The top five pieces of art to see in JerusalemIt can be argued that the city of Jerusalem herself is a work of art, but she can be a bit hard to absorb in one sitting, to say nothing of the difficulty getting the proper distance from the canvas.
It can be argued that the city of Jerusalem herself is a work of art, but she can be a bit hard to absorb in one sitting, to say nothing of the difficulty getting the proper distance from the canvas. But art appreciators need not despair - Jerusalem is thick with memorable and unique works of art on a less abstract scale.
And while it would be easiest to recommend the entire art wing of the amazing, recently renewed Israel Museum and call it a day, GoJerusalem.com has dug a bit deeper to find five truly unforgettable works of Jerusalem art.
Brought to grotesque life by the French surrealist sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle, this massive sculpture is technically named "The Golem," though calling it that won't get you anything but blank stares from Jerusalemites. No, to decades of Jerusalem residents, it's only the Mifletzet ("monster"), and thousands of children (and perhaps more than a few young-at-heart adults) have made the trip ground-wards on one of the three tongue-slides that erupt from the creature's mouth. Say what you will about Michelangelo's David, no part of his exquisitely sculpted marble form can double as a slide.
Anna Ticho's watercolors
Anna Ticho is Jerusalem's hometown lady, a painter of rare gifts who laid the groundwork for the artistic renaissance in mandatory Palestine and the State of Israel. With her expressive watercolors depicting local flora and the terraced landscapes of the Judean Hills, Ticho was among the first modern artists to take on Jerusalem as a subject - and certainly the first woman to do so, an ongoing inspiration to the generations of Jerusalemite and Israeli artists who have followed in her wake. You can see a rotating exhibit of her works downtown in the house where she and her husband, himself a renowned physician, lived.
The Shwarz collection of surrealist and Dada art
As you walk into this exhibition of surrealist art at The Israel Museum, pause and say to yourself, "Ceci n'est pas une exposition d'art surréaliste." That should put you in the perfect frame of mind for this tour de force of surrealist and Dada masterworks, which seem to trump the very idea of Dada with their formalist museum display (and thus, perhaps, become more Dada than ever). Vera and Arturo Shwarz's loaned classics by Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Andre Breton and more will mess with your head like that.
Anish Kapoor's new Israel Museum sculpture
Sculptor Anish Kapoor has alternately puzzled and enthralled Chicagoans with his massive, ultra-reflective, bean-shaped "Cloud Gate" sculpture, and he's bringing the same chrome-plated aesthetic to the newly redesigned campus of The Israel Museum. The sculpture, entitled "Turning the World Upside Down, Jerusalem," which has been placed at the campus's highest point, looks like a bar jigger, and reflects an inverted image of the world around it. You may find it thought-provoking, or simply cool. Either way, it's worth a visit.
The Machane Yehuda murals
Located at 70 Agrippas Street, within shouting distance of the bustling Machane Yehuda shuk, these murals, painted by a consortium of French mural painters from Lyon and several Israeli artists, depict a decidedly romanticized - cheery and massive-scale - vision of life in the shuk. You'll never see a real Machane Yehuda vendor smile like in the murals, but for being painted onto the side of a building, the food sure looks good.
Honorable mentions go to the heavily politicized, street-art-sympathetic Museum on the Seam, and the landmark, breathtaking Marc Chagall stained glass windows at the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital.
Images of Ticho's "Bougainvillea" (detail) and Duchamp's "Fountain" courtesy of the Israel Museum. Image of Kapoor's "Turning the World Upside Down, Jerusalem" courtesy of Tim Hursley for the Israel Museum. Image of the Machane Yehuda mural courtesy of the Jerusalem Municipality.
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