Not all was lost, of course.
1. Bauhaus Center of Tel Aviv. During the 1930s and 1940s, Tel Aviv’s population exploded with immigrants and became a city; the most prominent architects at the time were students of European functional modernism, and over 4,000 buildings designed in the Bauhaus-inspired International Style went up over 20 years, most of which are still standing. In 2003, Tel Aviv received UNESCO status for its local architecture, and people are beginning to renovate, and appreciate, some of the very run-down buildings–though run down or not, the bones are beautiful. Ben and I took a tour of the architecture, and it was amazing.
2. Tel Aviv Museum of Art:
Michal Rovner’s video art is OUTSTANDING. I’ve never seen video manipulated and integrated so nimbly into sculpture. She had all of these “ancient” objects–slabs of rock, stone bowls, crumbled pottery; they appear to have complex circles of ancient human figures painted on them–you come close and see that the figures are moving, dancing, posing in place, coagulating, separating. So delicious, so perfect a way to end our visit in a country where the ancient and modern live in such stark relief.
Very provocative photo/video exhibit on the Disengagement from Gaza as well.
3. Israel Museum. Solid Contemporary Japanese Art exhibit–nothing earth-shattering in the curation, but a strong general overview. Motoi Yamamoto used salt for a sculpture that took up a whole room–a meditation on death where the salt was used to draw labyrinths and ended in snowy mountains. Beautiful.