Israel’s art and culture scene has grown leaps and bounds over the past few decades, and Tel Aviv is at the heart of it all. Art can be found around every corner, from graffiti street art tours and virtual visits to public and private galleries of all sizes.
The vibrant energy of Tel Aviv is expressed all across this relatively young city, and its reputation as an artistic and cultural hub is well deserved. The streets of Tel Aviv are full of art galleries – from the cool, lofty ceilings of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art to the atmospheric, quaint boutiques in Neve Tzedek – making it hard to choose where to visit first. Here is Culture Trip’s pick of the best art galleries in Tel Aviv.
The Sommer Contemporary Art Gallery is the place to go to discover both up-and-coming and established Israeli artists, and is particularly noted for its encouragement of artistic exchange and development. The “S2” project room hosts small-scale exhibitions featuring the work of emerging artists, curated by the artists themselves, and – through its well-established connections with artists, museums and publishing houses around the world – the gallery is able to invite international artists to create unique installations and projects in its gallery space. Located on Rothschild Boulevard in the cultural heart of Tel Aviv, visitors can continue their cultural experience at one of the many other nearby art galleries, such as the Hezi Cohen gallery on Lilienblum Street, or the Urban Gallery also on Rothschild Boulevard.
The Tel Aviv Museum of Art is the country’s leading art institution, attracting more than one million visitors in 2018. Its collection includes paintings by internationally renowned artists, like Van Gogh, Pissarro, Kandinsky, Chagall and Jackson Pollock. The Tel Aviv Museum of Art has curated an entire artistic experience for visitors: with exhibitions of photography, a sculpture garden, architecture and design galleries, paintings by the Old Masters as well as by celebrated modern and contemporary artists. The long, low building is itself a work of art, designed by Preston Scott Cohen to attract the eye to its various planes and facets.
The Bauhaus Center is more than just a gallery. Its permanent display is designed to allow visitors to discover and admire the Bauhaus buildings that earned the city the nickname ‘The White City‘. Every Friday at 10am, the Bauhaus Center’s professional guides lead tours (in English, Hebrew and German) around Tel Aviv’s most famous and important Bauhaus buildings. The Bauhaus Center is located just steps from the famous Dizengoff fountain, itself an artistic wonder. Audio guides are available daily in a variety of languages, and private tours are available upon request.
The Stern gallery was opened in 1971 by Londoner Meir Stern, who still manages the gallery today, priding himself on displaying works by the finest established and up-and-coming artists, including Anna Ticho, Menashe Kadishman and Yigal Tumarkin. The religious art collection includes artists from around the world, focusing on the “School of Paris”, a large group of primarily Jewish European artists who gathered in Paris between the two World Wars. Currently undergoing extensive renovations, the Stern Gallery is offering virtual tours via its website, while private tours to see specific works of art can be scheduled individually.
Rubin Gallery was once artist Reuben Rubin’s home | Courtesy of Rubin Gallery
The four-storey museum on Bialik Street was once artist Reuben Rubin’s home, with the paintings housed there covering a number of topics, including local landscapes, animals, Judaism and life in early Tel Aviv. Although diverse, their uniting feature is his love of Israel. Images of early Zionist immigrants, biblical stories and still lifes showing Israeli produce and scenery are all on display. Continue exploring Tel Aviv’s early history by going on to the Bialik House, the former home of poet Chaim Nachman Bialik. The local history museum Be’it Hair is also located on the same street.
On the outskirts of Jaffa lies the Gordon Gallery. Founded in 1966, the Gordon is an art gallery and auction house that’s famous for creating a foundation for outstanding local artists. The Gordon is not just a space for exhibiting art but also a place to discuss it. The gallery frequently hosts artist talks and lectures and has published catalogues and art books. For an ongoing conversation about the latest contemporary artists or to get up to speed with the current Israeli art scene, this is the place to be.
When it comes to a beautiful setting, the Ilana Goor Museum might just be the best art gallery in Tel Aviv. Located in a quaint, 18th-century brick building atop a hill in Old Jaffa, the museum is an architectural gem that offers spectacular views of the sea – and the artwork doesn’t disappoint, either. Works by artist and sculptor Ilana Goor form the heart of the museum’s exhibitions. Items include furniture, jewellery, Judaica, fashion items and lighting fixtures, as well as paintings and sculptures. It’s a unique art gallery, and not to be missed.