Tuesday, May 12, 2020

International Museum Day Celebrated by Cyberangels Virtual Flights

Rembrandt Cyberangels Fly Worldwide from Israel on International Museum Day

International Museum Day on May 18, 2020 coincides with the global tribute to Rembrandt on the 350th anniversary of his death and the global closure of museums by the coronavirus pandemic.


The theme of International Museum Day, “Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion,” celebrated throughout the world is being realized by artist Mel Alexenberg launching Rembrandt-inspired cyberangels to 30 museums on five continents that have his “Digitized Homage to Rembrandt” artworks in their collections.

As an artist who has pioneered in creating art in virtual space, he is sending cyberangels from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem to each of the 30 museums listed at end of this press release.

Alexenberg created the Global Tribute to Rembrandt blog to visually document each of the cyberangel virtual flights. The documentation was augmented by texts on the impact of digital culture on art that he developed as research fellow at MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies and professor at Columbia University and universities in Israel.

The coronavirus indiscriminately attacked all humanity equally forcing the doors of museums throughout the world to close. However, many have creatively responded to the closure of physical space by opening virtual windows to the world.



High Museum of Art in Atlanta represents an exemplary digital age response. On opening the museum’s website, you read: COVID-19: Our building may be closed, but you can still experience art 24/7. Explore High.org for social connection, virtual events, inspiring images, art activities, and informative videos.” 

It is significant that many museums throughout the world have closed their physical space but opened in virtual space. As the pandemic has forced us to stay at home away from everyone, the world of smartphones, laptops, Zoom, and the Internet is inviting us to come out and connect to anyone. 

Mel Alexenberg launched a cyberangel on a faxart flight around the globe via AT&T satellites on the 320th anniversary of Rembrandt’s death. On the morning of October 4, 1989, it ascended from New York, flew to Amsterdam to Jerusalem to Tokyo to Los Angeles, returning to New York on the same afternoon. When it passed through Tokyo, it was already the morning of October 5th. Cyberangels cannot only fly around the globe, they can fly into tomorrow and back into yesterday.



As the digitized angel passed through the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam, Alexenberg received it in Rembrandt’s studio dressed in period garb.

He is reactivating a cyberangel team led by the angel Raphael to return to museums when they reopen to herald the grand finale of the corona plague. The angel Raphael works to heal bodies, minds and spirits. “Raphael” is related to the word rophe, the divine healer in biblical Hebrew (Exodus 15: 26), and medical doctor in contemporary Hebrew.



Cyberangels emerge from the cover of Professor Alexenberg’s highly acclaimed book Through a Bible Lens that offers biblical insights for the new media age. The cover shows cyberangels ascending from a NASA satellite image of the Land of Israel as they emerge from a smartphone screen. It illustrates the biblical commentary that the angels in Jacob’s dream go up from the Land of Israel and come down to earth throughout the world. A ladder was standing on the ground, its top reaching up towards heaven as divine angels were going up and down on it.” (Genesis 28: 12) A smartphone has the power to make this vision a reality.

Through a Bible Lens was published shortly before the corona pandemic erupted, anticipating the need for spiritual insights for coping with the radical changes in our lives in physical isolation while demonstrating how new media can connect us in virtual space. The book demonstrates to people of all faiths how biblical insights can transform life, in good times and bad, into imaginative ways of seeing spirituality in all that we do.

For further information, contact Mel Alexenberg, melalexenberg@yahoo.com, phone +972-52-855-1223 in Israel where the artist lives

Artist Mel Alexenberg’s “Digitized Homage to Rembrandt” artworks are in the collections of the museums listed below. Scroll down on this blog to see separate posts about each museum.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York CityMuseum of Modern Art, New York City; Everson Museum of Art, SyracuseNew York; National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AlabamaHunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga, Tennessee; Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio; Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OhioMeridian Museum of Art, Meridian, Mississippi; University of Kentucky Art Museum, Lexington, Kentucky; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, Louisiana; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MissouriMidwest Museum of American Art, Elkhart, IndianaUniversity of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, Michigan; San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, TexasGreenville Museum of Art, Greenville, North CarolinaUniversity of Wyoming Art Museum, Laramie, Wyoming; Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, Canada; Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel; Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa, IsraelJewish Museum in PragueCzech RepublicMuseum of Fine Arts, Budapest, HungaryMuseum of Modern Art, Vienna, AustriaMalmo Art Museum, Malmo, SwedenRembrandt House Museum, Amsterdam, The NetherlandsArt Museum of The HagueThe Netherlands; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, EnglandQueen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia;  Museum of Contemporary ArtCaracas, Venezuela

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