Fine Art PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Fine Art PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Israel Museum Inaugurates Renewed Campus on July 26

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, inaugurates its renewed 20-acre campus, featuring new galleries, orientation facilities, and public spaces, on July 26, 2010. The three-year expansion and renewal project was designed to enhance visitor experience of the Museum’s art, architecture, and surrounding landscape, in complement to the original architecture and design of the campus. Led by James Carpenter Design Associates of New York and Efrat-Kowalsky Architects of Tel Aviv, the $100-million project also includes the comprehensive renovation and reconfiguration of the Museum’s three collection wings – for archaeology, the fine arts, and Jewish art and life – and the reinstallation of its encyclopedic collections.

The Museum opens its renewed galleries with a series of exhibitions highlighting new acquisitions and long-held masterpieces across its collections. In addition, to celebrate the project’s completion, artists Zvi Goldstein, Susan Hiller, and Yinka Shonibare have curated Artists’ Choices, a special three-part exhibition that juxtaposes works from all three of the Museum’s collection wings. The renewed campus will also feature two new monumental commissions – Olafur Eliasson’s Whenever the rainbow appears and Anish Kapoor’s Turning The World Upside Down, Jerusalem – which respond directly to the Museum’s site and setting.

Completing the inauguration of the renewed campus, a special week-long series of public programs and events is planned, including concerts by prominent Israeli musicians, activities in the galleries for all audiences, and a late-night art and music festival, engaging artists, writers, and performers with the renewed Museum and its landscape.

“Forty-five years after the Israel Museum first opened its magnificent campus, we have completed a renewal project that allows us to serve our public as never before,” said James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum. “The most ambitious undertaking in our history, this project has yielded a truly transformational change across our site. We look forward to welcoming our visitors to the Museum’s stunning new public spaces and galleries, planned to provide a richer and more enjoyable experience of our unparalleled collections and of our powerful Jerusalem hilltop setting.”

The Israel Museum has seen tremendous growth since the 1965 opening of its original landmark campus, designed by Alfred Mansfeld and Dora Gad as a modernist reference to Mediterranean hilltop villages. The Museum’s architectural footprint has increased ten-fold since its opening, and its collections have grown significantly throughout this time and particularly in the past ten years. The project, which broke ground in June 2007, doubles the Museum’s gallery space and grows its architectural footprint by approximately 15%, all within the Museum’s existing 20-acre campus. In total, it encompasses 7,800 square meters (84,000 square feet) of new construction and 19,000 square meters (204,500 square feet) of renovated and expanded gallery space.

Isaac Molho, Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Directors, said, “The Israel Museum’s campus renewal project strengthens the Museum’s position as one of the most important social and cultural centers in the country – giving it a standing of the highest priority in the State – and also as one of the most outstanding museums in the world. The renewed Museum will provide generations of visitors, both from Israel and from abroad, with unique experiences of the art, culture, and history of communities throughout time and around the globe.”

The project is supported by a $100-million capital campaign, which was completed in December 2009 and represents the largest collective philanthropic initiative ever undertaken for a single cultural institution in the State of Israel. The Museum is also in the midst of an endowment campaign and has raised nearly $60 million toward its $75-million goal, which will double its institutional endowment to $150 million, comprising the largest endowment for any cultural institution in the country.

New Architecture and Design

Designed by James Carpenter Design Associates to resonate with the original campus plan, the project’s new architecture offers visitors an integrated experience of art and archeology, landscape and architectural design. Visitors are now welcomed to the Museum through three newly constructed glass entry pavilions – housing ticketing and information, retail, and restaurant facilities. Echoing the modernist geometry of the Museum’s original buildings, these glass pavilions are shaded within cast terracotta louvered housings, designed to soften and diffuse the bright Mediterranean light while encouraging a dialogue between interior and exterior spaces across the campus. Beyond these entrance pavilions, visitors may either ascend the Museum’s refurbished Carter Promenade or enter a newly designed route of passage, situated directly below the promenade. Leading visitors to the heart of the Museum, this enclosed route is a highlight of Carpenter’s design to enhance visitor experience and clarify circulation throughout the campus. The walkway is flanked on one side by a translucent glass wall with a water feature running along its top edge, also visible from Carter Promenade above.

This route brings visitors into the lowest level of a new three-story gallery entrance pavilion, providing centralized access to the Museum’s three collection wings and temporary exhibition galleries on its main floor, while also allowing visitors to reach the Museum’s uppermost Crown Plaza via its top floor. Like the new entrance facilities, the gallery entrance pavilion is a glass building housed within a terracotta louvered shade enclosure, which provides a visual counterpoint to the stone-clad facades of the Museum’s original buildings.

In addition to the creation of these new visitor facilities, the Museum reconstructed all three of its collection wings – the Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Archaeology Wing, the Edmond and Lily Safra Fine Arts Wing, and the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Wing for Jewish Art and Life – enabling visitors to navigate intuitively through the timeline of material culture, from prehistory to present day. Highlights include: a chronological presentation of the Museum’s unparalleled archaeological holdings from the ancient Land of Israel; the first permanent galleries for Israeli Art and more than double the gallery space for the extensive Modern Art holdings in the Fine Arts Wing; and a newly configured Synagogue Route at the heart of the Jewish Art and Life Wing.

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