In this series, we’ll take a look into Kiryat Hamelacha’s three new co-op galleries ArtSpace TLV, Hanina, and Indie Gallery. Kiryat Hamelacha is an and up and coming art neighborhood in south Tel Aviv. The locale is comprised of three small alley-like streets, named HaMifal, ‘the factory’, HaTnufa, ‘the impetus’, and HaMeretz, ‘the vigour’: fitting titles for a very active, frenzied neighborhood where workshops and small factories coexists alongside artist studios and galleries.
In the last year only, three co-op art galleries have opened their doors in the neighborhood and are now next door to existing commercial gallery spaces such as Raw Art, Rosenfeld Gallery, and Feinberg Projects. Culture Trip writer Ella Manor visited the shows and spoken to representatives at each gallery. Let’s see what they are saying about the new hot spot.
Manor interviewed Nir Harmat, ArtSpace’s Chief curator. A graduate of The Multidisciplinary Program in Arts at Tel Aviv University, Harmat and works in public spaces alongside commercial galleries.
The Culture Trip: When did the gallery venture into the world and what is it all about?
Nir Harmat: ArtSpace Tel Aviv was founded last year by a small group of devoted artists and curators. Our mission is to create and strengthen bonds between art lovers and artists, to encourage art in Israel, and to foster artistic collaboration and community. We are a non-profit organization located in the heart of Israel’s contemporary art scene, Kiryat Ha’Melaha neighborhood in Tel Aviv.
Who are the gallery owners and members and how is the space run? How are decisions made?
We have a team of artists and curators that manage and run the space collaboratively, and a group of leading artists that advise and support us.
Are you the only curator for the shows or do you use external curation?
No, we are open to external curators and accept proposals for shows all year long.
Do you also exhibit works by artists who are not members of the gallery? If so, How do you select them?
Yes, we are not a co-op gallery, we accept proposals from outside artists and we have an artistic committee that selects the shows. Some of our shows wouldn’t have had a space in commercial galleries. When we do collaborate with leading artists, we put an emphasis on showing leading artists while at same time giving exposure to less known artists whose work we believe in, fostering connection and mentorship in the community. We also like to mount shows that we feel have social importance, like our Call for Peace exhibit we have on display right now.
Tell me a bit about the neighborhood in terms of its art scene – and why was the gallery opened at Kiryat Hamelacha?
Kiryat Ha’Melacha is home to over 150 artist studios and numerous leading galleries and has become the heart of Israel’s contemporary art scene. We founded our gallery in this neighborhood in order to provide an access point for those who wish to explore its vibrant art scene. Art lovers and the professional art community can use ArtSpace Tel Aviv to broaden and enrich their access to local artists.
How do you see the neighborhood ten years from now?
As an Israeli SoHo, full of cafes, designer shops, graffiti, art, and street shows with a vibrant night life. I hope we’ll still be able to be here…
ArtSpace TLV is a non for profit Organization but also a type of co-op gallery at the same time. Is that correct? What are the advantages and disadvantages of exhibiting art in a NFP organization in your opinion?
We give our artist members a platform for sharing their portfolios and small works. We encourage our artists to submit proposals for shows but we also accept outside work. We are different from a commercial gallery in that we are less of an actor, we are here more to provide a space for the direct interaction between artists and the community. As a gallery, we don’t make a profit off the artists, but only take what we need to cover expenses for the show. We encourage direct buying from the artists. And we have a very wide audience because of our varied exhibits and our larger mission.
Do you feel that is gives the place more, or less freedom in the selection of work presented? And in terms of new approaches to curation?
Definitely more creative freedom.
How does ArtSpace sustain itself financially being a NFP organization?
With constant demands for moral and ethical judgment, art plays a crucial role in Israel today. Art acts as a catalyst for new thinking and has the power to strengthen community and collaboration. Since we are a new organization, we hope to find more people that believe in the importance of having a vibrant art community in Israel and want to support artists and art through our organization. A third of our expenses are funded through the artists themselves.
Tell us a bit about the current shows and about Nitsan Hammerman’s work in particular.
Nitsan Hamerman painting exhibition ‘WH’, raises questions about the medium itself. Nitsan says he creates with no story, no idea, no agenda, without looking or seeing. He is seeking for the truth concealed in the act of painting itself.
By Ella Manor
Multimedia artist, fashion photographer and writer Ella Manor specialises in photography, video performance, and painting installations and is currently a student at the postgraduate Fine Art program at Hamidrasha school of art. A graduate of FIT, ICP and ESC, Manor has been featured in photography and art publications around the world, won numerous photography awards, and exhibited her work globally. Currently living and working in Tel Aviv. Follow Ella’s projects and insights here: