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The New Year Spirit at the Renewed Israel Museum in Jerusalem

September 15, 2010

Shana Tova, happy New Year!

For those who want to treat themselves in the New Year to a gratifying and delightful cultural experience, I strongly recommend visiting the newly renovated Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

 It took three years for the transformation of the museum that was designed by James Carpenter Design –New York and Efrat-Kowalsky Architects – Tel Aviv. One really feels a surge of energy when realizing the enormous effort that was put in the new galleries and in the re-thinking and re-organizing of the encyclopedic objects. Not least important is the way in which space has been designed in order to present the objects in their due respect. As one knows well, it’s not just the objects that matter but how they are being displayed!

Who doesn’t enjoy looking at beautiful things that have also cultural significance? I was especially amazed at the ancient jewelry displays, that are at times 1,OOO or more years old, but are still similar to present day jewelry. Clearly today’s designers are very much inspired by the past – in every fashion…

At the Museum's garden

I admit that I don’t visit museums regularly with my extremely busy schedule, and that’s why I was glad to find out that the Israel Museum is opened on Saturdays as well (including the gift shop!). I probably saw only 20%-30% of the museum’s exhibitions, and it’s nice to know I live close by and can come back for a couple of hours each time.

In the meantime, I would like to recommend the following exhibitions / galleries:

 

The window in art (photos: Israel Museum)

Looking In, Looking out – The window in Art

An interesting interpretation of windows as bridging between the inside and outside, with many possible meanings. My favorite was a European style window from the 18th-19th century, made of lead and glass.

Haunted by objects

 

Zvi Goldstein’s – Haunted by Objects (in the Bella & Harry Wexner Gallery)

What a room! This exhibition displays a collection of Museum items that were found in the museum’s offices and storerooms, and have been incorporated in an amazing designed gallery room. The concept of the design set up is of abundance – beautifully framed pictures, chairs, artifacts such as old typewriters, African masks and glassed compartments – all mounted on the walls. One is impressed by the amazing meticulousness and patience which were required for the spacing of each of the items, all installed in a perfect integration.

Jacques Lipchitz  

This exhibition of the famous sculptor is just so impressive! You can find it in the Modern Arts Gallery, inside a beautiful room full of wooden glass cabinets, displaying hundreds of artifacts that Lipchitz collected over the years – from Africa, Europe, Americas and Asia, and actually from all over the world. The artifacts mostly include ancient / traditional objects such as figurines, masks, portraits, plaques, plates, vases and more. It was interesting that while the traditional objects are placed inside glassed shelves, they can be studied by a high-tech touch screen that describes each piece. The combination of the traditional and modern experience was very cool.

 

Visiting the museum reminded me not only of how Jerusalem can attract visitors from Tel Aviv and other places, with so much happening in the city, but also of the fact that more and more of us working in the Hotel and lifestyle business, need to find ways to make our visitors experience a more meaningful and cultural experience – whether through art, music and design, or simply through a feeling of wellbeing and connection to the space.

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