About the MuseumOne of the most important art museums in Israel is the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. The museum deals with a variety of subjects: Israeli art, modern art, contemporary art, photography and drawing, prints, design, architecture and art from the 16th to 19th centuries. The museum is spread out over three buildings: the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion (currently showing mostly temporary exhibitions), the main building of the museum on Shaul Hamelech Boulevard (where you are now standing) and the Samuel and Herta Amir Building, which is adjacent to it and opened in 2011.
In addition to the permanent collections presented here, you can watch 25 different exhibitions each year - both Israeli and international. Beyond the variety of exhibitions, you can come here to absorb some cultural activity such as classical music or jazz, cinema, lectures, children's shows and more.
The museum also has a prestigious library of about 50,000 books, about 140 periodicals and about 7,000 photographs. If you step out of the museum you can wander through the sculpture garden (a garden where a variety of sculptures are displayed). More than half a million visitors visit the museum every year.
HistoryThe Tel Aviv Museum of Art is located today on Shaul Hamelech Boulevard in Tel Aviv, but its previous residence was one of the most important in the history of the State of Israel. The original museum, founded in 1932, was located at 16 Rothschild Blvd. at the Dizengoff House, in the house where the independence of Israel was declared in 1948.
Dizengoff House was the residence of the first mayor of Tel Aviv, Meir Dizengoff, who was also the initiator of the museum. The museum collection began with dozens of individual items, which grew over time thanks to collectors and artists who donated their works to the museum.
The museum became an active cultural center in the city, and the more successful it was, the more the more the collections were expanded and larger exhibition spaces were required. As a result, the museum was moved to the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion (at the intersection of Dizengoff and Tarsat) and in 1971 its current building was inaugurated on Shaul Hamelech Boulevard.
Architectural StructureIn 1971, the main building of the museum was completed in Shaul Hamelech Boulevard. The building was designed by architects Dan Eytan and Yitzhak Yashar and was built in a style reminiscent of brutality.
Brutalism was mostly explosive in the 1950's and 1970's and has a very specific characteristic: construction with exposed concrete and use of various basic forms. There is something very authentic in this style - it looks for the "truth" of the structure and allows material's form and functionality to come out and get real expression. It allows construction materials to remain exposed, using natural light and simple, inexpensive materials. It is possible, then, to understand why structures built in this style were perceived as ugly, opaque and powerful.
In planning of this special structure, the architects won the Rechter Prize in 1972 for architectural design, which was awarded under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Culture and Sport.
The New WingIn 2002 a competition was opened for the design of the museum's new wing. The big winner was the American architect Preston Scott Cohen who summed up the expected construction cost to about $45 million.
Many donors donated for the construction, but the most significant was the art-loving businessman Sami Ofer and his wife who donated $20 million. After a public protest that did not allow the museum to be named after Ofer, the donation was returned to the couple and the fundraising continued.
In February 2007, Paul and Herta Amir contributed $10 million to the new wing. Work on the building lasted about 8 years (mainly due to the exchange of donors in the middle). In 2011, the wing was inaugurated with a large central space with 10 exhibition halls. The museum's current building, which has a total area of 16,000 square meters, has been doubled to a total of 33,500 square meters. The department is considered innovative and a masterpiece in the field of digital planning and complex construction technologies.