Spiritual seeking is highlighted in trippy Tel Aviv art exhibit
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Spiritual seeking is highlighted in trippy Tel Aviv art exhibit

Collection of contemplative artwork includes pieces by Hilma af Klint, Emma Kunz, Marina Abramovic and others

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

Looking for something, in Montean/Rosenblum's untitled work, currently on display at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in 'A New Age: The Spiritual in Art' (Courtesy Tel Aviv Museum of Art)
Looking for something, in Montean/Rosenblum's untitled work, currently on display at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in 'A New Age: The Spiritual in Art' (Courtesy Tel Aviv Museum of Art)

Tel Aviv may be known for its party scene, but it’s all about the spirit and contemplation in “A New Age: The Spiritual in Art,” which opened August 1 at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and will close February 1, 2020.

The exhibit, housed in the bottom floor of the Herta and Paul Amir wing of the museum, opens with the massive works of Hilma af Klint, perhaps the best-known of the six artists and pairs presented.

Klint was considered one of the founders of the new age artistic movement, even if she wasn’t labeled as such in her nearly 60 years of artistic productivity.

The exhibit opens with four of her massive works on paper painted in 1907 and representing the stages of life with their circular shapes, ellipses and curved lines.

Hilma af Klint’s ‘Adulthood,’ on display at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (Courtesy the Hilma af Klint Foundation)

The first section of the exhibit presents  her works, both small and large, before moving into the smaller, more crowded works of Emma Kunz, a slightly younger Swiss artist whose pieces have the even, penciled look of a mandala.

The collection of square works is  perfect for sitting and contemplating; Kunz thought of herself as creating works for emotional repair and prophecy.

From there, it’s on to the performance art-like works of Marina Abramovic, a New Yorker originally from Yugoslovia who brings her life-size personality and crystals to Tel Aviv, in the shape of giant crystal clogs as well as a crystal-embedded table with crystal pillow that invite visitors to try on the shoes and lie on the table, taking a few minutes to ponder life and find calm and healing.

Emma Kunz’s Work no. 380, pencil and crayon on paper 80×80 cm (Courtesy Tel Aviv Museum of Art)

There are male artists as well in this collection of spiritual seekers, including Austrian artist Markus Muntean of Muntean/Rosenblum, who works in Vienna with his life partner, Israeli Adi Rosenblum, on larger than life chalk and oil canvases, stretched billboard-like across the gallery walls.

The artworks, drawn in unison by both artists, show contemporary teenagers and twenty-somethings, often gazing at their phones but with light pouring in from above, offering a different kind of spiritual experience — but still strangely potent.

Slip your feet into these crystal slippers by Marina Abramovich at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (Courtesy Sebastanio Pellion di Persano )

There is a video work by Parisian artist Maxime Rossi, who presents “Real Estate Astrology,” a 3D-viewed work about spiritual seekings and surroundings in Sedona, Arizona, followed by the final room that belongs to works by Friedrich Kunath and Adam Rabinowitz.

The professional pair live and work in Los Angeles, and offer a psychedelic feel in their paintings and installments, with giant penny loafers stuffed with a mushroom, pastel rainbows and a hippy couple lit up with acid green lights.

From beginning to end, it’s a trip.

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