Art & Culture

The best in art, museums, theater, dance, opera and performances in Israel

Four fascinating art exhibitions to visit in Haifa this summer
Art

Four fascinating art exhibitions to visit in Haifa this summer

While Tel Aviv and Jerusalem often get all the attention, if you travel slightly north, you’ll discover a whole wealth of interesting places worth visiting. One such place is Haifa. Besides Haifa’s stunning Baha’i Gardens and complex industrial history, it also has some exquisite museums sprinkled throughout the city. Reexamine the meaning of ‘privacy’ at the Haifa Museum of Art, read tea leaves at the Tikotin museum at the crest of Mount Carmel, and find out if the pirate life is the life for you at these fresh exhibits.

A long list of White Night events to keep you busy all night long
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A long list of White Night events to keep you busy all night long

We've already given you the Laila Lavan lowdown, now we're pulling out the big guns: a detailed list of everything going once the sun sets on June 29. Start preparing with our exclusive list of White Night's outdoor events happening all over the White City: © Guy Yechiely       Free outdoor events around town:   Tel Aviv takes on Diner en Blanc "'Twas the eve before White Night, 19:30 at night, when the picnickers came, for a delectable night"...Hundreds of people dressed in white from head to toe, conducting themselves with great politeness, elegance, and sophistication, meet for a mass picnic in a public space, in a secret location!..."Sign up now, without hesitation, participation is free, with advance registration."   © Moshick Lindenboum Panic! At the (silent) disco It's time to party hard, in utter silence. This silent headphone party at Rabin Square is a must-attend event. You can borrow headphones in the square or come with your Smartphone and a pair of headphones, then all you have to do is open Tel Aviv Radio 102 FM's application and get dancing. Download the free app to participate in the party. An amazing set follows into the wee hours with DJ Skazi. Admission is free. Rabin Square, 20:00-02:00   © Guy Yechiely      When in Rome... This urban happening celebrates what White Night was originally all about: art, and features art exhibitions by participating members from all over the EU. During the evening, the Rothschild 1 plaza will

Japanese violinist Sayaka Shoji returns to Israel for a long-anticipated encore performance
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Japanese violinist Sayaka Shoji returns to Israel for a long-anticipated encore performance

Every season, Jerusalem's Henry Crown Hall sees faces from all over the world - familiar faces from nearby cities as well as those who hail from thousands of kilometers away. Violinist Sayaka Shoji falls under the category of the latter. Hosted by the Israel Camerata Jerusalem She has traveled far and wide from Japan to grace Jerusalemites with her classical charm.   Alexander Bernstein © PR         Shoji's upcoming performance of Tchaikovsky's violin concerto and Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 under the baton of Alexander Bernstein will offer a fresh repertoire to match the summer season; however, this is not her first time in the Holy Land. She dropped jaws at her performance with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra many, many years ago. © Kishin Shinoyama       Now, 17 years later, the youngest violinist to win the prestigious Paganini competition is back, and ready to s(tr)ing sweet symphonies yet again.   © PR   July 15, 21:00. NIS 100-175. Henry Crown Hall, Jerusalem (1-700-55-2000/ jcamerata.co.il)

"Let's get digital, di-gi-tal" at Print Screen 2017 - Holon's International art and digital culture festival
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"Let's get digital, di-gi-tal" at Print Screen 2017 - Holon's International art and digital culture festival

The International Festival of Art and Digital Culture is just around the corner and boy have they got a lineup of amazing installations and events set up for you.   Print Screen is a four-day must-see multi-sensory experience, which combines art, biology, and technology at the Holon Cinematheque. The festival includes everything from films, installations, and performances, to interactive exhibitions, workshops, and panels. Here's a sneak peek at this year's digital offerings:   A premiere of nature films that use modern cinematic technologies to make ecological and zoological phenomena otherwise unavailable to viewers, accessible.   "Voyage of Time": from the acclaimed film by director Trance Malik comes an historic journey through the universe, from the birth of the stars to the depths of the oceans (accompanied by Kate Blanchett's voice).   "Hurricane, Odyssey of the Wind": a 3-D projection of the life story of a hurricane from its birth in Senegal, Africa, to its journey across 12 countries and eventual death in America.   "Frankenstein": a favorite play of the British National Theater, directed by Danny Boyle appears for the first time on the big screen.   "Arctic Heart": a dram-edy that raises questions about animal and human research.   "Planet Earth"- 2 episodes from the second season of BBC's flagship series, featuring stunning wildlife imagery, led by naturalist Sir David Attenborough.     June 21 - 24  @ the Mediatheque Holon. Fo

