A cultural getaway in the museums of Tel Aviv

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A cultural getaway in the museums of Tel Aviv

Well-known for its lively nightlife, Tel Aviv is also a melting pot of historic and contemporary culture. Set off to discover renowned and unusual museums, devoted to history, art and Israeli design.

A cultural getaway in the museums of Tel Aviv

The Museum of the History of Tel-Aviv Jaffa

To properly understand the Tel-Aviv of today, begin with the Museum of the History of Tel-Aviv Jaffa, for an immersion experience covering more than one century, back to the very roots of the city. Located in the Bialik, a district famous for its Bauhaus style architecture and classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the magnificent residence, constructed in 1925, attracts your gaze immediately. It is impressively elegant and stylish, with a curved balcony set on a curved façade, and a spiral staircase. The owner of the time wanted to create a hotel for a wealthy clientele. But fate decided otherwise, and in 1928, following the decision of the first mayor, Meir Dizengoff, the building provisionally became City Hall. It remained as such until 1965 and was then abandoned.

What you visit today – alone or accompanied by a guide – is the result of an extensive project which has restored all of the former City Hall's grandeur and aura: residents now get together and meet at “Beit Ha'ir (the city hall). Some remarkable architecture survives from those decades, a balcony which is no longer used as a platform for speeches and Meir Dizengoff's entirely renovated and reconstructed office. Not forgetting the hundreds of documents and photographs which captured moments of family and everyday life, and major events in Tel Aviv… Emotion is palpable in this location steeped in history.

The Museum of the History of Tel-Aviv Jaffa (Beit Ha'ir Museum)
27 Bialik Street
Tel Aviv
Israel
beithair.org/en
Admission free for children under 6 years of age

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A cultural getaway in the museums of Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv Museum of Art

You will come across the name of Dizengoff again if you go to the Tel-Aviv Museum of Art. It was, in fact, in what was his residence that the museum opened its doors in 1932. But with acquisitions and private donations, it had to move, to the boulevard Sha'ul HaMelech. Today, you enter the first building constructed in 1971, with its distinctive contemporary lines and grandiose dimensions, and a permanent quest for artistic perspectives. A first glance into the entrance hall reveals the first masterpiece: the giant fresco which Roy Lichtenstein created especially for the museum. The graphic faces and vibrant colours for which the artist is renowned are dispersed over a height and width of several metres: you are captivated. And this is only a prelude to all the masterpieces which are unveiled, in room after room: Dutch painters (Van Dyck,), Impressionists (Monet, Renoir, Pissaro), Post-Impressionists (Cézanne), great names of modern art (Utrillo, Klimt, Kandinsky, Modigliani, Chagall), and exponents of Pop Art (Claes Oldenburg), not forgetting the indispensable Van Gogh, Picasso and Dalí. An array of major works passes before your wondering gaze.

Before continuing your visit in the second part of the museum, take the time to stroll around the garden between the two buildings. On this minimalist patio, there is an exhibition of superb sculptures, conducive to contemplation. In 2011, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art opened a new wing designed by the American architect Preston Scott Cohen. You can enjoy the educational areas which offer a variety of workshops for the whole family. Finally, the museum harbours a treasure of another kind: the Pastel gastronomic restaurant, whose terrace looks over the garden! Turn your attention to the culinary art, as you tuck into its linguine with mussels, or griddled squid!

Tel Aviv Museum of Art
27 Sderot Sha'ul HaMelech
Tel-Aviv
Israel
+972 3-607-7020
www.tamuseum.org.il/
Admission free for under 18 years of age

Pastel Restaurant
27 Sderot Sha'ul HaMelech
Tel-Aviv
Israel
+972 3-644-7441
www.pastel-tlv.com/home

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A cultural getaway in the museums of Tel Aviv

The Design Museum Holon in the Tel-Aviv district

Your tour of architectural feats and unique artworks leads you to the Design Museum Holon. Opened in 2010, it embodies the present time and the energy of Tel-Aviv in the field of creativity and design. Once again, the building's architecture is remarkable. Here, it is the five strips of Corten steel which, like scrolls, give the whole a feeling of movement and life. The colours fluctuate between orange, brown and sand, in symbiosis with the surrounding nature. The source of such prowess, both aesthetic and technical, is the designer Ron Arad, himself a native of Tel-Aviv, and with whose Bookworm shelf or Tom Vac chair you are perhaps familiar.

Once the surprise is over, you enter the building. Your tour begins with a selection of works from the period between 1930 and 2000. You then discover pieces created in the 21st century, which are emblematic of contemporary design. A third collection presents works especially designed as part of a collaboration with the museum. Finally, the museum brings together creations by design students and honours new talent. All have in common the fact that they were produced in Israel. The atmosphere is one of abundant creativity: furniture, small items, jewellery and garments here outline the evolutions in an artistic discipline closely linked to our everyday life and its developments. If you return to this venue in a few years, you will be surprised to see a different museum, at least in its colour shades, as the Corten corrodes and naturally acquires a patina over time.

Design Museum Holon
8 Pinkhas Eilon Street
Tel-Aviv
Israel
+972 73-215-1515
www.dmh.org.il/

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A cultural getaway in the museums of Tel Aviv

The IIana Goor House-Museum

Your cultural journey comes to an end on the sumptuous terrace of the residence of IIana Goor, converted into an eclectic and fascinating exhibition venue more than 20 years ago. Located in the historic port district of Jaffa, south of Tel Aviv, the building is in a traditional architectural style with ochre stonework, archways and a patio. Here, there is no guiding principle. The artworks follow on thick and fast, but are not alike, revealing the love of the discipline of the person who founded this unique place, Ilana Goor. You will discover her history through an instructive video and numerous photos of her with various personalities which fill the walls. Contemporary art, antiquities, ethnic art and videos are represented here in cheerful disorder. In the central area, you will discover monumental installations by the lady of the house, and compositions by leading Israeli artists such as Yaacov Agam and Yaakov Dorchin. Over her lifetime, IIana Goor has assembled a large collection in which international artists and designers such as Anselm Kiefer and Frank Gehry are represented. This heterogenous mix is an ode to life, travel and artistic creation. In the external areas which overlook the city centre and the azure blue sea, sculptures mingle with the succulent plants. You wander freely, captivated by the inexpressible charm of this residence.

Ilana Goor Museum
4 Mazal Dagim Street
Jaffa
Tel Aviv
Israel
+972 3-683-7676
ilanagoormuseum.org/en/