The Lowdown on the Season's High Art Shows

Check out our list of the best art festivals going on around Israel in the coming months.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail

The weather may be cooling down but Israel's art festival season is just warming up. Here are some of the hottest events of the fall and winter.

'Local Testimony'

"Local Testimony" is Israel's largest and most prestigious exhibition of local press photography. It showcases photographs of events in Israel and the Palestinian Territories submitted by photographers from here and around the world and vetted by a panel of independent judges. For the twelfth straight year, it will appear alongside the World Press Photo exhibition of international press photography. Together the exhibitions tell some of the year's most compelling political, social and human stories. 'Local Testimony 12' will be on display at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv, and curated by Moran Shuv.

Eretz Israel Museum, 2 Haim Levanon Street, Tel Aviv. Dec. 6, 2012 to Jan. 19, 2013. Sunday to Wednesday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m; Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.NIS 42 to 28. Free for children.

Zaz Festival

The Zaz Festival is an opportunity to experience performance art from Israel and around the world. Performance art takes place over time and is characterized by the presence of the performer in the work and a conscious relationship between the performer and the audience. Thirty artists will participate in the festival's seventh year, some performing briefly and others over its entire length. In addition to live art, there will be works that involve the audience, have a performance feel, incorporate multiple disciplines or play on simple concepts. The Dan Zakhem Shelter 209 Foundation organizes the festival every year under the artistic direction of performance artist Tamar Raban. It will take place in Tel Aviv and Haifa.

Tel Aviv and Haifa. From November 2012. Prices for events vary.

Tel Aviv Pixel Hotel

A team of designers is turning the lifeguard shack at Borgrashov Beach into a boutique hotel in cooperation with the Tel Aviv's Global City Administration, which seeks to elevate the city's international status. Architect, artist and designer Lilach Chitayat, visual artist and broadcast designer Alon Chitayat and artist and designer Anat Safran are running the project in Israel on behalf of the Pixel Hotel chain based in Linz, Austria. The concept, as conceived by the original team of Austrian architects, is to transform temporarily or permanently empty spaces into single hotel rooms in accordance with their character and surroundings. It has previously been applied to boats, courtyards and carpentry shops. The hotel chain will soon open lifeguard shacks, which are empty at night, as accommodations (advance registration will be required). In the more distant future, it plans to open rooms in Tel Aviv's Jaffa Port, old train station, old water towers and Gan Hahashmal and Neve Tzedek neighborhoods. Other cities will be next.

Bograshov Beach, Tel Aviv. Opens October 15, 2012. Rates vary.

DLD Festival

The DLD (Digital Life Design) Festival is a major event in Israel dedicated to innovation and the Internet. This will be its second year at the Jaffa Port. At the heart of the festival is the DLB Internet conference, which includes a variety of events, exhibitions, professional gatherings and lectures by large technology firms, like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, IBM and Amazon. An innovation and creativity area will feature presentations combining technology, innovation and art and multidisciplinary projects by artists and art college graduates. Last year’s projects included a giant watch made from bicycle parts, automatic graffiti machines and alternative musical instruments.

Jaffa Port, Tel Aviv. October 21 to 25, 2012. Prices for events vary.

'Salon d’Automne'

This important international exhibition is coming to Israel for the first time ever. Founded in 1903 by Belgian architect, author and art lover Frantz Jourdain, it gives young artists in various fields – sculpture, painting, photography, contemporary art, architecture, music, film and dance – the chance to introduce their work to the public. The exhibition will display about 1,000 works of art from a variety of disciplines. The works, half by Israeli and half by French artists, were selected by a special committee. There will also be concerts of various music styles and actors, singers, public figures and diplomats will be in attendance.

Hangar 1, Jaffa Port. October 31 to November 4, 2012. Free.

Tmuna Festival

Every year, the storied Tmuna theatre holds a ten-day festival celebrating all that is new in theatre, dance, performance and music. The Tmuna Ensemble will present works from the past year, including one-time re-stagings of hits from the Intimidance and A-Genre festivals, and premier performances, some designed especially for the festival. There will also be guest performances from Berlin and Amsterdam.

Tmuna Theatre, 8 Soncino Street, Tel Aviv. October 16 to 24, 2012. NIS 25 to 90.

'Dance This Way'

Mikhail Baryshnikov’s solo photography exhibition "Dance This Way" documents magical moments in dance and choreography. Choreography giants Merce Cunningham, Ohad Naharin and Benjamin Millepied all make appearances, as do various hip-hop and flamenco dancers. The exhibition will run four days in a special tent at the Suzanne Dellal Centre. At the end, the photographs will be put up for public auction, with all proceeds going to encouraging young Israeli choreographers at the Suzanne Dellal Centre.