Israeli culture: classical music across the country
Music

Israeli culture: classical music across the country

When treating your senses to mouthwatering Israeli market fare and beautiful sights from north to south in the world’s holiest country, it is only fair to treat your ears as well. All across the country, Israeli art galleries and museums, theaters screening Israeli movies, cultural centres, hotels, libraries, conservatories and even kibbutzim are hosting classical and chamber concert series for the public ear. From Tel Aviv’s infamous Charles Bronfman Auditorium, home to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, to more intimate settings like the quaint concert hall inside the Felicja Blumental Music Center and Music Library, these classical and chamber music venues invite the Mozart enthusiast right down to the curious tourist to enjoy. Dress to the nines, grab an early bird prix fixe dinner and a fine bottle of Israeli wine at one of the top romantic restaurants in Tel Aviv, but save room for dessert: the sweet, sweet harmonies of classical Israeli culture, drizzled with Vivaldi and sprinkled with Strauss.

Must-see art exhibitions

Guy Aloni inspires "Chaos" in his Florentine photography exhibition
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Guy Aloni inspires "Chaos" in his Florentine photography exhibition

"Chaos" is artist Guy Aloni's story of choices–in fact, the story of the choices we all make.   Guy Aloni's new exhibition showcases a collection of photographs from a journey to the depths of another Israel, connected through two other dimensions: snapshots in the form of short authentic stories and the observer's imaginative world where connections are made. © Guy Aloni         According to Guy Aloni, Chaos represents the collection of rules known to everyone, and which we use to shape our choices in life. These rules are sometimes chosen without realizing or predicting how they will evolve and run over time. Aloni adds, "As usual, I chose the camera as my main tool of expression, mainly because it allows me to stop for brief moments and re-examine my life and the place in which I live it." © Guy Aloni         The 11-day exhibition takes place inside Florentine Quartet - a shopping and cultural center, which constitutes an eclectic combination of experiences, thrills, people, and materials. The space is located in the heart of the Florentine neighborhood, with a boulevard of shops, restaurants, coffee shops, and a variety of different activities for all ages.   "Chaos" runs July 6-15, 17:00-21:00. Free admission. Florentine Quartet, 3 Maon St, Tel Aviv (03-6285300, 4florentine.co.il)

The new "Sound" exhibition at Design Museum Holon promises to shake the building this summer
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The new "Sound" exhibition at Design Museum Holon promises to shake the building this summer

Holon's number one design museum seems to have a common theme this year: the senses. First, sight, with their weird and wonderful eyeglass exhibition, and now, they're moving on to tackle the auditory senses. "Sound" aims to connect our auditory experience as an amorphous theme with the design world by examining five unique aspects in an entirely interactive way.     Paolo Cappello, Luciano © Newblack           The exhibition invites visitors for an all-round tactile encounter where than can hear, see, and feel the sounds around them; an invitation to not just experience, but rather be this central component designed by society and culture.   © panGenerator         While the design world is characterized by physical and visual elements such as matter, color, and texture, when in its raw form, sound becomes an equally important abstract element available to the designer.   © La Fotogràfica Barcelona         The exhibit will showcase dozens of sound objects created by local designers as well as iconic objects by international designers, all of which express the technological processes of sound and how these developments have impacted the design world. From radios to installations to LEGO blocks, fabrics, and even vegetables, you'll experience sound in ways you never thought possible.     "Sound" opens June 29 @ the Design Museum Holon

