What’s New at the Tel Aviv Museum?

April 2nd 2012

The groundbreaking new wing of the Tel Aviv Museum

Tel Aviv, often thought of as the modern face of Israel, has long been a world-renowned center for arts and culture. The White City has proven its place once again with the recently unveiled Herta and Paul Amir Building at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, which opened in November 2011.

The Museum is now worth a visit just to check out the cool new modern building, which is reminiscent of a Frank Gehry design with its unusual shape and asymmetrical angles. Designed by architect Preston Scott Cohen, who heads up the architecture department at Harvard, the building has received international praise. The New York Times recently published an article which noted that the structure “looks a bit like an elongated Rubik’s Cube doused with bleach,” and that “Cohen’s creation is pure pizzazz.”

The outside of the building is made up of 465 sheets of connecting concrete in all different shapes and sizes. Instead of stairs, the 20,000-square-meter interior is connected mostly by a ramp that winds up through its two floors below ground and three above. The new wing of the museum connects to the original blocky building, which was constructed in 1971 and offers a striking aesthetic contrast.

Of course, while admiring the architecture is fun, the “real” reason to visit a museum is to admire what is within. And the Tel Aviv Museum of Art is home to one of the world’s largest collections of Israeli art, so is a must-see for art lovers. The new wing hosts rotating exhibitions that highlight the work of modern Israeli and international artists in all media, from photography to sculpture, printmaking to video installations.

While the museum has been getting attention recently for its modern addition, it holds an important place in Tel Aviv’s history as well. Prime Minister David Ben Gurion officially announced the establishment of the state of Israel at the museum’s original building on Rothschild Boulevard on May 14, 1948. Today the Tel Aviv Museum of Art is part of the Golda Meir Cultural and Art Center, which also houses the Israeli Opera and the Cameri Theater.

The museum, which hosts over 500,000 visitors a year, often holds special events for people of all ages, so be sure to check their website or ask when you arrive. In honor of the groundbreaking new wing, Tel Aviv has declared 2012 Art Year, so there’s no better time to include the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in your tour to Israel.