO Provides Insight into ‘Self-Destructing’ Banksy Art

    Famous street artist Banksy has made art history by having one of his paintings elaborately destroy itself immediately after being sold for $1.4 million.The unprecedented stunt took place at Sotheby’s ...
    Read More
  • Park West Auctioneer Spotlight: Alex White

    It takes a special kind of person to head off onto the high seas to spread their love of art to travelers around the world.Alex White is one of those ...
    Read More
  • The History of Picasso Ceramics: How Picasso Changed Pottery Forever

    Between 1946 and 1973, Pablo Picasso created a breathtaking collection of original ceramic works.Over the past 50 years, Park West Museum has developed one of the largest collections ...
    Read More
  • Understanding the Delicate Process Behind the Art of Patrick Guyton

    The artistic process Patrick Guyton uses to create his art is exacting, volatile, and precarious. This may sound hyperbolic, but for Guyton, something as simple as using the wrong ...
    Read More
  • Park West Gallery Enhances the Art Experience with New Interactive Technology

    As Park West Gallery celebrates 50 years in business, it’s continuing its mission of reimagining the art world with new and innovative ways for people to interact with art.Park West ...
    Read More
  • Meet James Coleman: 10 Questions with the Acclaimed Artist

    If you’re not familiar with the name “James Coleman,” you’re definitely familiar with his work.For over 17 years, Coleman supervised the creation of the hand-painted backgrounds for some of ...
    Read More
  • Behind the Artist: Patrick Guyton

    The path to becoming an internationally renowned fine artist might not be paved in gold, and that’s fine with Patrick Guyton—he prefers to put gold to better use.Guyton’s own ...
    Read More
  • From Disney to Fine Art: Marvel at the Artwork of James Coleman

    
    Read More
  • Patrick Guyton’s Gilded Art Shines in New Limited-Time Fall Sale Collection

    Veiled women, tranquil koi ponds, and graceful birds—these are just some of the zen-like images you’ll encounter in the gilded world of artist Patrick Guyton.You can enter this shimmering ...
    Read More
  • What Are Etchings and How Are Etchings Made?

    Etchings have been hugely influential in art history, particularly in the development of printmaking.The art of etching is one of the oldest printmaking mediums—originating in the 15th century and evolving ...
    Read More