Suzanne Dellal Centre, 5 Yehiel Street, Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv. October 24 to 27, 2012. Tuesday to Friday 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

'I Yaldut'

A group exhibition entitled "I Yaldut" (the “I” is pronounced to rhyme with “me”) is opening soon at the Zaritsky Artists' House. (The word “I,” pronounced 'ee,' is a play on words since it means “island” and is also a word of negation, and “Yaldut” means “childhood.”) The works in various media seek to both explore the “island” of childhood – a sheltered and innocent place – and examine its destruction by political, economic, social or sexual factors. The exhibition’s curators are Dalia Danon and Nir Harmat.

Zaritsky Artists' House, 9 Alharizi Street, Tel Aviv. Until October 28, 2012. Monday to Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Friday 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Sixth International SPIRIT Film Festival

The International SPIRIT Film Festival is considered a pioneer of spiritual film festivals and attracts large crowds of devotees. Spiritual film addresses the search for meaning and the nature of reality. At the same time, it seeks to impart joy and emotionally connect people to each other and the universe. In the end, these films are all about the human spirit. This year’s festival will present works in several disciplines and styles. It will deal with the themes of inner development, spiritual empowerment and environmental and social awareness. It will also focus on issues of immediate importance, such as global warming, healthy food and the corrupt nexus of big business and government. The event's opening film, "Chasing Ice," takes a look at National Geographic photographer James Balog and his attempt to document the Earth's changing climate. The festival will also include a new age fair with workshops and lectures.

Tel Aviv Cinematheque, 2, HaArba'a Street Tel Aviv.October 24 to 27, 2012. NIS 20 to 59.

Xpozito Tel Aviv

In the large industrial space in the center of the Flea Market, about 40 artists, both old-timers and young talents, will exhibit their work without a unifying theme. Scenes, spaces, sculptures, paintings, poems and recreations of reality or imagination will be on display, accompanied by the artists’ photographs and biographies. In this way, the event seeks to introduce visitors to the artists and reveal something about the process by which the art is created. Proceeds will benefit the Familial Dysautonomia Foundation.

Amiad Center, 12 Amiad, Tel Aviv. Oct. 7, 2012.

'Ways and Byways'

This is the first Israeli exhibition of the work of Jewish artist Friedrich Adler (1878–1942). Alder was a member of the Deutsche Werkbund (the German Work Federation), an organization of German artists that preceded the Bauhaus movement and believed in the power of creativity to change social and religious institutions. At the heart of the exhibition is a rare stained glass window and items of Judaic and decorative art that reflect early innovations in industrial design.

Friedrich Adler: Ways and Byways. October 26–29, 2012. Jeannette Assia Galleries, main building, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 27 Shaul Hamelekh Street, Tel Aviv. Monday to Wednesday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Friday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

In Jerusalem

'Great Wide Open: New and Old in the Collection'

On December 19, a group show entitled "Great Wide Open: New and Old in the Collection" will open at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Its main focus will be the sea and the desert, areas that exist largely outside of society and culture, serving as a site for ancient myths, journeys, wanderings, seclusion and contemplation. These sublime and majestic landscapes have fascinated artists since the dawn of time. The exhibition will display works of contemporary art that were purchased by or donated to the museum over the past several years alongside works from the museum’s varied collections – videos, sculptures, sketches, paintings and photographs from the nineteenth century to the present day.

The Israel Museum, Ayala Zacks Abramov Pavilion for Israeli Art, 11 Ruppin Boulevard, Hakirya, Jerusalem. The October 19 to 30, 2012. Sunday to Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Tuesday 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Friday 10:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m., and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Naive Light over Jerusalem

This international festival, which will take place in Jerusalem for the first time over Hanukkah and Christmas, will celebrate all the fields of naïve art. A project of Adi Lev and Noemi Eshet-Rosenzweig, it will feature sketch and sculpture artists from all over the world, including Malaysia, Serbia, Romania, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Switzerland, Russia and throughout Africa. The festival is being organized by the city of Jerusalem and will take place mostly at the Hebrew University Gallery, the French House and the Givat Ram campus. Events will also be held at the City Hall Gallery at Safra Square and the Jerusalem Cinematheque.

December 21, 2012 to January 20, 2013.

Open House Jerusalem

Drawing its inspiration from Open House New York and Open House London, Open House Jerusalem strives to raise awareness of the urban environment, focusing on the city’s architecture, history, environment and social and cultural processes. Among the buildings and places that will be open this year are the railway tunnel, the village of Lifta, the agricultural settlement of Motza, the Messiah’s Palace, the Shodedei Yam Gallery, the Bishop’s House, the Garden Tomb, burial caves, the Austrian Hospice, the Palace Hotel and various architects’ apartments and designers’ lofts. In addition, there will be discussions about the light rail, a talk about the biodiversity of the Old City, a ghost tour of abandoned buildings, activities for children, bicycle tours and more. A booklet containing the full schedule, with a list of the participating buildings, will be distributed on October 18 with Haaretz.

October 25 to 27, 2012.