The "Red over Yellow" exhibit at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art creates a new narrative about the art of art collecting
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The "Red over Yellow" exhibit at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art creates a new narrative about the art of art collecting

"Art collecting is a passion—the collector finds a work of art, falls in love with it and cannot let go"   While an artwork's story starts well before its birth, the narrative of that oeuvre continues long past its point of creation. Its beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, yet its rich history lies in the hands of the beholder – aka the art collector.   The practice of collecting art dates  back almost 2000 years, to Hellenistic Greece, then developed in its modern form during the Renaissance and has become even more prevalent today. Private art collections play a very complex role in art history; individual collectors took risks, supported contemporary movements like the avant-garde, and even took stances that were crucial to the styles and success of individual artists. Today, the polyphony of voices that make up the community of art collectors (or 'narrators') is coming together to create distinct narratives that invite the 'reader' into the complex art world – whether through an artistic vignette, memoir, or collection of short stories.     © PR           "Art collecting is a passion—the collector finds a work of art, falls in love with it and cannot let go" – a process which repeats itself over and over again. "Red over Yellow: a Selection from a Private Collection," opening on June 21 at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, narrows in on this passion as it radiated through one particular art collector. The collection features 70 paintings, drawings, and sculp

Ai Weiwei - Maybe, Maybe Not
Art

Ai Weiwei - Maybe, Maybe Not

One of the most influential and esteemed members of the international contemporary art scene is Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. His works combine everything from photography and video to sculpture and large-scale installations which cover entire floors of museums. After being imprisoned without trial in his native China, Weiwei's movements were restricted by governments because of his political activitism and the stances he took on freedom of speech and human rights. His works central around these themes.

Israeli dance & theater

Electric Eisenhower: a brilliant dance company lights up Tel Aviv's Opera House
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Electric Eisenhower: a brilliant dance company lights up Tel Aviv's Opera House

After a culturally stimulating start to June, mixing the top multidisciplinary arts festival in Israel with a week of eccentric Gay Pride, the country needed a couple of weeks to recover. Once those weeks pass, however, it will be time to get back on that cultural wagon with a brilliant dance performance hailing all the way from Detroit.   As a part of the dance series at Tel Aviv's Israeli Opera House, one of the United States' leading contemporary dance companies is dancing its way over to the Holy Land for a debut appearance. Under the artistic direction of Laurie Eisenhower, the Eisenhower Dance company is marking its 25th anniversary with an explosive program, which combines visually striking numbers, electrifying imagery and movement that extends past the physical realm and into the emotional sphere of human relationships.   © Erick Lavoie           While the dancers will perform four captivating performances at the Israeli Opera House from June 28-July 1, their visit – sponsored by the U.S. Embassy – starts slightly before they hit the Tel Aviv stage with a series of workshops and classes in various communities across the country. The goal: to emphasize multicultural activities in mixed communities (where Jews and Arabs coexist).   © PR           During their visit, the company will perform an exciting program called, "The Light Show." The purpose of The Light Show is to connect four choreographers with four different lighting designers and

Madamma Butterfly
Music

Madamma Butterfly

Once again, the Israeli Opera has taken to the operatic messiah. Puccini's poignant tale of love and honor tells the story of a young butterfly forced to face the pain and loss of her honor when the man she loves impregnates her then disappears. Based on the short story by John Luther Long entitled 'Madame Butterfly,' this relatively simple plot comes to operatic life in the hands of the conductor, director, designers, and performers.

