By Rivka Borochov
A vibrant art culture has emerged over the last six decades of Israel’s statehood. The center of that culture, Tel Aviv, is celebrating the country’s young artists throughout 2012 with its Art Year initiative.
Most of the events
will be lined up over four action-packed days, but unusual art projects are going to be springing up all year, say organizers.
From March 21 to 24, Art Year festivities inside and outside of Tel Aviv’s galleries will be devoted mainly to plastic arts and dance, but also to music and street theater along with special exhibits and conferences to educate young artists on how to grow their art into a business.
Embracing crossover projects with artists from cities such as Berlin, the event also will cater to the gay art scene, and will offer attractions for tourists and local artists alike. Dance, film, music, and all kinds of arts will mix and mingle with daily life on the sidewalks of Tel Aviv-Jaffa.
Major investment in the arts has already reached boiling point in the seaside city. Just a few months ago, a $55 million, five-story addition to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art
opened in order to showcase one of the world's best collections of Israeli art.
The Tel Aviv Cinemateque just underwent a six-year, $50 million renovation, and its renowned Habima Theatre got a recent facelift as well.
Art is Israel’s best export
Adi Yekutieli, director of Art Year, says that art is Israel’s best export because it represents the culture of Israel in a way that transcends politics: “When you view it from a global perspective, art here has two sides. One is outside, out to the world, and there is another side done inside the country,” he says.
Yekutieli knows the Israeli art scene as a true insider. His son Adam
is Israel’s most famous graffiti and street artist, who goes by the name Know Hope. He drops messages like peace bombs
for social commentary throughout Tel Aviv.
As part of the Art Year kickoff, a 24-hour event at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art is to feature Batsheva Dance Company choreographer and artistic director Ohad Naharin
. Visitors will have the opportunity to try out his innovative movement language, Gaga, in the galleries of the museum.
The ninth annual White Night
extravaganza will juice up Art Year in June, as 50 of the Bauhaus buildings that made Tel Aviv a UNESCO-recognized “White City” will get lit up as a backdrop to all-night-long entertainment. During White Night, about a quarter-million Israelis and tourists stay out until dawn roaming the streets, buying arts and crafts, enjoying food and drink along with concerts and performances.
Last year’s White Night celebrants on Rothschild Boulevard.
(Photo courtesy of Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality)
Among the other cutting-edge art projects supported as part of Art Year Tel Aviv is a novel one replicated from an underground movement started in Linz, Austria.
The future Pixel Hotel on the Tel Aviv beach
Young Israeli designers and architects will be converting an unused lifeguard shack in the winter months into a one-room hotel later this year as the Middle East’s first Pixel Hotel. A project of Israel’s Atlas boutique hotel chain and the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality, it is expected to be ready by the fall.