We had the good fortune of connecting with Rotem Rozental and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rotem, what role has risk played in your life or career?
There is no fixed set of rules that will guarantee success. There is no one formula to follow. If anything, the only model that we can rely on is that along the way we would need to pivot, pivot and pivot again. Professions that seemed solid and safe are gone. New areas of expertise are expanding and changing in the most exciting ways. We have to be flexible and adaptable in our approach. Risk, to a certain extent, is an integral element of the path forward.
Perhaps what we think about as taking risks is simply being open, flexible and amenable to change. And that is precisely what helps us find our place in the world. My dad used to say that No is a given, why not try and turn it into a yes? My husband and I took a great leap when we decided to leave Israel and relocate to Upstate New York, for me to purse m Ph.D. We then took another leap by relocating to Southern California. We would have never imagined living in Los Angeles, but here we found our home. Immigration, even under the best conditions possible, is never easy and smooth. But the challenges we took defined us and helped us reach to the unexpected, beyond our wildest dreams.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am the recently appointed Executive Director of the Los Angeles Center of Photography, which supports, nurtures and elevates image-driven creative practice in L.A. and beyond. LACP has built a thriving community of artists, educators, creators and organizers, and it is an absolute honor to join the team. In my role, I get to collaborate with the community, stakeholders and the incredible staff around programming, classes, workshops, events and, more broadly, around the present and future of LACP.
This role provides a fascinating meeting point between creativity, leadership and administrative capacities, which is a reflection for the way my professional path has been shaped. To be an effective leader means to have a clear view for details, but never lose sight of the bigger picture. It’s a skill one develops over time. I had the good fortune of working with artists, organizing creative projects, collaborating with non-profits, writing, conducting research and organizing exhibitions and public programs all across the globe, from Tel Aviv to New York, Los Angeles and Liverpool. I learned so many lessons, about how to work with a team, how to convey and outline a vision, how to be diligent about the goals and charting a path to realize them. I learned how I want to be treated as a team member, and how I would like people on my teams to feel. I learned how arts is imperative to the health of our global and regional ecosystem, and how important it is to nurture artists throughout all stages of their careers. My route was not always easy, but it has been definitely fascinating, even though I always think a reality TV show about my life would be incredibly boring, as it would feature hours and hours on end of a person typing away on their computer, silently sipping matcha latte with oat milk.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Live shows at The Lodge Room. Kite Festival at L.A. State Historic Park. Community Arts Festival at Arts at Blue Roof. Meeting artists at The Other Art Fair. Zuma Beach when it’s really early, and there’s still parking available. An afternoon of exhibitions at Downtown L.A. Early drink at the Blind Barber. Bowling and dinner at Highland Park Bowl. The list goes on. It’s endless and always surprising.
Some words need to be said about vegan culinary adventures L.A. has to offer. Vegan Exchange L.A. hosts a festival of vegan food trucks every Sunday (https://www.veganexchangeevents.com/). Crossroads Kitchen will blow your mind. Gracias Madre is a favorite among vegans and non-vegans alike. Blazin’ Burgers is women owned, and serves the best burgers in town (https://www.blazin-burgersla.com/). Gokoku serves amazing sushi and ramen (https://www.gokoku-ramen.com/). Veggie House’s dumpling soup will make you so so happy (https://veggie-house-ca.com/). Sun Cafe is a great spot for outdoor hang out (https://suncafe.com/). And the list goes on! L.A. is a haven for vegans, and we are incredibly grateful. And full. Always very, very full.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I owe so much to many amazing people and organizations that supported my work over the years. First and foremost, my ride or die, my husband – Roy Regev, without whom nothing would have happened. We are partners in the deepest sense of the word. Our children, Elliott and Juno, continue to define our world in the most fascinating ways each and every day. Their love means everything. I am also indebted to a long line of women that have stood firmly and opened the door open wide for me to walk through and join a very long journey. Starting with my mother, who taught me to stand on my own two feet and work hard to achieve what I want, through a long, incredible line of mentors, colleagues, collaborators and co-conspirators that have helped me find a voice and claim its presence in the world.
I was also deeply honored to be supported by and become a member of a number of organizations that have helped me define my career, including Independent Curators International, Artis and ArtTable. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with groundbreaking organizations, including Dia: Beacon and analytical trailblazers like the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. American Jewish University was my home for over five years, and afforded wonderful opportunities to support artists in and beyond Los Angeles. My Dissertation advisor and mentor, John Tagg, recently retired from teaching. I feel so incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from and with him, it was a life defining experience.
I am also grateful to my new community at the Los Angeles Center of Photography, whose members and participants re-define lens-based practice in one of the most fascinating urban areas in the world.
Portrait: Roy Regev Fresh As, Exhibition Opening, Melanie Chapman, LACP at Sovern Studio, LA. Curators: Ali Leroi, Shawn Theodore
– Exhibition View, This is Not Halfway, Gal Amiram and Shasha Dothan, American Jewish University, 2017. Curator: Dr. Rotem Rozental
– Exhibition View, Broken Cisterns, Eliyahu Fatal (Eli Petel), American Jewish University, 2018. Co-curators: Leah Abir, Dr. Rotem Rozental
– Opening Night, The Distance Between the Grooves in My Fingerprint, Christy Roberts Berkowitz, American Jewish University, 2018. Curator: Dr. Rotem Rozental.
– Barnett Cohen facilitating a workshop, IJC artists retreat, American Jewish University, 2017.
– Opening Night, Emotional Labor, American Jewish University, 2019. Curator: Dr. Rotem Rozental.
– Jenny Yurshansky and Rotem Rozental in front of a collaborative piece created by Jenny, her mother, and dozens of students from Jewish day schools in L.A. Opening event for A Legacy of Loss: There Were No Roses There, by Jenny Yurshansky. American Jewish University, 2022. Curator: Dr. Rotem Rozental