Revealing the 'uncanny': a review of Ohad Naharin's new work, Venezuela
Dance

Revealing the 'uncanny': a review of Ohad Naharin's new work, Venezuela

If I were to use one term to describe Venezuela, it would have to be 'uncanny.' Not simply in the strangely mysterious, unsettling manner, but more so in Freud's understanding: the 'familiar, yet unfamiliar.' The work is divided into two distinct 40-minute acts; each of which draw on the same sequence of movements (the familiar), yet the dancers, music, overall atmosphere, time feel, and energy level in the second half veer far from the first (the unfamiliar). "As anything that contains aspects of uncertainty, [Venezuela] is exuberating and exciting," says 24-year-old Batsheva Company dancer, Nitzan Ressler. Not only does this sense of unfamiliarity empower the dancers, it keeps audience members on their toes from that very first slow, swaying group movement cast against an eerie backdrop of Gregorian chant through to the final explosive scream from veteran dancer Bobby Jene Smith, as she lets out the communal anxieties and frustrations of all 17 dancers.   In the first 40-minute act, the slow monophonic drones of Gregorian chant set a very solemn tone; paired with the stark black costumes, the dancers appear to be in mourning. As with many Naharin creations, the audience is not meant to necessarily understand the dancers' world, but rather empathize with it. As the group reaches upstage, two dancers break off, striking a ballroom pose. Suddenly, the familiar Gaga style ascribed to Batsheva is thrown out the window, replaced by elements of Argentine tango – perhaps a hint

'Moment of Silence': an interview with Amir Kolben, choreographer
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'Moment of Silence': an interview with Amir Kolben, choreographer

  With the recent 'nudity scandal' fresh in the minds of Israel festival goers, we sat down with choreographer Amir Kolben of the Kolben Dance Company to discuss his new piece "Silence," which touches on nudity, as well as other pertinent political and personal issues.     What can you tell us about the "nudity scandal" surrounding this year's Israel festival?   The Israeli Culture Minister [Miri Regev] announced that she would not support nudity in productions, and would therefore reduce the funding that the ministry gives to the festival. It was her warning message to all of us Israeli choreographers, theater producers, and directors.   How did this issue come to the surface? And why now?   I honestly don’t even know how it happened. People make a huge effort to publicize these events, so when a person comes to these shows that contain nudity, they are not faced with anything unexpected. Why has it become an issue all of a sudden? That’s a different question because I don’t think it has anything to do with the practice of nudity on stage. Actually, it has everything to do with politics as a social issue. I do believe that people who don’t want to meet nudity on stage are allowed this right. We have to respect them by giving all the relevant information beforehand. This is our responsibility. It isn’t up to the minister to decided what content she supports and what she doesn’t. That’s another issue, it's a political issue that has to do with the general battle over

Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak Dance Company explore life's absurdities and broken dreams in ICETREE
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Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak Dance Company explore life's absurdities and broken dreams in ICETREE

The new creation of the Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak Dance Company is a fascinating exploration of the archaeological strata of their joint work. Together, they return to familiar landscapes from a controlled distance, such as a renewed reading of a letter sent from a distant land and another time that are spread over an entirely different sphere, then reinvented.

Top Israeli dance companies

Batsheva Dance Company
Dance

Batsheva Dance Company

Batsheva Dance Company has been critically acclaimed as one of the foremost contemporary dance ensembles in the world. The company, together with the Batsheva Young Ensemble, hosts a team of 34 dancers, pulled from Israel and abroad. It is choreographed by Ohad Naharin, who has been hailed as one of the world’s preeminent contemporary choreographers. Batsheva uses the innovative movement language, Gaga, a creation of Naharin, which has revolutionized the company’s training. Since its inception Batsheva Dance Company has boasted a world-class reputation, and although its style and structure has changed drastically over the years, it never disappoints.  

Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company
Dance

Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company

One of the leading dance companies in israel is Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company. Artistic Director Rami Be’er’s exclusive and distinct choreographic character has become the company’s trademark in Israel and abroad. Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company contains a cast of physically eclectic dancers, who have both technical skills and strength along with dynamic sensibilities. The company performs regularly at some of the most respected festivals and theatres worldwide. Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company calls its home at the International Dance Village in Kibbutz Ga’aton, a location as beautiful as the performances crafted there.  

