This year’s Fresh Paint art fair ‘takes the temperature’ of Israeli society

Some 40,000 visitors expected at annual Tel Aviv art fair slated for early July, where emerging artists meet new collectors for affordable prices

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

Visitors on a tour during the 2023 Fresh Paint art fair. (Courtesy)
Visitors on a tour during the 2023 Fresh Paint art fair. (Courtesy)

Like so many art gatherings over the last months, this year’s Fresh Paint art fair, considered the country’s largest art event, is going ahead in the shadow of war, aiming to give hope around the role of art in people’s lives, said its co-founder and art director Yifat Gurion.

Fresh Paint will take place July 3-8, in Tel Aviv’s new Hadar Yosef urban sports center.

There will be some 40 exhibits set in the gyms and outdoor tennis courts, showcasing the works of dozens of participating artists, including 42 independent artists in the Independent Artists’ Greenhouse section of the fair. It will feature new, full bodies of work by promising artists at the start of their career.

The work of another 40 artists will be displayed in the Design section of the event, showing works of ceramic, glass and wood, among others.

This year’s art event will look closely at the ongoing war and hostage situation, representing artists evacuated from the north and south, as they deal with loss and hope, and yearn for better times.

“Fresh Paint always takes the temperature of Israeli society,” said Gurion. “And it’s not a regular year at all.”

Works about the last eight months since the October 7, 2023 Hamas attack, will be part of the 2024 Fresh Paint art fair, July 3-8, 2024. (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)

The art event generally pulls in some 40,000 visitors, offering exposure to artists and in turn, to audiences who don’t always have the opportunity to view and purchase affordable art. “That’s important, especially in a tough period like now,” said Gurion.

Prices for artists’ work at Fresh Paint are lower than in artists’ galleries, in order to create a meeting point for the public and artists.

“It’s so that anyone can appreciate art and have it at home and not leave it on the white walls of a museum,” said Gurion, speaking at a press conference for the event.

The art event is sponsored by the Harel insurance group in partnership with the Tel Aviv Municipality, “all partners in the same values,” said Revital Ben-Asher Peretz, a ceramicist who also acts as an adviser to the municipality on art. “Pluralism, democracy and freedom of expression.”

Ben-Asher Peretz said that despite the national budget cuts to culture and the arts, Tel Aviv still invests 6% of its budget to arts and culture and artists and institutions, and invested NIS 700,000 (around $188,000) in the relocated Kibbutz Beeri gallery, currently operating out of its Beit Romano location in Tel Aviv.

The recently relocated Beeri Gallery will award a solo exhibit to one winning artist from Fresh Paint.

One of the Secret Postcards in Fresh Paint 2023, taking place July 3-8, 2024 (Courtesy)

This year’s Fresh Paint will also include a group exhibit from Sapir College in Sderot, featuring works by students, graduates and a lecturer who all live in the Negev and submitted pieces that refer to the painful complications of life in that region, before and after October 7.

Sderot’s Umm Culture art center is cooperating with Fresh Paint on the art event’s annual and popular Secret Postcard social flagship project.

The initiative always hosts an exhibit of original postcard-sized art, each one sold for NIS 190 (about $51), with all revenues raised for social activism.

This year, all revenues from the Secret Postcard project will be transferred to Umm Culture for the benefit of establishing and operating open studio spaces for artists and other participants.

The 150 participating artists of the nearly 2,000 postcard-sized artworks include well-known names such as Efrat Galnoor, Eliahou Eric Bokobza, Zoya Cherkassky, Chanan de Lange, Natalia Zourbova, Ziva Jelin, students from Sapir College and Tel-Hai College and others. The artist’s identity is kept secret until after the purchase.

The online store will be launched on June 20.

Another exhibit includes artists who have turned to the Fresh Paint curators to create a platform for their artistic reactions to the Hamas attack on October 7.

There are also works from a collective of Palestinian and Israeli artists, still working together, along with a project of artists who left Russia or Ukraine during the last two years of the war.

There are exhibits unrelated to October 7 as well, including one with art school Shenkar and another marking 70 years since the founding of design label Maskit.

One of the winning paintings from Fresh Paint 2023, by Shahaf Levi. (Courtesy)

The beloved local social project Kuchinate, with colorful crocheted household goods made by African women refugees, has been remade as Hiwat, and one exhibit offers a look at how these women are moving forward.

There are art activities for kids, exhibit tours, workshops with artists and works for sale.

Visit the Fresh Paint website for tickets and more information.

Most Popular
read more: