Israel has always had a vibrant art scene, but as Tel Aviv is now having its moment in the cultural sun, the city is overflowing with art and changing exhibitions. In Tel Aviv art is everywhere, but Thursday evening is gallery night, so here are the top galleries that art lovers should check out.
Housed on the ground floor of a beautiful and historic building on Rothschild, Sommer Contemporary Art Gallery is Tel Aviv’s preeminent show space for contemporary Israeli art. With internationally acclaimed names like photographer Adi Nes and artist Yael Bartana, as well as changing site-specific exhibitions for up-and-coming names from abroad, Sommer Contemporary Art Gallery is the place to go for the best and most promising contemporary art on show in Israel.
Established in the early ’80s by Dvir Intrator, the Dvir Gallery has matured from a springboard for young contemporary Israeli artists to an establishment, with a gallery in Brussels and a slew of international artists exhibited. It’s located in a cavernous five-story building in Tel Aviv’s so-called “SOSA” (south of Salame Street) neighborhood, an area that has long become a hotbed of galleries and studios.
This gallery’s concrete wall stands out in the famous white city of Tel Aviv, but its fortress of an entrance hides an impressive collection of some of Israel’s best artists, including the world renowned Sigalit Landau, local giants like Yigal Tomarkin and key artistic forces like Arik Levy. From installations to videos, sculptures to paintings, the Alon Segev Gallery offers a distinctly international take on local art.
One of Israel’s oldest galleries, the Rosenfeld Gallery is a family operation run by, and exhibiting the private collection of, the Rosenfeld family. Set up in 1952 by Eliezer Rosenfeld, the historically modern gallery has shifted gears under the stewardship of Zaki Rosenfeld. It is now located in Tel Aviv’s hottest industrial zone (also part of the so-called SOSA area). This prestigious gallery is a must-see on Tel Aviv’s gallery circuit.
On the younger, more avant-garde end of the spectrum of established galleries in Tel Aviv is Raw Art. With a strong focus on sculpture and videos alongside painting and photography, Raw Art showcases art now on the cusp of breaking big, locally and internationally. Head here to see it first.
This impressive gallery, which fills out an entire building in southern Tel Aviv, has one foot in the global art scene and one foot in Israel’s. Hosting different events and shows by local and international artists, the Hezi Cohen Gallery is an intriguing space that is well worth a visit.
Not a gallery so much as a hip urban museum, the Center for Contemporary Art is the place for experimental art. This huge facility was instrumental in bringing video art to Israel, or at least putting it on the map. It hosts solo exhibitions by international artists and was the first ever to house works by names like Marina Abramovic.
Tel Aviv is also a laid back city, and art is everywhere. A highlight is the Tiny Tiny Gallery, a small enclosed window at the entrance to an old building in Florentine. There’s also an abundance of amazing street art, some by world famous Israeli graffiti artists, so don’t let the word “gallery” bind you too much. Art is everywhere in Tel Aviv.