Jerusalem Vertigo Dance Company
Dance

Jerusalem Vertigo Dance Company

Noa Wertheim and Adi Sha’al, partners in life and in dance, founded the Vertigo Dance Company in 1992, named after their first professional collaboration. The performance was built upon the concept of spinning out of control, not just in the air, but in relationships. This is how the two craft the performances for Vertigo Dance Company- by artistically commenting on relatable experiences. Vertigo offers a physical meeting place for artists and the audience. They aim to take the viewer on a journey to new or unexpected, exciting and challenging territories. Vertigo Dance Company strives to bring people closer together and touch them through the language of dance and the body.

Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak Dance Company
Dance

Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak Dance Company

Together Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak have been involved in the creation, direction, choreography and design of unique and award winning performances for their company. Acclaimed abroad, as well as within Israel, the company consists of twelve dancer/actors who share a collective goal to connect artistic disciplines. The choreography uses light, sound, color, space and the human body to tell stories. Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak Dance Company aims to stage productions birthed from memories, longings, ideas and imagination to create a unique experience for the viewer.  

Yasmeen Godder Dance Company
Dance

Yasmeen Godder Dance Company

Yasmeen Godder was born in Jerusalem and grew up in New York City, where she studied dance at some of the top programs in New York. To date she has created twelve evening-length works, and has been commissioned by some of the top dance companies in Israel and abroad. Yasmeen Godder’s choreography has won her numerous awards, and two books have been written about her work. In 2007, Godder opened a studio in Jaffa, which has become home to her projects, including open classes and workshops, community exchanges, performances, and production support. She performs both solo shows and with collaborators.

Best museums in Israel

Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Museums

Tel Aviv Museum of Art

Gracing the walls of this museum are Israel’s most comprehensive collections of modern, contemporary, and Israeli art. The museum boasts an impressive collection of the old masters, diverse temporary exhibitions, displays of photography, design & architecture, a performance hall, and a beautiful, calming sculpture garden to wander around or relax in. When visiting, don’t miss the newest addition to the museum, the Herta and Paul Amir Building, which was designed by professor Preston Scott Cohen. Built around a spiraling, 90-foot high atrium, the Herta and Paul Amir Building is an architectural wonder. The interior space provides a unique setting for the display of contemporary art, a center for architecture, and a gallery.

Design Museum Holon
Museums

Design Museum Holon

Meticulously curated exhibits display the utmost of thoughtful and esteemed contemporary works. Famed architect Ron Arad's winding spiral of modernity encompasses one of Israel’s most stand-out venues for progressive art and design. A short drive from downtown Tel Aviv, it's definitely worth the visit.

The Israel Museum
Museums

The Israel Museum

Arguably Israel’s most magnificent cultural asset, the Israel Museum is consistently ranked among the world’s leading art and archaeology museums. Housing encyclopedic collections with works dating from prehistory to the present day in archaeology, fine art, and Jewish art, this is the place to get schooled on Israel’s 5,000-year history.

Eretz Israel Museum
Museums

Eretz Israel Museum

Unique for a number of reasons, the Eretz Israel Museum is especially unusual because its grounds encompass the archeological site of Tel Qasile, dating back to the 12th century B.C.E. The museum houses impressive, permanent collections of coins, mosaics, and Jewish folkloric objects from various periods and regions.

MoBY: Museum of Bat Yam
Museums

MoBY: Museum of Bat Yam

The greater Tel Aviv-Jaffa metropolitan area is scattered with galleries and museums. Among these are the Museums of Bat Yam. The MoBY is separated into three spaces operating in the heart of Bat Yam: the David Ben-Ari Museum for Contemporary Art (main building displaying temporary exhibits, community programs and academic conferences), the Rybak House and the Sholem Asch Museum (home to the MoBY’s permanent collection). From addressing globalism in “The Kids Want Communism” to an exhibition featuring the works of local Bat Yam artists, the three-museum complex will surely captivate the most curious art enthusiasts.  

Yad Vashem - World Holocaust Remembrance Center
Museums

Yad Vashem - World Holocaust Remembrance Center

Yad Vashem’s 45-acre campus comprises indoor museums and outdoor monuments, exhibitions, memorial sites, gardens, sculptures, and world-class research and education centers – all devoted to preserving the memory of the Holocaust. The hollowed-out cavern with a single candle reflected by a series of mirrors commemorates the 1.5 million children killed.