Jerusalem Knights Festival

Once a year, Jerusalem’s Old City belongs to the knights of the Middle Ages in a festival for the whole family. The knights and princesses who protect the Old City from fire-breathing dragons will joust, share tales of derring-do and put on street performances. The festival will also include pyrotechnics, music, costumes and dancing by Israeli artists and guests from abroad. The festival has a different knightly theme every year, and this year’s is knights and dragons.

Old City, Jerusalem. October 18 and 25 and November 1 and 8, 2012. Thursday 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Free.

In the north

'Hermann Struck: Landmarks'

Hermann Struck is considered one of the most important etchers and lithographers of Germany and pre-state Israel of the first half of the 20th century. In December 1922, Struck moved into a building in the Hadar Hacarmel section of Haifa that had been designed by his friend Alexander Berwald. The building is being restored to look as it did during Struck's lifetime and will be opened as a museum in 2013. The first exhibit, 'Hermann Struck: Landmarks,' create a comprehensive picture of his life and work. It will also deal with his relationship with Germany and the Land of Israel and how they were reflected in his work.

The Hermann Struck Museum, 23 Arlozorov Street, Haifa. The will open to the public in 2013.


The Museum of Photography in the Tel Hai Industrial Park is opening an exhibition entitled 'Blueprint.' It presents the work of Yanai Toister, an artist and lecturer, and examines the gradual, considered process by which he frees his photographs from the realities they represent. There are photographs of modern architecture, color models of landscapes stripped of context and a catalog of about 70 photos and essays. Always in the background is the strained relationship between reality and imagination.

The Museum of Photography in the Tel Hai Industrial Park. Until March 2013. Sunday to Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m; Friday close; Saturday and holidays 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

In the center

Holon Fashion Week 2012

For the fourth year, the Holon municipality is cooperating with Design Museum Holon to hold an international fashion event. The main theme of Holon Fashion Week 2012 will be the relationship between the fashion world and the city. Over the week, the work of fashion entrepreneurs in the field of real estate and urban planning (from pop-up stores to shopping centers) will be presented. The event will start with Yohji Yamamoto’s successful exhibition at the Design Museum. On October 16 and 17 there will be an international conference, in which senior industry figures will discuss shopping center design, initiatives in fashion and real estate, new retail models, the future of Israeli fashion chains and the reciprocal relationship between the city and fashion. The Holon Cinematheque will hold special film screenings.

Design Museum Holon, Holon Mediatheque cultural center, 8 Pinhas Eylon Street. October 15 to 20, 2012. NIS 190 for a day pass to the conference, NIS 290 for both days.

Madaya Festival

This is the final project of the first graduating class of the continuing education department at the School of Art – Hamidrasha at Beit Berl College. The student artists have created a variety of artwork, which will be presented in a new and unusual space, creating new ways of seeing it. Where you stand will affect what you see. Contributors include Tomer Azulay, Yael Gazit, Yael Gesser, Nitsan Hamerman, Noa Yaffe, Alma Itzhaki, Orit Shay, Lieber Mai, Helly Mizrai, Tamar Nissim, Luciana Kaplun, Shai Ratner and Hadas Tapouchi.

Museums of Bat Yam, 6 Struma Street, Bat Yam. October 11 to November 3, 2012. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday: 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

In the south

Ninth Jewish Eye Film Festival

This international film festival, which deals with Jewish identity and culture throughout history, was founded in 2005. Filmmakers from all over the world attend the event, showing dozens of action, documentary and short films about Judaism and Jewish identity. The screenings will be accompanied by discussions about Jewish stories and the history of Jewish communities in Europe, Asia, North Africa, America and more.

International Convention Center, Ashkelon College. October 16 to 24, 2012. NIS 20 to 49.


The artist Sigalit Landau has mounted a solo exhibition entitled "Caryatid" at the Negev Museum. The exhibition has three parts: In the museum’s garden, her largest sculpture to date, Shelter (2011), will have its premiere showing. The five-meter-high bronze sculpture is a copy of an old shelter that was taken out of use on Levinsky Street in Tel Aviv. On the ground floor of the building there will be a group of figures made of papier mache and bronze that Landau has sculpted over the past decade. On the second floor there will be an installation and sound exhibition from 2007 that was part of her solo exhibition in Berlin, but has never before been shown in Israel. The installation includes an apartment from a typical 1960s housing project with original and reconstructed objects. In the background, four women tell their life stories, sing and exchange recipes. This is Landau’s most personal exhibition so far, touching on familial issues and painful memories.

The Negev Museum of Art, 60 Haatzmaut St., Be'er Sheva. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Wednesday 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and closed Sunday.

Artist Sigalit Landau presents her most personal exhibition to date.Credit: Moti Milrod
A 2010 photograph from a previous 'Local Testimony' exhibition.Credit: Moti Milrod
A self-portrait by Hermann Struck.Credit: Hermann Struck