Singing stars out at night among Israel Museum sculptures
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Singing stars out at night among Israel Museum sculptures

Jerusalem's premier art institution puts on a week of nighttime garden performances beginning July 11

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Robert Indiana's 1977 sculpture 'Ahava' at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem (Wikimedia Commons/ Pikiwikisrael CC BY 2.5)
Robert Indiana's 1977 sculpture 'Ahava' at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem (Wikimedia Commons/ Pikiwikisrael CC BY 2.5)

It is the season of outdoor concerts and events, and the Israel Museum’s sculpture garden is a particularly magical spot for listening to music under the skies.

There, seated on cushions or chairs placed on the white pebbled ground, or perched on the concrete base of Robert Indiana’s iconic “Ahava” sculpture, audiences can hear a broad cross-section of Israeli performers during the second week of July, from Monday, July 11, through Thursday, July 14.

The first concert on Monday, July 11, brings beloved Israeli performers Yehudit Ravitz and Shalom Hanoch, followed on Tuesday, July 12, by the punk-like Aviv Geffen with Eviatar Banai, who are finishing up a year of joint performances.

Wednesday, July 13, offers seven pianists, including Israeli favorites Matti Caspi, Rami Kleinstein, Shlomo Gronich and Marina Maximilian with composer and pianist Gil Shohat, and the final evening, Thursday, July 14, features rocker Berry Sakharof on the sculpture garden stage.

The idea of the concerts, said museum events planner Neta Cohen, is to bring different audiences to the museum, and specifically to the garden, paying homage to the mix of modern sculptures placed strategically along its paths and pebbled areas.

The seven pianists, performing at the Israel Museum on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 (Courtesy Inbal Marmary)
The seven pianists performing at the Israel Museum on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 (Courtesy Inbal Marmary)

The sculptures are many and varied, from classic sculptors such as Henry Moore and Auguste Rodin to modernists like Pablo Picasso, Robert Indiana and James Turrell. There are sinewed bodies and Cubist forms, white-bricked structures and silvered tree branches (which are meant to mimic the body’s veins) reaching up to the sky.

The garden, named for donor Billy Rose, a Hollywood producer and major donor to the museum, and created by Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi in the early 1960s, was built on five crescent-shaped areas, each on a different level, with paths bordered by local vegetation, olive trees and pines, rosemary bushes and almond trees.

A relatively new addition to the sculpture garden, 'Inversion (2008),' by American artist Roxy Paine, rising 42-feet tall and hand-constructed out of over 7,000 metal plate, pipe, and rod stainless steel elements. The piece weighs four tons and was welded into position with the help of cranes (Sophie Gordon/Flash 90)
A relatively new addition to the sculpture garden, ‘Inversion (2008),’ by American artist Roxy Paine, rising 42 feet tall and constructed out of over 7,000 metal plate, pipe, and rod stainless steel elements. The piece weighs four tons and was welded into position with the help of cranes (Sophie Gordon/Flash 90)

“It all faces west,” said Cohen. “When you’re out here at night, listening to music and looking up at the sky, it creates a kind of secular holiness.”

For more information about LIVE at the Museum, go to the Israel Museum website for times and ticket prices.

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