Over the past year, we’ve been following the development and early construction of Preston Scott Cohen’s Tel Aviv Museum of Art Amir Building. The 195,000 square ft building has recently been completed and now, the museum is open to the public. The $55 million Herta and Paul Amir Building will provide the space needed to permanently display one of the world’s largest collections of Israeli art. From its earlier beginning in 2002, Preston Scott Cohen’s proposal has been further developed and refined, culminating in the strong geometric aesthetic typical of Cohen’s design ideas. Paul Amir, a philanthropist who, with his wife Herta, has provided the naming gift for the building, stated, “We feel privileged to have been able to advance the work of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, an institution that is truly at the heart of Israel’s creative community. With this exceptional building by Preston Scott Cohen, and with the ability to showcase the work of Israel’s artists as never before, the Museum now has the potential to step up to a prominent new role on the international scene, to the benefit of everyone.” Check out more photos and learn more about the opening after the break.
As we have previously reported, the building has five levels – two above grade and three below – which subtly twist to connect the disparate angles between the galleries and the context while refracting natural light into the deepest recesses of the half buried building. Preston Scott Cohen explained, “The Museum’s program set the challenge of providing several floors of large, neutral, rectangular galleries within a tight, idiosyncratic, triangular site. The solution we proposed was to ‘square the triangle’ by constructing the levels on different axes, which deviate significantly from floor to floor and are unified by the Lightfall. This decision enabled us to combine two seemingly irreconcilable paradigms of the contemporary art museum: the museum of neutral white boxes, which provides optimal, flexible space for the exhibition of art, and the museum of spectacle, which moves visitors and offers a remarkable social experience. In this way, the Amir Building’s synthesis of radical and conventional geometries produces a new type of museum experience, one that is as rooted in the Baroque as it is in the Modern.”
For the inauguration of the new 9,000-square-foot temporary exhibitions gallery in the Amir Building, the Museum will present Kiefer in Tel Aviv, a site-specific exhibition organized by Mordechai Omer in collaboration with the artist. Large-scale works by Kiefer inspired by themes of the Hebrew Bible, Jewish myths and mysticism and German-Jewish history will surround two of the artist’s monumental enclosures: East-West, housing 44 huge metal plates imprinted with images of paintings and objects, and a specially conceived version of The Library, whose multiple pewter and lead “books” are a record of diagrams and photographs.