Classical music in Israel

The Israeli Opera - Tel Aviv
Music

The Israeli Opera - Tel Aviv

Founded in 1945, the Israeli Opera has been consistently delivering stellar shows for over seventy years.Since its establishment, in addition to performing well known operas, the opera has commissioned and performed several operas by Israeli creators such as ‘Josef’ by Josef Tal and Israel Eliraz, ‘Alpha & Omega’ by Gil Shohat to a libretto by Dori Manor and Ana Herman, and ‘A Journey to the End of the Millennium’ by Joseph Bardanashvili and A. B. Yehoshua, which was commissioned especially for the 20th anniversary of the Israeli Opera. These modern shows developed by Israeli artists provide visitors the chance to see a performance that is uniquely Israeli. The Opera currently enjoys the support of over 18,000 subscribers and produces an average of eight productions each season. These productions feature leading opera artists from all over the world alongside Israeli opera artists and are sung in the original language with Hebrew and English subtitles.

Caesarea Amphitheatre
Attractions

Caesarea Amphitheatre

You’ve seen the major cities, you’ve tasted the food and partied the night away. But if you want to experience more of the real Israel, an hour’s bus ride up the coast from Tel Aviv will take you to a place where, just like Jerusalem, 2000 years of history collide. This Roman amphitheatre, situated in the capital of Roman Judea, was the main venue of entertainment under the rule of Herod the Great. Every five years, gladiator fights, sporting competitions and performances would all take place within its vast arena. Today however, the performances are a little more civilized, yet the breathtaking magnificence of the venue remains just the same. Indeed, stars from Israel and across the world have performed here, and if you’re lucky enough to visit Israel at the right time, you’ll be able to enjoy a concert made all the more breathtaking by the 2000-year-old center of entertainment that surrounds you.

The Culture Palace (or Charles Bronfman Auditorium)
Music

The Culture Palace (or Charles Bronfman Auditorium)

The Culture Palace (or Charles Bronfman Auditorium) is the grandest concert hall in Tel Aviv, with an even grander orchestra: the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Founded in 1936 by Bronislaw Huberman, the IPO captivates audiences with its subscription series, performing special concerts, family series, piano concertos, a gala event and much more. Over the past eighty years, the well-rounded orchestra has hosted an impressive panel of conductors and soloists, while striving to develop young Israeli talent simultaneously. Revel in the IPO’s blissful baroque and romantic repertoire, as well as all the Bach, Brahms, Beethoven and Bartok your classically trained hearts can handle. Your ears will thank you later.

The Felicja Blumental Music Center and Music Library
Music

The Felicja Blumental Music Center and Music Library

“Our mission. Our vision.” The motto at the Felicja Blumental Music Center and Music Library sums up their passion for music perfectly. The center is dedicated to discovering, showcasing, and supporting current young musical talent, and guiding them towards reaching their full potential. They believe that the young music students of today are protégées of tomorrow. On top of its extensive music library of scores, books, CDS, and DVDs—the largest of its kind in Israel AND it’s open to the public!—the center also contains a quaint concert hall with a 115-person capacity. The lovely hall offers a range of programs from chamber music to classical concerts. Sign up for the mailing list and you’ll receive a monthly calendar of events.

Elma Arts Complex - Music Hall
Music

Elma Arts Complex - Music Hall

Due to an extremely successful first season, Elma Arts Complex is offering their classical concert subscription for the second year in a row. Their goal: to “open up a window on classical music’s varied styles, periods, and musicians.” Their means: through an illumination of three aspects of music—a Classical Series, a Baroque Series, and a Bridge Series that bridges the gap between traditional classical worlds and popular, innovative, more daring musical worlds. The musicians thrive off the acoustics of Elma Hall, the free atmosphere of the Cube, and the audience’s contagious energy. Musical growth is everywhere, even in the blossoming gardens that surround the beautiful hotel. Why not stay the night? The Elma Arts Complex is also a luxury hotel.