Israel Arts and Architecture

According to ehotelat, the artistic movement in the land of Israel has its first impulses with the foundation in Jerusalem of the Bezalel Academy (1906) by B. Schatz and with artists such as N. Gutman, R. Rubin, S. Tagger etc. But the most significant personalities for the opening towards more current forms are Y. Zaritzky, M. Janco and M. Ardon. In 1948, the New Horizons group was formed in Tel Aviv, combining European experiences with forms and images of oriental inspiration, alongside contents linked to the new history of the nation (M. Janco, Y. Zaritzky, AH Kahana, Y. Wexler, A. Ticho, Y. Streichman, A. Stematsky, L. Nikel, A. Aroch). In 1955 the Group of 10 (with Stematsky, Nikel, Aroch themselves) turned more decisively towards abstractionism, while surrealist tendencies were formed (S. Bak, Israel Bergner); Y. Agam, resident of Paris, becomes known for his optical-kinetic compositions. The graphic activity is also interesting (T. Beeri, Y. Griffith). The activities of the 10 + Group (founded in Tel Aviv, 1965) and the Mashkof group of Jerusalem, which marks the advent of pop art, happenings, environments in Israel are worthy of mention.

In sculpture, past the ancient religious prohibition to represent the human figure, trendy artists have excelled both figurative (R. Lehman, Israel Danziger) and abstract (I. Tumazkin; M. Kadishman, with elegant geometric shapes; D . Karavan, with his sculptures-architectures; M. Gross, P. Eshet, Y. Shemy). Notable center of artistic activity is the city of Safed, which houses the studios of major artists; the artists’ village Ein-Hod (Haifa), founded in 1953 by M. Janco, hosts exhibitions and conferences.

The artistic production of the last decades of the 20th century. it offers a varied panorama, marked by personal tensions, by themes of political and social criticism and a re-examination of the past that reflect the dramatic situation of the country. The new means of expression (installation, photography, video, computerized image), which flank the traditional ones, help to deconstruct the myths and stereotypes of an Israeli cultural identity, signal paths of violence, show attempts to break away from a local reality to express affinity and peculiarity towards a global cultural hegemony. These characteristics emerge from the exhibitions of the most important museums of Israel as well as from the works presented at international reviews or from Israeli art exhibitions abroad, particularly in the United States. The protagonists range from exponents of the first avant-garde, such as L. Nikel, to the most recent generations. Among the latter are mentioned: M. Kadishman, author of monumental sculptures, with works at the limit of conceptual art, installations and paintings; B. Schwartz, who experimented with traditional sculpture and video sculpture; M. Ulman, with works of environmental art and installations; J. Neustein, a significant exponent of conceptual art; A. Geva; M. Mizrachi, who after a start in the field of performance has developed sculptures and installations; N. Tevet, Z. Goldstein, with a conceptual minimalist language; U. Katzenstein, which ranges from sculpture to visual and sound installation, to performance; D. Reeb, who bases his paintings on newspaper photographs; T. Geva, who elaborates themes of the contemporary and traditional imaginary; S. Shirman, M. Heiman, in the photograph; P. Rantzer, with installations; Aya & Gal Middle East, which create interactive works, videos, websites; U. Tzaig, who works on perception with objets trouvées or with video; M. Cabessa, who creates oils on masonite by tracing the movements of his own body; G. Nader, who uses various media and in particular photography. Among the younger artists we mention, in the field of painting, N. Hod and M. Porat; in the installation, video installation, videosculpture, A. Leibman, A. Ben-Chorin, Y. Amid.

The architectural works and urban developments are remarkable both for the quantity of realizations, also as a consequence of the growth of the national territory and immigration, and for the modernity of the solutions adopted, sensitive to the influence of the Bauhaus, Gropius or Le Corbusier, and related for the most part to the creation of planned neighborhoods (the so-called Shikun): we should remember, in particular, the achievements of the Ramat Eshkol neighborhood of Jerusalem, the city of Beersheba, the port of Ashdod. In addition to the interventions by O. Niemeyer and L. Kahn, among the most significant Israeli architects, we remember: S. Shaked, E. Sharon, A. Neuman, M. and S. Nadler, R. Karmi, A. Mansfeld, F. Kiesler, D. Eitan, Z. Hecker and, among the buildings of the most original artistic setting, the National Museum of Jerusalem, the Tel Aviv museum, the new Jerusalem theater, the Bat Yam town hall, the universities of Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv. Furthermore, the drafting of the new grandiose regulatory plan for Jerusalem in 2020, approved by the World Committee for Jerusalem, should not be neglected.

Echoes of the tradition of rational architecture punctuated architectural production in the late 20th century. and the beginning of the 21st, with interventions to recover the local dimension and attention to the development of the principles of Mediterranean architecture, without neglecting a strong projection towards new technologies. Among the most significant works created by Israeli architects and notable works commissioned to foreign personalities are: in Jerusalem the Supreme Court building of A. Karmi-Melamede and R. Karmi (1992), the National Palace (1995) and the International School for Holocaust Studies (2000) by D. Guggenheim and A. Bloch; in Acre the Municipal Court of J. and A. Rechter, G. Heller, S. Zarfati and Y. Kriscky (1995) and the Wall Gate Hotel & Tower by J. and J. Shiloni (1997); in Tel Aviv the new Cymbalist synagogue by M. Botta (1998), the Palmac Museum of History by Z. Hecker (2002). the Museum of Holocaust Victims in Jerusalem by M. Safdie (2005).

Israel Arts and Architecture

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