Culture calls

Several Israeli museums reopen with new exhibits

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Design Museum Holon, Bat Yam Museum of Art and several others open with shorter hours, guiding apps and outdoor exhibits

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

Jeff Koons' artworks set up in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, now reopened on June 2, after the coronavirus closure. (courtesy, Elad Sarig)
Jeff Koons' artworks set up in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, now reopened on June 2, after the coronavirus closure. (courtesy, Elad Sarig)

Museums are opening their doors again in Israel, after months of closure.

The largest museum to reopen is the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, which welcomed visitors on Monday with an event to salute medical workers, to be followed by a June 2 reopening for the general public.

The museum was closed for more than two months, shutting its doors several days after the opening of the long-awaited Jeff Koons exhibit, “Absolute Value — From the Marie and Jose Mugrabi Collection.”

Along with the works by Koons are exhibits by international artists William Kentridge, Rachel McLean, and Raymond Pettibon, as well as solo exhibits by Israeli artists Karen Russo and Daniel Tsal.

The museum’s reopening will include a virtual exhibit in New York City’s Times Square, arranged with Israeli-owned New York gallery ZAZ10TS, that will also be shown on the museum’s social media pages. Tickets will be sold online and a new voice-guided app will offer a socially-distanced option for visitors.

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art will exhibit video works in New York City’s Time Square in collaboration with ZAZ10TS, an Israeli-owned art gallery on Seventh Avenue. (courtesy, Tel Aviv Museum of Art)

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art will be open five days a week: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.; and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Holon’s museums aren’t open yet, but the exhibit “Face:Safe” 24/7 will open in the garden next to the Israeli Cartoon Museum in Holon, with free entrance, from June 10 through August 31. The exhibit features more than a dozen artists, designers, and others showing their take on the new reality of mask-wearing.

“Now that putting on a mask has become the rule, it was clear that masks would capture the imagination of designers, fashion houses and creative types,” wrote curator Rafi Vazana. “Making lemonade out of lemons has become a motto, and designing masks created an occupation for designers around the world and gave them the opportunity to create something unique, with a personal motto and aesthetic.”

Other museum re-openings include the Bat Yam Museum of Art, which will reopen for visitors on June 6, 2020, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., with a solo exhibition by artist Eli Petel, “Since Measurements Began,” through October 10, 2020.

One of the photograph’s from artist Eli Patel’s solo exhibit at the Bat Yam Museum of Art, reopening June 6, 2020. (Courtesy Eli Patel)

Petel delves into the inseparable link between interior and exterior, with an exhibit of 30 works, including the museum building itself, a Brutalist floating pavilion constructed in 1961. The pavilion was closed, partitioned, and sealed in recent years, and Petel’s first work was to tear down partitions, as part of his overall message.

The rest of the exhibit is photographs, taken in the street, market and studio, capturing mundane moments and treating them with reverence, whether that is the mud around a drain, rotting banana peels, or a grille set in a doorway.

The Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art re-opened May 18 with an exhibit that opened before the March closure, “Portrait Time II,” which contains seven solo exhibitions by Leonid Balaklav, Iddo Markus, Jan Rauchwerger, Aharon Shaul Schur, Elie Shamir, and Michal Mamit Worke, looking at portraits and their significance.

These exhibitions, originally planned to close in June, will be on view through August 2020.

The Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art will be open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. The entrance fee is NIS 30, with free admission for children under 18.

Jerusalem museums have not reopened yet. They are, however, still offering virtual tours and experiences online.

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